With his latest clutch blast, Carlos Beltran of the New York Yankees continues to show us how good old Father Time is no match for him.
Carlos Beltran has had his moments in pinstripes. He has delivered clutch home runs, torrent stretches, and ultimately a dependable reputation. However, heading into into the final year of his contract at 39 years old, the New York Yankees could not place any real expectations on the right fielder.
Two months into the season, all they can be is grateful. Beltran has gone against all odds to resurface himself as one of the better pure hitters in all of baseball. The power is there, the constant level stroke is a thing of beauty, and the only factor that has not popped up is Father Time.
Currently, he is not only proving he can turn in a monstrous season as his time runs out in New York, but he is proving that he plenty left in the tank.
Let’s face it: Father Time tends to haunt every single player that is fortunate enough to have a decent career in major league baseball. Their bat speed slows up, their legs do not produce the same power, and they are a step slow in the field. It happens.
Beltran is startling many with numbers that would appear as if he is playing in his prime. According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, he is on pace to total 40 home runs and 102 RBIs.
Carlos Beltran is on pace for 40 homers and 102 RBI. Pretty solid stats for a 39-year old. His 3-run HR was decisive for Yankees tonight.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) June 7, 2016
“On pace” often means dreamy delusions for baseball fans, but if you take Curry’s projection into account you have something pretty special. Beltran has had some outstanding seasons throughout his career, but he has not had a season like the one he is on pace for since his 2006 breakout with the Mets.
Nearing the age of 40, he continues to look cool, calm, and collected at the plate, pouncing on the pitch that he truly desires. Taking one injury-shortened 2014 season out of the equation, Beltran has been an exceptional player in the twilight of his career.
In his age 35 and 36 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, he averaged 28 long balls and 91 runs batted in. In 133 games in his age 38 season last year, he drove in 67 runs along with 19 dingers while maintaining an OPS of .808. This is all while being asked to play right field a majority of the time, particularly in St. Louis, and challenge his deteriorating lower half.
The outfield has not been a strength of his after a prime that featured three consecutive gold gloves, but his ability to drive to ball and not let his lower half have an impact on his offensive production has been remarkable.
If you told the Yankees’ front office prior to the season that Beltran was to give them 20 HR and 80 RBIs for the year, they would have shook your hand and signed the magical paperwork that made it happen. Anything close to 100 RBIs at this point and they are heading to Brian Cashman’s residence for a good old-fashioned shindig.
Given that it is Beltran’s walk year and the Yankees inevitably will not retain him, he not only has the team to play for. The man has to play for himself as well, which may explain his onslaught of production.
Signs from Beltran himself have indicated that he wants to play beyond 2016, and a continuation of his current output would guarantee him some highly compensated one-year offers in free agency.
With that said, the Yankees will not care what Beltran is playing for, they will care solely on what he is putting out. Right now that means a surplus of offense, a switch-hitting presence, and added wins to a team that is desperate for them.
Perhaps Father Time has shied away from the aging star, at least for the time being.