Carlos Beltran is Señor Octubre

These are Carlos Beltran‘s career postseason stats, through game 2 of this NLCS:

G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
30 137 111 38 42 9 0 14 25 9 0 24 15 .378 .489 .838 1.327 93 1 1 0 1 1

You’ve seen those numbers before. But let’s have a little fun and project them out to 150 games, roughly a full year for an every-day player:

G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
150 685 555 190 210 45 0 70 125 45 0 120 75 .378 .489 .838 1.327 465 5 5 0 5 5

As a season line, that would set a few MLB records

  • 190 Runs (modern record)
  • 465 Total Bases
  • 45 Stolen Bases without being caught

Projected to 162 games:

G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
162 740 599 205 227 49 0 76 135 49 0 130 81 .378 .489 .838 1.327 502 5 5 0 5 5

You may have recognized a couple more records in that line:

  • 76 HRs
  • 125 Extra-Base Hits

Alas, it takes a rare combination of skill and good fortune to get into 150+ postseason games. But Beltran has made the most of his scattered opportunities. I hope we get to see him in a World Series before his time runs out.


Comments

Carlos Beltran is Señor Octubre — 81 Comments

  1. Amazing too how consistent he’s been – over 1.000 OPS in every series that he’s played 4+ games. Barring something unforeseen, this will be his 5th such series.

    Even in the 3 games he played in the 2006 NLDS when he went only 2 for 9, he still had 5 walks for a .500 OBP.

  2. Interestingly he’s only been intentionally walked once in his 137 postseason PAs. In the regular season, it’s once every 91 PAs. Perhaps managers are more reluctant to issue intentional walks in the postseason, even to someone with Beltran’s track record? On the other hand, his rate of “regular” walks is much, much higher in the postseason which could suggest that he’s being pitched around without directly being issued an intentional walk.

    • In 30 games he has 42 hits, 9 of which are doubles and 14 of which are HRs, yet he only has 25 RBI (one of which came on a SF) – he’s either not coming to bat with very many men on, not hitting very well when there are men on or being pitched around in these situations.

      • Evan, postseason RISP numbers are not available on B-R. But Beltran’s RE24 (or Base-Out Runs Added) projected to 150 games would be 113. In the last 20 years, only Barry Bonds has had a regular-season RE24 of 113 or higher (2001-02, ’04).

        • Beltran batted second in 2004 and in 2012. The second spot in the lineup is a notoriously difficult spot from which to drive in runs, particularly in the NL where you’re only two spots after the pitcher.

        • I was trying to explain the lack of IBBs. Lacking splits for postseason games those 3 explanations seemed the most probable. If forced to guess, I’d say few plate appearances with men on base followed by a good number of unintentional-intentional walks would be the most likely explanations to the comparatively low RBI and IBB totals, given the impressive nature of his other stats.

        • Through 2011, I have Beltran at .235/.480/.412 in just 25 RISP PA in the post-season via Retrosheet.

          So Evan is right, he hasn’t been driving in runners so much as getting pitched around, which is driving up his RE24.

  3. Beltran probably would have had better career stats and had more post season appearances if he had re-signed with the Astros in 2005. His time with the Mets came across rather lackluster and he might have thrived away from the glare of NYC. He certainly won’t be remembered for much of anything he did as a Met other than striking out. But if his career filled out to what he did in KC, Houston and St Louis, he’d be hall of fame bound.

    • From 2006 through the middle of 2009 when he was injured Beltran was one of the best players in baseball as a Met. He had a better career in NY than he did in KC.

    • Not sure what numbers you’re looking at for Beltran’s Mets career, Larry. His first year there was subpar, but the next 3 were outstanding, averaging 6.6 WAR. Then came a couple of half-years with a combined 130 OPS+ and 4.1 WAR. And then his last year was very good, though he was dealt at the deadline.

      Wishing that he’d have stayed with your Astros is certainly understandable. :)

    • In his time as a Met the only NL position players to have more WAR than Carlos Beltran are Albert Pujols and Chase Utley, not to mention the fact that Beltran missed almost 180 games in 2009-10.

      If Carlos Beltran is only going to be remembered for striking out in that time frame, sorry to say this but that’s on Mets fans for not appreciating a great player when he’s playing for your team. That’s certainly not the impression most fans have of Beltran.

      I can’t see how Beltran, with his incredible postseason performances, doesn’t end up in the Hall of Fame. He’s 35 and already is over 60 career WAR.

