JAWS and the 2024 Hall of Fame Ballot: Adrián Beltré

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The following article is part of Jay Jaffe’s ongoing look at the candidates on the BBWAA 2024 Hall of Fame ballot. For a detailed introduction to this year’s ballot, and other candidates in the series, use the tool above; an introduction to JAWS can be found here. For a tentative schedule and a chance to fill out a Hall of Fame ballot for our crowdsourcing project, see here. All WAR figures refer to the Baseball-Reference version unless otherwise indicated.

As befits a player who spent 21 seasons in the majors and ranks 15th all-time in games played, Adrián Beltré really had two careers. In the first one, he was the prodigy who didn’t quite live up to expectations. Signed (illegally) by the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic at age 15, he reached the majors at 19, became a free agent at 25 after one of the greatest walk years of all time, and disappointed at his next stop in Seattle. Through his age-30 season, he hadn’t made a single All-Star team, and he’d played in just one postseason series.

In his second career, which began with a brief stop in Boston before a longer stay in Texas, Beltré was a well-decorated and even beloved superstar. His elite defense carried over, and he emerged as a prolific slugger with exceptional contact skills, a team leader, and a fan favorite who won five Gold Gloves and made four All-Star teams while helping the Rangers to four playoff appearances and a pennant. He became the first Dominican-born player to reach the 3,000-hit milestone, as well as the career leader in hits among players born outside the United States, a surefire Hall of Famer in waiting.

How did the change happen? Some of it owed to his own maturation, particularly as a hitter — adjusting his mechanics and his mindset, learning which pitches he could best do damage against. Some of it was simply moving from pitcher-friendly parks to hitter-friendly ones. Some of it was a greater appreciation of the advanced metrics that showed that even in his leaner years at the plate, his defense at third base gave him considerable value. In his 20 full seasons (1999-2018), only twice did he slip below 2.0 WAR — once after a winter that included an emergency appendectomy and subsequent complications, and then 17 years later, in his final season. Nine times he was worth at least 5.0 WAR in a season, including twice in his much-maligned days as a Mariner. Seven times he ranked among his league’s top 10 in the category, five time with at least 6.0 WAR.

But Beltré wasn’t just about the numbers. He had style, from his drop-to-one-knee uppercut homers to his unorthodox play at third base. Via the New York Times‘ Tyler Kepner in 2012:

When the Rangers signed Beltré to a five-year contract before last season, they paired him with Manager Ron Washington, a master infield instructor. The proper way to play third base, Washington said, is to flow through the ball while fielding it.

Beltré, he said, does it all wrong. He tends to stop, catch and then unleash a throw with uncanny precision, from any angle. Essentially, Beltré’s hands are so quick and his arm is so strong that he hardly needs his feet.

“When the feet is moving, the hands work,” Washington said. “When the feet stop moving, then the ball can play you. Beltré’s one of the oddest guys. I’ve never seen the ball play him. Most guys that would do it the way he does it, they would get eaten up.”

…“When I came up through the minor leagues, and my first couple of years in the big leagues, I used to make a lot of throwing errors because I just didn’t have the accuracy to make good throws,” Beltré said. “I learned how to kind of drop my arm a little bit, and then I started using my feet less to throw the ball, and I start making better throws… Now I don’t think about it; I just do it.”

Beyond the technical aspects of his game, Beltré was tough, able to play at a high level despite injuries that were sometimes gruesome. “Sometimes I like playing with pain. It gets my concentration [up] a little more,” he said in 2012 while dealing with ongoing intestinal problems that were the legacy of his appendectomy. “I’m just seeing the ball and hitting it and not trying to do too much. I don’t mind playing with a little pain or discomfort.”

More than anything, Beltré was pure fun — a player made for an age of GIFs and memes shared on social media, from the time in 2013 that he tried to fake out teammate Elvis Andrus in pursuit of a popup to the time in 2017 he was ejected for moving the on-deck circle to all the times teammates and opponents tried to annoy him by patting him on the head to his ongoing “frenemy” act with former Seattle teammate Felíx Hernández. MLB put together an 11-minute supercut of memorable Beltré moments, some of them sublime and others silly.

Between his milestones and his no. 4 ranking in JAWS among third baseman, Beltré left little doubt that he was Hall of Fame-bound by the time he retired following the 2018 season. His candidacy is refreshingly uncomplicated, and I expect to see him receive one of the highest shares of votes of all time. He probably won’t be unanimous like Mariano Rivera, but he could join Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr. and Tom Seaver as candidates left off so few ballots you can count them on one hand.

