Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment

Carlos Beltran announced his retirement Monday.

It's not a great surprise. He turns 41 in April and 2017 was the least productive season of his distinguished career. The Astros kept him on the roster for the playoffs and World Series, but perhaps the best postseason player of his generation (16 home runs in 256 playoff and World Series at-bats) seldom got off the bench.

His will be an interesting Hall of Fame debate. I'd support him -- I am, as I've said, a Big Hall guy -- but Beltran never led the league in any statistical category (other than games played in 2002) and fell short of the "automatic" career markers such as 3,000 hits and 500 homers.


This was a long time ago, really but look at the Kansas City Royals of 1999. Specifically, look at their outfield -- Johnny Damon in left, Beltran (then a rookie) in center, Jermaine Dye in right. None of them over 25, all of them at an All-Star level.

One of the best young outfields in baseball history. I wrote a Monday column this year on how wonderful the Twins outfield (Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler) could be; they aren't as good now as the '99 Royals outfield was, and only time will tell if they have the careers of the Damon-Beltran-Dye group.

The Royals got very little out of their trio. They sold them off one by one; by 2002 Beltran was flanked by Chuck Knoblauch and Michael Tucker. Damon and Dye went to the Athletics, Beltran to the Astros. Each won World Series with other teams, Damon with the Red Sox and Yankees, Dye with the White Sox, Beltran on his second go-around with Houston. And the Royals stayed on their losing treadmill until another group of young players jelled.


I'll throw a Handbook item in here to give me a third topic. Last month I noted that the Fielding Bible Awards panel voted Byron Buxton the best defensive center fielder in baseball, that the voting was one vote shy of unaminity in center and said the voting details would be in the Handbook.

Mark Simon of ESPN had Buxton as the No. 2 CF, behind Kevin Kiermaier of Tampa Bay.

Other Twins votes in this section: Joe Mauer was fifth in the first base voting. His highest vote was a fourth-place voted (Brian Kenny of MLB Network). Brian Dozier was in the "receiving votes" catagory at second base, which is more than Miguel Sano or Jorge Polanco got at third base or shortstop. Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jason Castro also fell short of the top 10 at their positions.

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