Texas Rangers Positional Preview: Third Base
3rd base for the Rangers is occupied by three time Silver Slugger, three time Gold Glove winner and two time All-Star Adrian Beltre. Beltre signed a free agent contract with the Rangers in the winter of last year, after spending a season in Boston. Beltre’s arrival in Arlington, meant a significant upgrade at 3rd over Michael Young. Beltre won his third Gold Glove in 2011 for Texas, and provided stability on defense that the Rangers haven’t seen in a long time.
Offensively, Beltre is a tremendous power threat in the middle of the Ranger lineup. In 2011, he hit .296, with 32 home runs and 105 RBI’s in only 124 games. In 2012 Wash is going to move Beltre to clean-up, to provide more chances to clear the bases. That move should allow Adrian to have a similar type of season with Kinsler, Andrus and Hamilton hitting in front of him. Beltre’s career stats are impressive:
Michael Young is the team’s regular Designated Hitter, but is also the team’s back up 3rd baseman. Young is a former All-Star at 3rd, as well as shortstop. Defensively, Young does not have the ability at 3rd base that Beltre does, but is a solid back up. Offensively, Michael is an excellent hitter, with a .304 career batting average, and a little pop in his bat. However, Young will be the DH and split time at 1st base with Mitch Moreland. His time at 3rd should be limited to only a few games providing Beltre stays healthy.
(2011) AVG HR RBI SB SLG OPS
Beltre .296 32 105 1 .561 .892
Young .338 11 105 6 .474 .854
The Projection :
Adrian Beltre will stay healthy this year and play 152 games for the Rangers, 142 at 3rd and 10 at DH, with 10 days off for the 33 year old. He will have another fantastic year for Texas:
(2012) AVG HR RBI SB
Beltre .287 39 117 2
Bonus Wild Prediction:
Beltre will finish 2nd in the MVP voting behind Robinson Cano and will help the Rangers win the AL West. He will also win another Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and will own CJ Wilson, hitting 6 home runs off of him in 2012.