Adrian Beltre is a Hall-of-Fame-level third baseman and there really isn’t much room for argument in the case.
While watching the Rangers take on the Mariners in Seattle this weekend, my friend brought the question up. Should Beltre join the Hall of Fame after his career is over?
After discussing it fairly briefly, the consensus was yes, absolutely yes.
Not only should Beltre be inducted into the hall after his retirement, but the four-time Gold Glove winner, three-time All Star and three-time Silver Slugger recipient should be considered a borderline first-ballot talent.
Possibly the biggest argument for his inclusion into the Hall of Fame is his glove at third, where he established himself as one of the best, if not the best, defensive third baseman in history.
The slow rolling bunt down the third baseline turns into a hit for a fast batter more often than an out, but not with Beltre manning the hot corner.
The charge, barehanded snag off the grass and off-balance throw down to first sequence Beltre mastered is a work of art, a piece of beauty formed from one of the hardest plays in baseball.
But his Hall of Fame qualifications are not simply contained to his defensive ability. Beltre has also been a force at the plate throughout his career.
In his career-best year of 2004, Beltre hit .334 with a .388 on base percentage, 121 RBI and a career-high 48 home runs.
That incredible 2004 was worth 9.7 wins above replacement (WAR), a statistic that attempts to measure how many extra wins a player brings to his team in a given season.
Over the course of his career, Beltre already accumulated 60.8 WAR, just barely over the 60 we generally see for current Hall of Fame players.
Also consider that Beltre most likely, has four to five more productive seasons left before retirement. We could be looking at a WAR total nearing 80 by the time he’s hung up his cleats.
The final aspect of his game would be his base running ability, which has been inconsistent throughout his career, averaging out to being a little below replacement--but not nearly low enough to hurt his value.
Looking at current third basemen in the Hall of Fame, of which there are 11, it is even more obvious Beltre belongs in their class.
Including the 11 already in the HOF, Beltre would rank seventh in WAR, eighth in batting average, 11th in on base percentage, seventh in RBI and third in home runs if he was inducted.
Again, this is with his career still very much alive.
If any of the above is not enough to convince you or the voters of his Hall of Fame credentials, ponder the fact that Beltre is probably more man than any man you’ve ever met.
Beltre, while playing in Seattle, once took a ground ball off his groin in the ninth inning of a tie game, suffering a severely lacerated testicle. But that didn’t stop him, as he stayed in the game and eventually scored the winning run in the 14th inning.
That’s Hall-of-Fame-level dedication to the game, people.