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AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
by Eddie Middlebrook

2013 has been an injury-riddled season for your Rangers as it seems to have infected every aspect of the roster. Even this team’s leader hasn’t been spared, but he plays every day despite the obvious pain.

Adrian Beltre is able to hit homeruns on bended knee, display cat-like reflexes at third base and flashes honor when he asks the first base umpire if he checked his swing or not. A few days ago when I was watching Beltre round the bases and eventually score, I tweeted out this. I had mixed feelings about the Rangers signing him, but it didn’t take long to see what the Rangers saw in him.

After hitting .321/.365/.553 and a league-leading 49 doubles for Boston in 2010, Beltre signed for five years, $80M on January 5, 2011, with the Rangers. There were many of us in the blogosphere that had mixed feelings about this signing. We all saw what he did with Boston the year before, but we also saw him up close with Seattle the previous five years where he had an OPS of .716, .792, .802, .784 and .683. He was said to be a “contract year guy” and it didn’t help that he was on the wrong side of 30.

Since joining the Rangers, Beltre has two Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and finished third in the AL MVP voting last season. He has hit over 30 homeruns each of his first two seasons and already has 14 this season. The offensive numbers are great, but it is what he does in the field that is most impressive. Beltre locks down third base like none other in MLB which is easily appreciated by Rangers fans after watching Michael Young attempt to play the position in previous years.

On a team that features the likes of Andrus, Kinsler and Darvish, only Beltre is the no doubt Hall of Famer. According to JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score System), Beltre is already the 10th best third baseman of all time with 56 JAWS just behind Scott Rolen (56.7) and Paul Molitor (57.6). According to rWAR, Beltre is 13th in MLB history at 67 wins with a chance to crack the top eight this season.

The top eight are all Hall of Famers sans Chipper Jones:


Mike Schmidt
Eddie Matthews 
Wade Boggs 
George Brett 
Chipper Jones 
Brooks Robinson
Paul Molitor

Ron Santo 
106.5
96.2
90.9
88.4
85.1
78.4
75.5
70.6

Beltre has accumulated over 2,300 hits for his career and if he is able to average 175 hits over the remainder of his contract, could have 2,752 hits by 2015. That would place him fifth in hits among 3B. He currently sits 10th in hits, 8th in doubles and 8th in homeruns.

Appreciate what you have, Rangers fans, as you’re watching one of the best ever to man the hot corner. He might not be faster than a locomotive, but his game is definitely “Super.”


Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook
 


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