2024 BBWAA Candidate: Adrián Beltré
Player Career WAR Peak WAR JAWS
Adrián Beltré 93.5 48.7 71.1
Avg. HOF 3B 68.4 43.1 55.8
H HR AVG/OBP/SLG OPS+
3,166 477 .286/.339/.480 116
SOURCE: Baseball-Reference

Adrián Beltré Pérez was born on April 7, 1979 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His father, Bienvenido Beltré, was a former professional player who became an industrial mechanic, and who trained roosters for cockfighting, which is legal (and popular) in the DR. It was through cockfighting and not baseball that the elder Beltré became friends with Felipe Alou, the majors’ first everyday Dominican player circa 1962 and by ’79 a manager in the Expos’ minor league system. Bienvenido introduced his infant son to Alou, telling him, “I am going to train him, and he’s going to be a big league player.”

Young Adrian quickly took to baseball, watching his father play and using socks, tennis balls, or whatever else was on hand as baseballs for games with other children. When Alou managed in the Dominican Winter League, he took the boy along for a game in San Pedro de Macoris. “I thought he’d be asleep after the game. I was surprised that he was awake. He talked about the game all the way back,” Alou told the Dallas Morning News‘ Gerry Fraley in 2017.

When Beltré was 11, his father introduced him to Franklin Rodríguez, proprietor of a local baseball school that has graduated over 200 players to professional contracts including Melky Cabrera, Runelvys Hernandez, D’Angelo Jimenez, and Edinson Volquez. Impressed by the fielding of Astros third baseman Ken Caminiti, Beltré chose the hot corner for himself. “He had arm strength and hit the ball very hard,” Rodríguez recalled in 2017.

While working out at the Dodgers’ Campo Las Palma facility, the 15-year-old, 130-pound Beltré caught the attention of Dodgers scouts Pablo Peguero and Ralph Avila (who played a part in the signing of more than 50 major leaguers, including future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and his brother Ramon). Impressed by his arm and his bat, the Dodgers signed him for a $23,000 bonus in July 1994 — illegally, as it happened, using documents that showed Beltré’s birth year as 1978 so he would appear to be 16. The transgression would not come to light until 1999, more on which below.

Beltré hit .307 in the Dominican Summer League in 1995, then moved stateside in ’96, and hit a combined .284/.366/.519 with 26 homers while splitting time between A-level Savannah and High-A San Bernadino — not bad for an age-17 season! He debuted at no. 30 on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list in the spring of 1997, and after a strong showing at High-A Vero Beach in 1997 (.284/.366/.519, 26 homers, 25 steals), rocketed to no. 3 on BA’s list, with the publication writing, “Beltre may be the most gifted player in the minors. All his tools are at least above-average. His hitting and power are on par with Paul Konerko’s. He has above-average speed and the strongest arm in the organization outside of Raul Mondesi. Any weakness in Beltre’s package would be a matter of comparison with his own tools.”

After a torrid two and a half months at Double-A San Antonio, Beltré was called up by the Dodgers. They had already traded Opening Day third baseman Todd Zeile to the Marlins along with Mike Piazza in exchange for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla and others, and when Bonilla (who was shaky at best as a third baseman) was hospitalized, they briefly tried Konerko (the no. 2 prospect on BA’s list) there. Beltré debuted on June 24, 1998, and at 19 years and 78 days, he was the second-youngest position player to reach the majors in 20 years, after Alex Rodriguez (18 years 346 days in 1994); nobody has surpassed the pair in the ensuing 25 years. He made a strong impression in his first game, collecting an RBI double off the Angels Chuck Finley in the first inning and moving the winning run to third by singling off Greg Cadaret in the 11th. Six days later, he hit his first homer, a two-run shot off the Rangers’ Rick Helling. But despite the promising debut, he scuffled, hitting .215/.278/.369 (73 OPS+) with seven homers in 214 PA.

Beltré rapidly improved, however, hitting .275/352/.425 (102 OPS+) with 15 homers in 1999 while playing defense that was 13 runs above average according to Total Zone, a performance worth 3.9 WAR. After the season, however, Beltré’s agent, Scott Boras, sent a letter to the commissioner’s office asking for the third baseman to be made a free agent on the grounds that the Dodgers illegally signed him when he was 15; earlier that year, the Dodgers had been fined and lost two Cuban players who were underage when they signed as well.

