Adrian Beltre in perfect position to succeed
January, 5, 2011
By Eric Karabell | ESPN Insider
While most fantasy baseball owners probably give little thought to real-life defense, if they even consider it an important part of the game at all, good for the Texas Rangers. Defense indeed matters quite a bit, and Adrian Beltre is surely one of the best in baseball at manning the third base spot. For this reason, as well as Beltre's offensive numbers from 2010, the Rangers have signed him to a six-year contract worth nearly $100 million, even though Michael Young has been their third baseman for years and remains productive.
Beltre is one of the preeminent fielders in baseball, and is also coming off arguably the second-best season of his career. His addition -- and Young's subtraction as a below-average third baseman -- makes the Rangers a better team and helps the pitchers (notably ground-ballers Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb), even if everyone tries to figure out how this affects Young. Hey, don't cry for him. Young has changed positions twice prior and his offensive numbers remained excellent. He'll likely remain a Texas Ranger and entrenched in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, where he can help fantasy owners in batting average, power and score plenty of runs ahead of Josh Hamilton and now, Beltre. Young might be solely a designated hitter for 2012 fantasy leagues, but we've got awhile to worry about that. He also has experience at three infield positions, could probably easily learn the fourth (first base), so don't dismiss him in keeper leagues yet. Couldn't you just see him getting in 20 games at second base?
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesDefense doesn't count in fantasy baseball, but positional eligibility does.