      • This Met fan has no such limited memory, bstar. Beltran was the man. I always felt kind of sad that the Mets wasted the end of his prime years with Jerry freakin’ Manuel and his “bunt the guy from second to third with no outs in the first inning” offense; that they had a half-dozen second baseman at any one time, who combined might have been a passable player at the position; that they couldn’t get quite enough pitching for the rotation until the year after they dealt him (and hopefully Wheeler will justify that for the Mets); and worst, that the sportschatter world only thinks of the guy being frozen by a filthy curveball and not of the seven years he spent actually justifying the huge contract he signed. He’s one of the few to really be worth the dough a team ponied up for him on the open market. Injuries and all, he was a five-tool player, he was frequently great, and he never once kvetched to anyone about anything he went through, physically or mentally – he thrived in the glare of NYC – I become irked when the first thing anyone brings up is That At Bat. (And if we’re talking about That Game, well, when Yadi Molina hits a 2-run dinger in the ninth for the series-winning runs, maybe it’s just not your year, you know?)

        • OK, good, nightfly, we’re thinking the same thing on this. I just don’t understand any narrative formed around one certain player making the last out of a particular season. Someone’s got to do it, right? Why turn him into a goat for that? To be honest, I’m not even aware of what exact at-bat we’re talking about although I do have a mental picture of Beltran buckling on a curveball.

          • @74 — Please explain in detail the difference in culpability between looking at strike three (on a gorgeous back-door curveball) and swinging through it.

          • @75 None. I didn’t mean to suggest there was. I was just filling bstar in on “what exact at-bat we’re talking about” is all.

            It was a daisy of a moment, though. Absolutely unforgettable. The image of that pitch will forever be etched in my mind like none other.

          • Thnx, JDG. Now I get why my memory fogs on that play. There was A LOT of non-baseball drama going on in my life in 2005-06. I don’t think I saw one game of the White Sox-Astros World Series in 2005.

          • Ha! I knew it!

            I’ve always enjoyed our conversations, bstar. *Especially* the ones where we don’t see eye to eye. I was ‘JDanger’ Fangraphs, also. We ran into each other a few times there as well.

          • Ahhhhh, the erstwhile Mr. Danger reveals himself at last. :-)

            Please bug Mr. Appelmann about where the home/road career UZR splits went on Fangraphs.

            MDIG was my Braves blog moniker. I need to change it.

            Yes, I have enjoyed our arguments as well.

  4. Two instant reactions to Eduardo Nunez’s run-saving great play on Andy Dirks:
    (1) Not a chance that Jeter gets that ball; and
    (2) Even on a great play, Nunez still boots it a bit.

  5. Gardner should be Verlander’s last batter. No swings and misses in a long time, he’s over 130 pitches, and Ichiro has 2 hits.

  6. Coke vs. Teixeira is a mistake, I think. Teix has more power from the right side. And he’s never struck out vs. Coke in 7 PAs.

    • I’d been flipping back & forth between the debate & the game so I wasn’t sure who was up in Detroit’s bullpen when Gardner reached.

      I don’t think I’d be any happier to see a Coke even after wandering in the desert for a couple of days.

      • One effect of HHS is that I can’t follow a Tigers game anymore without thinking about you two guys. But despite being a fellow traveler where Detroit’s concerned, my awareness of HHS Yankee fans like Mike L seems to be tempering the edge of delight, and as other HHS contributors reveal that somehow they are loyal to franchises that have always been on my enemies list (like Larry for the Astros and Luis for the Padres), I’m finding the psychology of incipient despair that I feel when I follow baseball games is coming from all sides – as if I were watching last night’s debate and moaning every time either candidate scored a zinger . . .

        But that last pitch of Coke’s was really cool, wasn’t it.

    • Hey, Luis! Believe it or not, I watched every pitch — though I made sure to resign myself to the go-ahead hit. I wrote off the season after we lost our final game with Chicago, falling 3 back with 16 to play. So I feel like I’m playing with house money now, and I won’t be crushed if we lose.

      But ask me again if we get to the W.S. :)

        • I recall several of the Tigers posters on HHS writing off their team a few weeks before the season ended. Which raises the deep philosophical question of whether they’re allowed to celebrate if the Tigers win. :)

          • No, it’s just reasonable to be pessimistic. Why?

            1) You’re not disappointed when bad things happen.
            2) You’re really excited when good things actually happen.

            I don’t know if I was born this way and that’s why I like the Cubs or if liking the Cubs makes you think about life this way…

  7. The sound of taps in playing in the background for the Yankee season. Oh well. John A, if it’s not going to be the Yankees or the O’s, go get ’em. Someone should get some pleasure out of this.

