Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bring Back Beltre?

Witness Buster Olney's latest espn.com blog (posted today) scouting former Dodger Adrian Beltre. No link (insider only), but here's what Buster's canvas of four scouts revealed:

We forget that Adrian Beltre is still very young. He doesn't turn 29 until April, and he's already got 1,433 hits and 217 homers. I asked three talent evaluators about what they see in Beltre, as he prepares for his fourth season with the Seattle Mariners, and his 11th season in the majors.

AL talent evaluator: "He is pretty phenomenal as a third baseman. He's great. He's got tremendous range, and is unbelievable going to his right, into foul territory, to make plays down the line. He can throw from any angle. Defensively, I don't think he has a weak point. He's a game-changer on defense.

"Do I think he's worth $13 million a year [Beltre's salary under his current contract]? No, probably not. He disappointed Seattle early after signing. But he's a pretty good player. He seems to be a little more relaxed, after the first year of the contract. He helps you a lot more than he hurts you. And from the outside, I think he really plays hard."

AL scout: "He can flat-out play the position; he's one of the best third basemen in baseball. He's just a good player. I think he'd be a better player in a different ballpark, in a different setting. That's nothing against Seattle, but his power is to right-center, and that's a pretty tough place for him to hit. He'd be great in Cincinnati."

NL scout: "He's an amazing athlete. He's not fluid by any means, but he gets the job done at third base because of exceptional quickness and strength. Adrian Beltre has the strongest arm of any third baseman I've seen since Aurelio Rodriguez. He can throw at any angle, from any position. He's all over the map at third base, in terms of how he pursues the ball; you would never make a video of him and say, 'Here's how to play the position.' But as he goes to throw the ball, his feet are always in position.

"He hits off his back foot. A high-ball hitter. And sometimes he seems to swing up at the ball, but the ball carries off his bat. When he moved over to the AL, with that type of mechanics that he had, it took him awhile, maybe a whole year, to make the adjustments. He is a more disciplined hitter now than he was earlier in his career, and that might just be that he knows the pitchers in the AL better. I think he can get better, with the bat. I think he's a pretty intelligent player, and he'll continue to make adjustments. He just has such tremendous raw ability, and it takes time to harness that. Once he figures it out, he'll be pretty good."

Who holds the Dodgers' all-time record for most home runs in a season? Shawn Green at 49 (2001), followed by Beltre with 48 (2004). Hmm. LaRoche/Garciaparra? Hmm.


Orel said...

From Dylan Hernandez:

Contrary to a published report, the Dodgers don't appear to be interested in Brandon Inge of the Detroit Tigers, in part because of the $19.1 million he is owed over the next three seasons.