I don’t pay much attention to the New York Yankees. As somebody who roots for the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, it’s an exercise in not experiencing annoying sights and sounds. Granted, the Yankees aren’t very good this season, so I don’t have to avoid much.
Mark Teixeira might be injured, which could be cause for his struggles at the plate. Alex Rodriguez is injured and struggling mightily and there are not a lot of bright spots in the lineup for the Yankees. Carlos Beltran, however, is quietly having a nice age-39 season; notching his 19th major-league season.
When I went to peruse his pages at Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Prospectus, I got to wondering what his Hall of Fame chances might be.
Now, I don’t have a vote and I certainly don’t know the general feeling amongst voters when it comes to Beltran, but we can look at some numbers to see how he measures up. I present to you, Carlos Beltran’s Hall of Fame curriculum vitae.
Hello, my name is Carlos Ivan Beltran, thank you for considering my candidacy for induction into the Hall of Fame. The 2022 BBWAA ballot must surely be an interesting one. I am writing to you after an unfortunate loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on a hot May evening in 2016. Yes, I keep a typewriter and collection of bottles and corks in my locker at Yankee Stadium. You are one of the people lucky enough to have found my message in a bottle and be a BBWAA member.
In 1995, the Kansas City Royals drafted me out of Puerto Rico with the 49th overall pick in the amateur draft. It should be mentioned that I was drafted after such forgettable names as Shane Monahan and David Yocum. Mark Bellhorn, who is not as forgettable, was taken 14 picks ahead of me by the Oakland Athletics.
By 1999, I was the everyday center fielder for the Royals and I won the American League Rookie of the Year Award. I was an eight-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover, and two-time Silver Slugger in my 19 big-league seasons.
As my career draws near its twilight, I have taken some time to further research statistical evidence that might best support my candidacy. I enlisted the help of Jay Jaffe’s JAWS metric, as well as many other numbers, often stacking them up against center fielders already enshrined in Cooperstown. No, I did not play all of my games in center, but playing in center 72.6 percent of my career games — as of this writing on May 25, 2016 — should qualify me.
Let’s start with JAWS, an acronym for Jaffe WAR Score System, attempts to measure Hall worthiness through the Wins Above Replacement metric. Further, Jaffe uses a seven-year peak number, so that when you look at career WAR, WAR7, and JAWS, it almost resembles a slash line of sorts.
The average WAR slash line for the current 19 Hall of Fame center fielders is 71.1 career WAR, 44.5 WAR7, and 57.8 JAWS. Right now, I have amassed a WAR slash of 68.9/44.3/56.6. I may be a hair below those watermarks of average, but I feel this shouldn’t hurt the chances of you putting my name on your ballot.
Here are three examples of Hall of Fame center fielders whose WAR slash lines are bested by my own. Richie Ashburn has 63.6/44.3/53.9. Andre Dawson, who took nine years to break through, has 64.5/42.5/53.5, so my ten years of eligibility should be enough even for those of you who waver. Lastly, Kirby Puckett has 50.9/37.5/44.2. Now, I have all the respect for the late Puckett, but that should certainly boost my cause looking at that comparison.
Baseball Prospectus has a fielding metric called Fielding Runs Above Average. For my career, I have been good for 35.3 FRAA. The great Ken Griffey Jr. had a career -13.7 FRAA. I was floored to find that out about one of the greatest center fielders I’ve ever seen. I am nearly 130 runs better than Mickey Mantle in the field, as he finished his storied career at -92.9 FRAA. Then again, I will probably never catch Willie Mays, who has a stunning 146.5 FRAA!
Oh boy, I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on Griffey (I’m not, I love the guy), but I also beat him in another defensive metric. FanGraphs measures Defensive Runs Saved and I best him here, too. For his career Griffey was again shockingly low at -41 DRS and I sit at 38 DRS. Sorry Griff, you’re truly the best!
While borrowing Brett Gardner‘s Baseball Reference login to use the Play Index tools, I found a very interesting stat. I am one of only five players in the history of the major leagues to have 2,498+ hits, 500+ doubles, 300+ stolen bases, and 400+ home runs. The other names on that list? See for yourself below in the screenshot that Jacoby Ellsbury helped me take.
There are two Hall of Famers in that quintet. All of the other three are probably deserving, as well.
Back to FanGraphs, I have a weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 120. This number is structured to allow 100 to be average and anything above that as, well, better than average. I can breathe a sigh of relief, as Griffey bests me here with a wRC+ of 131. Meanwhile, I top Dawson (117) and nearly even Puckett (122).
In closing, let’s look at how I rank amongst all center fielders in a few categories.
I am seventh in home runs with 402 career dingers. The brilliant Joe DiMaggio has 361. Of course, I understand that Joltin’ Joe didn’t always hit for as much power and it is a different era, but do with it what you like.
In career doubles, I am also seventh with 515. Andre Dawson is eighth with 503.
My 311 stolen bases just keep keep me in the top 50 (43rd). Still not too shabby.
When it comes to taking ball four, I’m 14th amongst all center fielders. Previously enshrined Duke Snider has 971 career bases on balls.
In on-base plus slugging percentage, or OPS in case you still haven’t read a baseball book from the last 15 years, I rank 24th at .845. Kirby Puckett is right behind me at .837.
Thank you again for your consideration and I hope to be standing on that stage sooner rather than later.