The New York Yankees haven’t had a lot to brag about offensively these last few games, but Carlos Beltran has been hard to ignore in the middle of the lineup.
By Christian Kouroupakis
The New York Yankees are currently experiencing one of the most frustrating funks a baseball team can go through.
In the current series with the Seattle Mariners, the offense is hitless in 24 at-bats with runners in scoring position and is 3-for-46 with RISP in the last five games.
In this series alone, the Yankees have left 26 runners on base and this rout is undoubtedly the cause of their current four-game losing streak.
However, let’s take this slump with a grain of salt and understand it’s only April. There are 152 games left to play, so let’s take a breather.
This incapability with runners in scoring position is bound to turn itself around with the simple fact that there is more opportunity to score runs, and it won’t lead to the demise of New York’s playoff hopes.
Considering all this negativity throughout Yankee Land, let’s focus (or at least try to) on the positives surrounding the team, and one of the only bright spots has been the play of Carlos Beltran.
Along with providing the only two runs for the Yankees in yesterday’s 3-2 loss at Yankee Stadium, Beltran has a .529 batting average with a home run and three RBI in the past four games.
After going 4-for-5 in yesterday’s contest, the 38-year old outfielder raised his total season batting average to .351 which is tied for fifth-best among outfielders in the American League.
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He has also reached safely in six straight games and his 2016 slash line climbed to .351/.368/.649. The eight-time All-Star also has three homers and seven RBI in this young season.
In addition, Beltran leads the team in home runs, slugging percentage, runs created per 27 outs, and is tied with Starlin Castro for the most hits for the Yankees.
No offense to hitting coach Alan Cockwell, but it might not be such a bad idea to let Beltran organize some hitting lessons for the rest of the lineup.
“Right now, I feel good at the plate,’’ Beltran told Steven Marcus of Newsday. “This is a game that when things are working good, you have to take advantage because I know in the period of the 162 games, you’re going to go through a lot of ups and downs. So right now I’m seeing the ball well and I’m just getting good results.’’
It has been a tale of two Aprils for Beltran, who seemed as though his career was heading down a dangerous slope in April of 2015.
In 18 games during last year’s opening month of baseball, Beltran went 11-for-68 with a slash line of .162/.216/.265 and he failed to hit a home run.
Despite the slow start, the Yankees stuck with him and their right fielder ended up being their most consistent hitter.
In the second half of 2015 Beltran slashed .292/.364/.513 and cranked 12 home runs while driving 37 RBI. He even won the American League Player of The Month for August after batting .353 with five home runs, 15 RBI, and a 1.067 OPS.
Thankfully for the Yankee offense, he has carried that production over into 2016. Since last August, Beltran is batting .305 and has nine home runs and proves, more the statistics show, is how funny the game of baseball is.
It was crazy to predict that as the season wore on, Beltran would only get better and stronger despite an anemic April.
No one could have predicted that after Mark Teixeira went down for the year and Alex Rodriguez hit a wall that Beltran out of all people would provide the jolt that the offense needed.
Beltran is a prime example that the Yankees’ offense won’t be this inept for the duration of 162 games. It’s only April and there’s more than enough time for a turnaround.
For those of you panicking over A-Rod’s current slump, use Beltran as an example that a smart, veteran hitter who is dedicated to his craft has the ability to experience a breakout in production.
That goes for the offense as an entirety, not just Rodriguez.
For those of you who populate Panic City, the offense is going to be just fine. Starting rotation length? Now there’s an understandable source of anxiety.