Commissioner Bud Selig denied Boras’ request on the grounds that he waited five years to bring the claim, writing to Beltré, “Your claim is more than four years too late… Lack of awareness is not a valid justification or excuse… It defied credibility that you were unaware of the age limits at the time of your signing and remained so for almost five years.” The Dodgers, who admitted to falsifying Beltré’s birth date, were fined $50,000 and ordered to pay Beltré $48,500 to approximate the larger bonus he might have received had there been competition for his services. Additionally, the team was banned from scouting or signing any Dominican players for one year, forced to close their Campo Las Palmas academy for one year, and both Avila and Peguero were suspended for a year. The players’ union filed a grievance on Beltré’s behalf, but withdrew it after he agreed to a three-year, $5.05 million contract.

After improving to 20 homers and a 114 OPS+ to go with 3.4 WAR in 2000, Beltré endured a nightmarish offseason. He underwent an emergency appendectomy on January 12, 2001; during surgery, doctors discovered the appendix had ruptured and that he’d developed an infection. He spent two months on a liquid diet of clear soup and orange juice, needed an additional surgery to repair a hole in his large intestine that didn’t heal properly, and lost 34 pounds. With an IV port still in his arm, he demanded he be allowed to play. Eventually, trainers relented. “He tucked his colostomy bag under his uniform,” former Dodgers scout Don Welke told Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein in 2016.

Beltré missed the season’s first 36 games, and while he demonstrated his toughness, he had not yet regained his full strength; he struggled to the tune of a 91 OPS+ and 0.8 WAR. Even once he recovered, his offense lagged; from 2001–03, he hit a combined .254/.301/.421 (92O OPS+) while averaging 19 homers. His 25 DRS in 2003 nonetheless bolstered his WAR to 3.6.

By this point Beltré had run through his three-year deal as well as subsequent one-year deals for $3.7 million and $5 million. For as uneven has his performances had been, he was poised to become a free agent after his age-25 season. In the spring, new hitting coach Tim Wallach encouraged him to adjust his mechanics, closing his stance to produce better plate coverage and having him focus on opposite-field hitting. He also stressed the importance of better plate discipline and worked with Beltré to break down videotape to develop a game plan against each pitcher he faced.

The work paid off, as Beltré homered six times in the Dodgers’ first 14 games, and finished with an NL-high 48 homers, one shy of the franchise record set in 2001 by Shawn Green. What’s more, he hit a sizzling .334/.388/.629, finishing fourth in the NL in both batting average and slugging percentage, and fifth with a 163 OPS+. Throw in his spectacular 22 DRS — his second of six seasons where he was at least 19 runs above average — and his season was worth 9.6 WAR, second in the league behind Barry Bonds and just a hair behind Jackie Robinson’s franchise record 9.7-WAR season in 1951.

Beltré’s performance helped the Dodgers win the NL West and reach the playoffs for the first time since 1996, but he went just 4-for-15 without an extra-base hit or RBI in a losing cause against the Cardinals in the Division Series. He finished second in the NL MVP voting behind Bonds. After the season, he underwent surgery to remove two bone spurs from his left ankle. He had been playing in pain for most of the season, and whiffing was particularly uncomfortable. His new focus at the plate came in handy. “I knew if I swung and missed, it was going to hurt,” he told the Los Angeles Times‘ Andy McCullough in 2018. “Somehow, I was more concentrated on getting a good pitch to hit and not missing it.”

Beltré became a free agent after the season, and expressed a desire to remain a Dodger. The team — by this point owned by Frank McCourt — lowballed him. Via McCullough:

The Mariners offered Beltré a five-year, $64-million contract. The Dodgers eventually countered with a six-year, $60-million deal, The Times reported. Boras pegged the package at closer to $50 million in value. Beltré recalled an even lower figure: “The offer was half the years and very much half the money,” he said. “As much as I liked L.A., as much as I wanted to stay there, I couldn’t do that.”

Beltré signed with Seattle, but was disappointed in how things had played out. Playing for a team that had plummeted from 93 wins in 2003 to 63 wins in ’04, he felt pressure to live up to his contract, particularly in a ballpark that suppressed offense in general and was especially tough for right-handed hitters. In his inaugural season as a Mariner, he sank to 19 homers with a .255/.303/.413 (93 OPS+) line and just 3.2 WAR; the Mariners went 69-93. He rebounded, albeit not to the level of 2004. From 2006–08 he hit a combined .270/.325/.468 (109 OPS+) while averaging 25 homers, 11 stolen bases, and a robust, defense-bolstered 4.9 WAR. He won the first two of his Gold Gloves in 2007 and ’08, albeit with widely varying metrics; he had just 4 DRS in the former year but a career-high 27 in the latter. The Mariners’ fortunes swung nearly as widely; even with Hernández and Ichiro Suzuki playing starring roles alongside Beltré, they won 78 games in 2006, then 88 in ’07 but just 61 in ’08.

