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What happened to Adrian Beltre?
Posted by Bret Cohen at 5/17/2007 9:21:00 PM
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What on earth happened such that Adrian Beltre, in 2004, set career highs in runs (by 16), hits (by 34), home runs (by 23!!!), RBI (by 32), batting average (by an astonishing .044), on-base percentage (by .028), slugging percentage (by .154), and OPS (by .182)? Was it his contract year? It could be the Brady Anderson/Darin Erstad one-hit wonder effect, but Beltre's numbers were up all over the board, not just in average or home runs. Was it a combination of all of these factors? That year, he was one of the top five batters in baseball. I'm just curious if anyone who was there in Dodger country (or was subsequently hoodwinked in Mariner country) has any plausible explanation as to what happened then and has happened since.


Career year and a big contract.....happens all the time....
Posted by Zenguerrilla at 5/17/2007 11:23:00 PM
When in doubt, suspect 'roids.
Posted by cliss at 5/18/2007 12:21:00 AM
His plate discipline was better in '04 than it was before or has been since. Granted, that's not enough to explain the breakout, but it is a factor.
Posted by joeo at 5/18/2007 1:02:00 AM
I used to watch a lot of Dodger games, and I got the impression that he was going to the opposite field much more in '04. I haven't seen a spray chart to back this up - it's just my guess based on watching 60-70 Dodger games that year.

Why did he do this? In '04 he had a bad bone spur problem in his left ankle. He couldn't open up nearly as much on the inside pitch (or any pitch, for that matter). So he had to stay closed, and use the entire field more than he does now. I thought his approach was better that year than it was before (or after). At the end of the year, he had surgery to fix the problem.

I think the contract year also played a part.
Posted by iceguy at 5/18/2007 5:37:00 AM
I've never seen any "analysis" that shows any proof of the contract year theory. Maybe it has differing impact depending on the player, but it seems like one of those things that you only remember the cases where the player had a big year, not the cases where the player, in a contract year, performed poorly.
Posted by hainesbl at 5/18/2007 6:35:00 AM
The contract year theory isn't supported by any deep stat analysis, that's for sure. Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't hold water on at least some level. The common-sense bottom line is that motivation is different for everyone - for one player a new contract might be the ideal carrot, but for another player, the opportunity to prove a point might be a greater motivation (Clemens in 1997 is a perfect example). One final thought on the way out: just because you can't support "Theory XYZ" with stats doesn't mean "Theory XYZ" doesn't have some truth to it. The number pushers will tell you the hot hand in basketball is a myth, too.
Posted by spianow at 5/18/2007 8:49:00 AM
Has Beltre been known to be a slacker in the past? The contract year theory might hold more water then. But still, I doubt that anyone on sheer will and determination can raise their skills to .074 points higher than their career average.
Posted by bscwik at 5/18/2007 9:00:00 AM
Posted by Rugby12901 at 5/19/2007 1:27:00 PM
There were plenty of fans and pundits questioning his level of interest in baseball and effort prior to that contract year. He was a chronic underachiever prior to that year, as well. So, when all of the stars aligned for him -- contract year, better preparation, maybe some chemical help, better concentration throughout the season, etc. -- it wasn't a huge shocker to most Dodger fans. But, him leaving to Seattle also wasn't a huge shocker since no one expected him to repeat it.
Posted by jarnold at 5/20/2007 6:21:00 PM

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