After 20 years in the majors, Carlos Beltran has announced his retirement from baseball. Here’s a look back at the career of the Kansas City Royals legend.
The Kansas City Royals have missed on more than a few high-round draft picks in their history. They sure didn’t miss with their second-round selection in 1995. That’s when the team selected Carlos Beltran out of Fernando Callejo High School in Manati, Puerto Rico.
After finally winning a World Series this season, Beltran announced his retirement in an article on The Players’ Tribune. The 20-year pro played a third of his career with the Kansas City Royals before a journey around the baseball world ended with a championship.
Kansas City Royals career
Just three years after signing, Beltran made his MLB debut against Oakland. The then-21-year old played in 14 games during that 1998 season. He broke out in 1999 to win American League Rookie of the Year. Beltran crushed 22 home runs and racked up 108 RBI and 112 runs scored, while slashing .293/.337/.454.
In 2000, Beltran suffered a sophomore slump, managing to play in just 99 games. He came back with a vengeance, putting together a wonderful three-and-a-half year run in a Royals uniform. Each season from 2001-03 saw Beltran put up at least 24 home runs, 100 RBI, 102 runs scored and 31 stolen bases. His 2003 campaign will go down as one of the greatest offensive seasons in franchise history.
The stellar outfielder carried that success into 2004. Beltran had 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 69 games prior to a midseason trade to the Astros.
Following his trade to Houston, Beltran helped lead the Astros all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS. He signed that winter with the New York Mets. He spent arguably the most productive part of his career in Flushing. From 2006-08, Beltran won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger awards and made two All-Star teams. In 2006, New York reached the NLCS with Beltran again falling short of the World Series, as the switch-hitter struck out looking to end Game 7.
With Beltran on the verge of free agency, the Mets shipped him to the Giants in 2011. He put up an incredible 159 OPS+ in his 44 games with San Francisco. It led to him signing a two-year contract with the Cardinals. Beltran reached the NLCS in both years, advancing to his first World Series in 2013. However, St. Louis came up short in the six-game series against Boston.
Beltran spent the next two-and-a-half years back in New York — this time with the Yankees. Halfway through the 2016 season, he arrived with the Rangers. During the offseason, Beltran signed with the other Texas-based team. He showed his age, posting a -0.6 WAR over 129 games. His postseason contributions were limited to a clutch ninth-inning double in ALDS Game 4. But his leadership likely made a large impact on the fairly inexperienced Astros.
Hall of Fame worthy?
Beltran has an interesting resume. A lot of people consider the now-40-year-old a sure-fire Hall of Famer; others aren’t sold. He finishes with over 500 doubles, 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases. According to ESPN Stats and Info, those latter two numbers make him part of an exclusive group:
Granted two of the other four currently aren’t in the Hall of Fame, these are some incredible numbers. They show an almost incomparable blend of power and speed. It’s part of the greatness of Beltran that he managed to showcase all five tools during his career. Along with the above mentioned numbers, Beltran managed over 1,500 runs scored and 1,500 RBI. His career slash line is .279/.350/.486.
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Despite never finishing in the top three in MVP award voting, Beltran piled up several individual honors, including his Rookie of the Year award. He finished with nine All-Star nominations, three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards. Even though he won just the single World Series title, one of the greatest boosts to Beltran’s resume is his postseason numbers. Over 69 career playoff games, he slashed .307/.412/.609 with an OPS+ of 131. He had 15 doubles, 16 home runs, 42 RBI and 11 stolen bases in as many tries.
Assuming he gets the call to join Cooperstown at some point, Beltran will likely go in as a New York Mets player. However, there is a chance he goes in wearing a Kansas City Royals baseball cap. Regardless, he will be a member of the Royals Hall of Fame in short order as one of the greatest outfielders in franchise history.
What do you think? Will Beltran end up in the Hall of Fame? Should he go in as a Royal? Let us know your thoughts.