Beltré shut down his 2008 season in mid-September to undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and to remove bone spurs in his left (nonthrowing) shoulder. As he recovered, the Mariners wouldn’t allow him to play for the Dominican Republic team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic (it would take until 2017 for him to get his wish). Unfortunately, he battled continued injuries in 2009. First he missed five weeks starting in late June due to another surgery to remove bone spurs in his left shoulder, saying that the feeling “is like someone stabbing you in the shoulder.” Less than two weeks after returning to action, he suffered — brace for it — a ruptured testicle on a bad-hop groundball, though at the time he remained in the game and scored the winning run in the 14th inning. He was not wearing a protective cup, and in fact would continue to shun the equipment; his own equipment reportedly swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. He missed 19 days, and when he returned on September 1, he was greeted by “The Nutcracker Suite” when he stepped into the batters’ box at Safeco Field, a playful prank courtesy of Griffey.

Still, Beltré finished with just eight homers, an 83 OPS+ and 3.3 WAR (thanks almost entirely to his 20 DRS). By now 30 years old, and with a carer OPS+ of 105, he hit free agency again. When three-year offers from the A’s, Orioles, and Mariners all came in low, Boras sought a one-year deal for his client, introducing the term “pillow contract” into the baseball lexicon. “A pillow contract,” he said, “is basically, you lay down, it’s comfortable, when you wake up in the morning, it’s soft, it’s there, but it’s not there with you all the time. That’s a one-year contract. It’s a pillow.”

Beltré signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Red Sox that included a $5 million player option that could increase to $10 million based upon his performance. Calling a hitters’ park home for the first time in his career, improving his contact rate against outside pitches, and cutting down his strikeout rate, he flourished in what was easily his best season since 2004. He made his first All-Star team, hitting .321/.365/.553 (141 OPS+) with 28 homers and 7.8 WAR. His 49 doubles led the league, while his batting average and WAR both ranked fourth in the AL, his slugging percentage fifth, and his OPS+ eighth.

The pillow contract proved to be more of a trampoline, to borrow Alex Speier’s term. Beltré declined his $10 million option and inked a five-year, $80 million deal with the Rangers, with a $16 million voidable option for 2016 based on playing time thresholds.

At the time, the Rangers were coming off a 90-win season and their first pennant in franchise history. Michael Young had been their regular third baseman, but even after moving from shortstop to third base, his defense was declining. Beltré provided a significant upgrade by bumping Young to DH, mentoring young players like Andrus, and helping the Rangers to their second consecutive pennant, hitting .296/.331/.561 (131 OPS+) with 32 homers, the first of them an April 2 grand slam off Boston’s John Lackey in his second game with his new team. He was voted the starting third baseman on the AL All-Star team, and in the span of eight days collected both his 2,000th hit (a single off Lackey on September 4) and 300th homer (a two-run shot off Oakland’s Josh Outman on September 11). While he missed 37 games due to a left hamstring strain, he still finished with 5.6 WAR. Not only did he win his third Gold Glove, he was the inaugural winner of the AL’s Platinum Glove Award as the league’s most outstanding defender at any position.

The Rangers won the AL West with 96 wins, then beat the Rays in the Division Series, with Beltré helping to close them out in Game 4 with the first three-homer game of his career — a trio of solo shots, two off Jeremy Hellickson and one off Matt Moore. He had a pair of multi-hit games in the Rangers’ six-game ALCS win over the Tigers. In the only World Series he would ever play in, the seven-game classic against the Cardinals, he hit .300/.323/.567 with a pair of homers. He had two hits in a Game 1 loss, and four hits in a Game 3 loss, then hit a game-tying solo homer off Chris Carpenter in the sixth inning of Game 5, which the Rangers went on to win. In the epic Game 6, he put the Rangers on top 5-4 with a solo homer off Lance Lynn to start the seventh inning, but the Rangers, despite being one strike away from clinching their championship twice in as many innings, lost in 11. Beltré went hitless and struck out twice in Texas’ Game 7 loss.

Despite the disappointment, Beltré followed up with what would stand as his best all-around season in Texas: a 7.2-WAR campaign in which he hit .321/.359/.561 (139 OPS+) with 36 homers. He homered three times in a game against the Orioles on August 22, 2012, making him just the fifth player with three-homer games in both the regular season and postseason. Just days later, as his hitting binge continued, I mentioned him in the context of JAWS and Cooperstown for the first time at SI.com, while acknowledging that he still had work to do.

