After nearly two months on the disabled list, Beltre is about to return and the Texas Rangers can’t wait to get him back.
The Texas Rangers are ready for the return of third baseman Adrian Beltre. It’s not that they’ve been awful without him. In fact, the last two weeks have looked pretty good. But this team isn’t the same without the four time all-star.
There’s little doubt this team would be better than 24-22 after Tuesday night’s 11-6 loss to the Red Sox if they had him all year. Well, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers fans could find out starting Monday how true that is and here’s why.
For a guy as decorated as Beltre, there’s a lot to love about him. But what usually garners the least attention is surprisingly his bat. It often gets lost behind his vast repertoire of other skills he possesses.
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He’s batted at least .300 in five of his last seven big league seasons and has averaged over 27 home runs per season in that timeframe. He also hasn’t had a season of 100 strikeouts or more since 2007. Hitting-wise, he’s as good as they come.
That’s why he has four Silver Slugger Awards to his name. Honestly, it’s a surprise he doesn’t have more than that. It probably has something to do with how well Josh Donaldson and Miguel Cabrera have also hit recently. But his skills don’t stop there.
Beltre’s stopping power
Of his on-the-field traits, Beltre’s glove it what often gets noticed the most. There’s rarely a batted ball that escapes his grasp. He has five Gold Glove Awards to show for it, the most recent of which came just last season.
Whether it’s a line drive at his head or a hot grounder to his left, he seems to have a flair for the nearly impossible. His .976 fielding percentage as a third baseman ranked him third in the league last season and his 2.99 range factor/9 innings placed him second. At 38 years old, he still has one of the best gloves in all of baseball and he does it at a very difficult defensive position. With all due respect to the good job Joey Gallo has done in his absence, there’s still no comparison.
More than anything else, Texas Rangers hitters need to start touching Beltre’s bald head again. It seriously brings the team closer together. Sure, it brings some laughs and giggles from the fans and there’s likely a faction of fans that just don’t get it.
Yes, it’s fantastic seeing Beltre make a huge play that ignites the Texas bench. But things go even further and deeper when he enters the dugout and Elvis Andrus removes Beltre’s helmet.
It’s true that Beltre hates getting his head touched. For him it’s the equivalent of how others view fingernails on a chalkboard. But like a dad that continues reading books in that silly voice that hurts his throat and does it anyway to please his kids, Beltre trudges on. Much like that dad, he does it because it makes the kids smile.
In fact, that pretty much sums up who Beltre is to this team. He’s a father figure. He keeps the guys in line when they act up, he sets the example of what a great ballplayer does and he leads the team onto the field. The Texas Rangers need their daddy back out there. And when he takes the field, they’ll be able to tell the other teams, “Our daddy can whoop your daddy. So bring it.”