      • I don’t want to do any in-depth analysis but keep in kind that in the playoffs you’re generally facing the best pitchers on the best teams. Here’s how the team’s Beltran has faced in the playoffs have ranked in ERA that year:

        1, 2, 4, 9, 4, 1, 5

        So he’s generally been doing this against some of the top staffs in the NL.

  8. In a way, it would be tragic if Beltran never played in the World Series. In another way, it would be a great lesson in the power of the team in baseball (and randomness and luck and all that) if the best postseason hitter ever retired without playing in a World Series.

    • Good point, Bryan.

      And of course, past performance is no guarantee. Jim Edmonds was a postseason monster before his first WS — 32 games, 1.022 OPS, 10 HRs, 30 RBI — but then went 1 for 15 with nada as his Cards were swept by Boston. His second WS wasn’t much better, and he ended his career 5 for 32 (no HRs) on the biggest stage.

      P.S. Among all players with zero WS games, Beltran is #1 in postseason hits, HRs (by 14 to 8), RBI and walks.

      • Did you use the PI to search that? I am having the devil’s own time trying to get the postseason game finder to produce results here.

        One thing that occurs to me, with no way to check it – Beltran’s whole career has happened in the 3-round postseason era (from 1995), and four of his five career series have gone the distance (two fives, two sevens). This gives him 30 postseason games (and counting) in just his third postseason trip.

        From ’69-’84, there were only five available non-WS postseason games, and only two teams to play in them (while failing to get to the WS). Then there were only seven available such games (again, with only two teams to play in them). So it’s quite possible that Beltran also leads in career non-WS postseason games, as well as all the categories you note. Not that he isn’t still smoking the ball, just that he has had a lot of opportunities.

        Oddity: Beltran has now been to three postseasons with three different teams, but all of them will end with the Cardinals involved.

        • Nightfly — My statement that Beltran is #1 in postseason [xyz] among those with zero WS games was derived from two separate P-I “batting game finders”, whose results I then copied into Excel and compared via formulas.

          • JA – ok, thanks. I saw individual game events and streaks and just about anything except accumulated postseason stats. It’s got me stumped.

            Richard – it wasn’t Edmonds per se, but anyone. AFAIK, there’s no way to ask the PI to return a table of players sorted by most postseason PA or games or IP or anything like that. I’m also not finding postseason leaderboards like the comprehensive leaderboards that B-R has for all things regular season. It could always be something painfully obvious that I’m overlooking…

          • Nightfly @57 — To get postseason totals from a P-I Game Finder, choose the option “Find Players with Most Matching Games in Multiple Years.”

            If you specify no other criteria, it will return a list containing career totals sorted by most games played.

            Note that the set of categories shown in this method is not as robust as a normal search — e.g., it does not show Runs Scored.

          • Reply to #57:
            If you do what John said in post 58 for all seasons and all post-season games up comes a spreadsheet showing the top 300 players with the most matching games. Altogether there are 3525 players on all of the tables. On that first sheet Derek Jeter is first with 158 games played and Mike Remlinger is 300th with 25 games played. Obviously all players on the ensuing tables have played in 25 or fewer games. You can then sort the various columns by clicking on the title bar for individual parameters such as PA, AB, H, 2B, HR, RBI, BB and SO and get the sorted results. I left out 3B because it is possible for a player with fewer than 26 games played to have more triples than anyone on the first sheet.

  9. Carlos Beltran played for the Mets from age 27 to 34. The very prime of just about any player’s career. It is hard to see how he could have had fewer post-season appearances if he signed with ANY other team that could have afforded his 120 million dollar price tag. He put up some good numbers. May in New York – but I don’t think elsewhere that fans looked upon him as the premier outfielder of his generation (although I think he is in the top three or four). He obviously had his heart set on playing in New York. I wonder if he has ever had any second thoughts?

    • On a tangent, and FWIW … The notion that age 27 to 34 represents a typical player’s prime is way off-base. The vast majority of position players reach their peak between 25 and 29, and by their early 30s are well into their decline phase. The evidence of this simply overwhelming.

      (Notwithstanding the fact that some people holding this belief are employed as MLB general managers.)

      • John:

        As a Cardinals fan, I am holding you responsible for this knee injury that Beltran suffered in the 1st inning today. Some sort of jinx is clearly working here.

        Of course, his replacement hits a 2 run HR off Cain, so things are not all bad

    • Beltran’s had three seasons where he spent time on the DL: In 2000 he played in 98 games, in 2009 he played in 64, and in 2010 he played in 64. That averages out to exactly 81 games missed per season over the course of those three seasons.

