The returning Carlos Beltran projects for a solid, if unspectacular, 2017 season for the Astros.
The subject of constant boos at Minute Maid Park since 2005 should have fans singing a different tune in 2017. The Astros further beefed up their offense by signing one-time Texas Ranger Carlos Beltran to a one-year deal in early December.
Beltran was brilliant during his 90-game regular season run with the Astros in 2004, slashing .258/.368/.559 with 23 homers and 28 steals. He was even better in the postseason, hitting eight home runs and batting north of the .400 mark.
Though he’ll turn 40 in April, Beltran is still a quality hitter. He slashed .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers in 2016 split between the Yankees and Rangers. Though some decline may be expected, his 2017 projections still support him having a solid season.
What FanGraphs ZiPS projects for Beltran’s 2017 season
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FanGraphs ZiPS projects Beltran to slash .271/.317/.464 over the course of the 2017 season with 30 doubles, 21 homers, and 77 RBIs. This does represent a step down from his 2016 production, but considering his age and the fact that the Astros signed him to a one-year deal, it’s still worth having. These numbers round out to a 1.6 zWAR.
Beltran’s projected walk rate of 6.1 percent is one of the lowest on the team. His projected strikeout rate of 17.7 percent, however, is also relatively low. It’s also important to note FanGraphs’ projections are based on Beltran being the full-time DH. While most of his at-bats will likely come as the DH, he will also see some time in the outfield. How much outfield he plays and how well he plays it could affect his overall WAR as well.
Factors outside the projections
Though Beltran’s switch-hitting bat will be a boost to the Astros lineup, he brings something potentially more valuable to the table. As a veteran player who has long been successful, he can serve as a mentor to younger players and a positive clubhouse presence.
Beltran’s knowledge of the game and how to play it the right way will rub off on his teammates. His postseason experience will help stabilize this still-young team. His continued search for his first World Series championship will add fire to the clubhouse.
Those intangibles, combined with above-average production, will make the Beltran deal a fruitful endeavor for the Astros.
***Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference.com***
***Projections courtesy of FanGraphs ZiPS***