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Draft Day Decisions: Pass On Adrian Beltre, Select Justin Turner Instead

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 5:56
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know the Adrian Beltre has long been one of the most consistent third baseman, and there is something to be said about being able to pencil someone into your lineup and knowing what he’s going to do.  At 37-years old, how much upside is there though?  Should we be willing to pay a premium, at a deep position, for stability?

You could say that his current ADP isn’t unreasonable, but passing on him and waiting to select another veteran may be the prudent decision:

  • Adrian Beltre – 83.22 (8th Third Baseman)
  • Justin Turner – 128.39 (15th Third Baseman)

It’s not that Turner is a significantly better choice, but the numbers should be close and the 45 pick “savings” would allow you to strengthen your team elsewhere.  Don’t agree?  Let’s take a look:

Last season Beltre slugged 32 HR, after posting a total of 37 HR the previous two seasons.  At his age how believable is that?  He posted his highest HR/FB since 2012 (14.6%) and seemed to be making a concerted effort to hit for more power (flyball rate):

  • 2012 – 39.9%
  • 2013 – 40.0%
  • 2014 – 35.6%
  • 2015 – 35.7%
  • 2016 – 42.1%

It was an even greater split between halves (37.9%/47.1%), which helps to explain his 20 HR explosion in the second half.  It screams of an aberration for the veteran, doesn’t it?

Turner, on the other hand, is coming off a career best 27 HR campaign and is no spring chicken (32-years old).  His HR/FB has been consistent over the past two seasons (13.9%, 14.8%), the differences was simply more AB.  His fly ball rate (40.0%) has been fairly consistent since the second half of ’15 (39.7%), so he’s been doing it for long enough that it’s a believable pace.

That’s not to say that he’s going to be significantly better than Beltre, but they are going to be in the same range with Turner having a slight edge.

Beltre has hit .287 or better seven straight seasons (including five years of .300+), something that’s going to give you reason to believe.  At the same time, if the power is going to fall and he maintains his fly ball rate there’s a good chance that he falls short of his past marks.  He’s not going to be a drag on your average, but a .290ish mark is more what we should expect as opposed to .300+.

After hitting .294 in ’15 Turner “struggled” to a .275 mark a year ago.  However he has consistently proven that he can hit the ball with authority (line drive rates of 27.7% and 23.9%), while also making more than enough contact (16.2%, 17.2% strikeout rates).  Last season there was a dramatic split in the numbers, and it was all based on luck:

  • First Half – .256 AVG, .268 BABIP
  • Second Half – .298 AVG, .325 BABIP

With the underlying metrics the second half is more believable, and therefore once again puts him in the same range as Beltre.

Both players are projected to hit in the middle of their respective lineups, and while you can argue that there is better talent surrounding Beltre it doesn’t give him a significant advantage.  They both should be in the 80 R/90 RBI range, with a bit more potential (plus/minus 5-10 in either direction).

In other words, despite Turner’s lack of track record the expectations are for the numbers to be similar (with Turner potentially adding a few SB, something that can’t be underrated).  Considering the pick “savings”, it’s hard not to pass on Beltre and draft Turner three or four rounds later.

What are your thoughts?  Which of the two would you draft?

Source – Fangraphs 

*** Order Rotoprofessor’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for Just $7.00 By Clicking Here!!   Not only will you get all the help you need to dominate your fantasy draft, but you will also be entered to win a Noah Syndergaard autographed baseball, complete with “Thor” inscription! ***

Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

Last Updated
Catcher 01/09/17
First Base 01/16/17
Second Base 01/23/17
Third Base 02/06/17
Shortstop 02/13/17
Outfielder 12/05/16
Starting Pitcher 12/13/16
Relief Pitcher 01/02/17


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