      In all other seasons (excluding 1998 when he was a September call-up), he’s averaged 151 games per season, including seasons of 162, 161, and 159. Not quite what I’d call a pussy.

  10. John, I am going to make a statement which I think is true, but having followed the Astros forever, I might have lost track of baseball reality: “The vast majority of position players are older than 25”. That is either true or false. But I seem to recall that the Astros were the youngest team in baseball with an average age of around 25, so that is where I base my opinion on that statement.

    So, it seems to be contradictory and mutually exclusive to hold that a player’s prime is 25 to 29 and that the vast majority of position players are older than 25. You can hardly be in your prime if you aren’t playing regularly.

    I am sure a WAR analysis of peak career value for the 5 years starting at 25 vs 26 vs 27 vs 28 would answer the question, but I really doubt age 25 is the best year to start the meter on the career taxi cab. I am quit open to be proven incorrect.

    • Larry, I’m sorry but I could not follow the reasoning there. But here are some facts that may be relevant:

      For the 5 years 2008-2012 combined:

      The number of qualifying batters by 5-yr. age group:

      Age – # of Qualifiers
      23-27 – 293
      24-28 – 340
      25-29 – 354
      26-30 – 339
      27-31 – 311
      28-32 – 285
      29-33 – 251
      30-34 – 224
      31-35 – 189

      Median WAR of qualifiers, by 5-yr. age group:
      24-28 – 2.7
      25-29 – 2.8
      26-30 – 2.7
      27-31 – 2.8
      28-32 – 2.7
      29-33 – 2.4
      30-34 – 2.2
      31-35 – 2.3

      From that, you might think “peak” extends to 32. But a finer age grouping changes the picture:

      Median WAR of qualifiers, by 3-yr. age group:
      24-26 – 2.6
      25-27 – 2.7
      26-28 – 2.7
      27-29 – 3.0
      28-30 – 2.8
      29-31 – 2.8
      30-32 – 2.4
      31-33 – 2.2
      32-34 – 2.1
      33-35 – 2.2

    • The thing is, you can’t draw the conclusion that the majority of players are over 25 from the fact that the youngest team might have an average age of 25. It all depends on ‘average’. Usually this means ‘mean’. But you can’t really get much younger than 25 in baseball, maybe down to 20, but the Harpers of the world are rare. You can, however, have many players playing up until 35-40. That is 10-15 years over 25, but only 5 years under. So, let’s say you have a team of 10 players, 8 of whom are 23 and 2 of whom are 40. The ‘average’ age is 26.4 even if almost all the players are under 25. You see what I mean? The Astros could be the youngest team with an average age of 25, but that doesn’t mean that the ‘vast majority’ of players are over 25.

      Regardless, looking at an individual curve as John A has, you can see that a players peak is indeed between 25 and 29.

  11. I was going about this the wrong way. The right way is to form a group of players, then follow them through their careers. So:

    Players born 1946-55, 3000+ PAs and positive career WAR (189 players).

    Median WAR among those active at age:
    23 – 1.0
    24 – 1.4
    25 – 1.8
    26 – 2.0
    27 – 2.3
    28 – 1.8
    29 – 1.7
    30 – 1.6
    31 – 1.0
    32 – 0.9
    33 – 1.0
    34 – 0.7
    35 – 0.6
    36 – 0.5

    I’m just reiterating work that’s been in far more detail by others. The bottom line remains: Position players most often peak around age 27, and are usually well into their decline by age 31.

  12. @ John and Bells – thanks for the replies – I am in agreement with your explanations. I had started by saying that the Mets signed Beltran from age 27 to 34 and that was the very prime of his career. John, I think I remember Bill James writing an essay in this way back when and that he clearly showed how players drop off after age 30. I should have recalled that. It is better to say that the Mets got Beltran at “the peak of his prime” age 27-29. Indeed, the 31-34 years were post-prime. So, 4 of the seven years were post-prime. Unfortunately for the Mets, Beltran missed a lot of games at peak prime due to injury.

    So, if I got to pick the years of a player’s career, 25 -30 would probably capture the best he had to offer. But most players establish there value between 24-27 and don’t attain free agency until age 27-28. So the signing team gets a couple of years of peak production while paying tens of millions for past

    • (continued) while paying for past production where the player likely just got major league minimum while hoping the magic lasts until age 35 or beyond. Alas, for Albert and A-rod and many others, it seldom does.

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