Beltran is one of those fantasy baseball wild card players for 2011. Coming of knee surgery last off-season Beltran's 2010 was severely compromised as Beltran did not return until after the all-star break. Upon his return, Beltran wore a full knee brace and performed no where near his old self. Beltran in 220 AB's had 7HR, 27RBI, 21R, 3SB and a .255 Avg. So what do expect from Beltran in 2011?
Scenario 1 - Beltran Bounces Back
Let's assume that Beltran, in his walk year, comes back with a solid season. Beltran plays in Citi Field and given that even if he bounces back strong this is going to hurt his power numbers such as HR and RBI. In 2009 the first season of Citi Field Beltran was having an excellent season before his knee situation came up. In 308 AB's he was batting .325 with strong numbers across the board except he only had 10HR's in that time frame. So basically what I am saying is Beltran even bouncing back will probably be a guy who hits in the low 20's in HR's in that ballpark, maybe even less. Beltran's knee situation aside, he turns 34 at the end of April and the older a player gets, the less they will steal. It's just too much wear and tear on their bodies and basically will only steal in a crucial situation or if they can steal the bag easily because pitcher is not paying attention. Beltran is also in his walk year and I guarantee you his super agent Scott Boras has told Beltran do everything you can to protect your body. So even Beltran bounces back it will be with reduced power and big reduction in steals. But here is the kicker, even if Beltran has a strong first half, as everyone knows, the Mets are a mess. On top of that, the Mets are using 2011 as a transition year based on their actions this off-season. Given Beltran's age and contract and in his walk year, I can guarantee, unless the Mets shock everyone and become a wild card contender, Beltran will be moved come July for the best package the Mets can get. Given his age and his knee situation an AL team would make a lot more sense than an NL team.
Scenario 2 - Beltran Does Not Bounce Back
As we saw him play in the second half last year it was tough to watch sometimes. Beltran was limping very noticeably which is not uncommon consider this huge brace he is wearing. The second scenario is Beltran is quite simply 60% of his old self which now includes hardly any steals and playing in a gigantic ballpark. Still a risk in this scenario to be traded as maybe an AL team takes a chance on Beltran on the cheap and has him be their DH.
There is just too many bad variables in play here. Beltran's health, the team his plays on, Citi Field, his reduced SB production, the possibility of him getting traded to the AL come July, do I need to continue? Either scenario Beltran can wind up not being an asset for you. Before the knee injury most people would consider Beltran for close to 30HR's, 100+ R's and RBI's and 20+ SB's with an average between .275 - .285. In most NL only leagues auction style he would have been considered a $30+ hitter. My recommendation is if you want to spend some dollars on a wild card player who can bounce back with a big year do it on Cameron Maybin or Nate McLouth even. I wouldn't recommend Beltran for even around $15. If he went $10 then i'd splurge, but given his name and the belief by someone he could bounce back that will happen in very few leagues. NL King advice is spend your draft dollars else where.
NL King - C.Lizza