The New York Yankees have gotten a mind-boggling amount of production from 39-year old outfielder Carlos Beltran who cannot and will not slow down.
What fans would pay witness to, at first, was age catching up to a potential hall-of-famer while their team paid $15-million a year to someone who looked as good as done.
His first go around with the Yankees was a struggle as a bone spur in his elbow followed by a concussion hindered his performance for most of his miserable campaign as he slashed .233/.301/.402.
In addition to that, his defense and baserunning skills were so dismal that it led a negative WAR (-.02) for the first time in his 19-year career. Then came the beginning of the 2015 season, where we saw the 10-time All-Star at his worst.
In his first 68 at-bats of April Beltran only recorded 11 hits and seven RBI while striking out 31% of the time (21 K’s). It took him 104 plate appearances to hit his first home run of the season and heading into play on June 18, he had a total slash line of .246/.288/.396 with an OPS of .684.
Following a month of dreary baseball, Beltran got right and was not only throwing back the clock but was also carrying the New York Yankees to their first playoff appearance since 2012.
For the rest of the 2015 season, the Puerto Rican slashed .295/.357/.505 with 19 home runs and an OPS of .862 but even more impressive was the fact that his overall WAR (1.6) was the sixth highest in the AL during the second half behind Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz, and Shin-Soo Choo, just to name a few. Without a doubt, he was the lone bright spot in the biggest divisional collapse in franchise history.
Now, the 39-year old continues to deny father time of turning his bright career into a depressing finish by putting up some of the best numbers Beltran has ever put up in his sure-to-be Hall Of Fame career.
So far, he has slugged 18 home runs in comparison to his 19 total from a year ago and has been on an absolute tear in the last 30 days.
Since May 19, Beltran has crushed 10 home runs while maintaining a .351/.388/.732 with an OPS of 1.120 including 29 RBI which is downright absurd. In a completely unrelated note, he has totaled 393.3 Fan Duel points so whoever has picked Beltran over the last month, enjoy being rich.
Unbelievably so, he is on pace to smash 43 long balls which would tear down his career high (41) set back in 2006 when Beltran was shagging fly balls for the New York Mets.
The question everyone is asking is: how? We all know Beltran has always been a smart hitter which doesn’t disappear with age but what the red-hot veteran has done is become more aggressive at the dish.
The results have been better but the approach has been primarily the same since he came to the Bronx. By no means is he hitting the ball 500+ feet or knocking it into the bleachers with every dinger but being more aggressive on fastballs has been his formula. His walk rate (4.8%) is not only the lowest rate in baseball but matches the lowest of his career set back when he won the rookie of the year award back in 1998.
That could hurt, yes, but evidently it’s going to be all right as his isolated power is at the second highest rate of his career. The debate will be there on whether or not he’ll make it into Cooperstown, but one thing’s for sure, if the Yankees have any chance of making the postseason this season, they’ll need the bat of Carlos Beltran to get them there.
Looking beyond, however, there’s no doubt in my mind this surge acts like his last push towards a well-deserved spot in the hall.