Not only did Beltré win Gold and Platinum Gloves again, he placed third in the AL MVP voting behind Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. The Rangers won 93 games and qualified for the AL Wild Card Game, but lost to the Orioles, with Beltré going 0-for-4.

Though the Rangers missed the playoffs in each of the next two seasons, slipping first to 91 wins in 2013 and then 67 in ’14, a season during which Washington resigned, Beltré continued his strong performances. He totaled 11.9 WAR over those two seasons, hitting .320/.379/.501 (141 OPS+). He homered 30 times and collected an AL-high 199 hits in 2013, and made his fourth and final All-Star team in ’14. By the time he collected his 2,500th hit on June 24, 2014, he ranked eighth in JAWS, one of just three third basemen to reach that milestone and 300 homers along with George Brett and Chipper Jones.

Just before the 2015 season, the Rangers and Beltré reworked the final two years of the third baseman’s deal, guaranteeing his option for ’16 at $18 million in exchange for cutting his ’15 salary to $16 million. On May 15, 2015, Beltré became the 52nd player and fifth third baseman to reach 400 home runs in his career, crushing a belt-high 3-0 sinker from Cleveland’s Bruce Chen for a solo homer. On May 31, he tore a ligament in his left thumb while sliding into second base. He played through it, of course, and while he posted just a 110 OPS+, his lowest mark as a Ranger, he still totaled 4.4 WAR. Under first-year manager Jeff Banister, the Rangers won the AL West but lost a five-game Division Series to the Blue Jays. Beltré drove in a run off David Price in his second plate appearance but injured his back sliding into second base and left the game; he didn’t return until Game 4, and while he went 4-for-9 overall, the Rangers lost in five.

In April 2016, Beltré signed a two-year, $36 million extension. The 37-year-old slugger went on to hit 32 home runs that season, his fourth time reaching the 30-homer plateau as a Ranger and the fifth time overall. He hit .300/.358/.521 (132 OPS+), produced 6.7 WAR (eighth in the league) and won his final Gold Glove. The Rangers won 95 games and another division title but were swept by the Blue Jays. He played just 203 games over the life of that extension, and just 135 of those at third base while making two trips per year to the injured list due to calf and hamstring injuries. When available, however, his play still ranged from good to great, and the highlights kept coming. On July 30, 2017, he became the first Dominican-born player to reach 3,000 hits, doing so with a double off the Oriole’s Wade Miley. On April 5, 2018, with his 3,054th hit, he surpassed Rod Carew for the most hits by a Latin America-born player. On June 13 of that season, with his 3,090th hit, he surpassed Suzuki for the most by a player born outside the United States, a distinction he held until Albert Pujols surpassed him the following season.

Though it appeared likely that he would retire at the end of the 2018 season, Beltré did not state definitively whether he would do so. The Rangers nonetheless decided to honor him before their final home game of the season, with interim manager Don Wakamatsu (who had replaced the fired Banister amid a 95-loss campaign) pulling him in the sixth inning so that he could receive one more ovation. Afterwards, he acknowledged the possibility of retirement, saying, “Mentally, I’m ready to accept the fact that maybe this is it.” He waited until late November to officially announce his decision.

Having written novellas on the Hall of Fame cases of 2024 ballot newcomers Joe Mauer and Chase Utley over the past two weeks, it’s a huge relief to come to a case that’s so straightforward. Beltré is one of 12 players to reach the twin plateaus of 3,000 hits and 400 homers. Seven are in the Hall of Fame, two are on the outside due to PED suspensions, and two who joined the club after Beltré will waltz into Cooperstown once they become eligible for election:

Players with 3,000 Hits and 400 Home Runs
Player Years H HR
Stan Musial* 1941–1963 3630 475
Willie Mays* 1948–1973 3293 660
Henry Aaron* 1954–1976 3771 755
Carl Yastrzemski* 1961–1983 3419 452
Dave Winfield* 1973–1995 3110 465
Eddie Murray* 1977–1997 3255 504
Cal Ripken Jr.* 1981–2001 3184 431
Rafael Palmeiro 1986–2005 3020 569
Alex Rodriguez 1994–2016 3115 696
Adrián Beltré 1998–2018 3166 477
Albert Pujols 2001–2022 3384 703
Miguel Cabrera 2003–2023 3174 511
SOURCE: Baseball-Reference
* = Hall of Famer

Mays, Ripken, and Rodriguez are the only ones besides Beltré who reached those two milestones while playing key defensive positions, and as the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant pointed out at the time he retired, Beltré’s one of four with the milestones and at least five Gold Gloves, along with Mays, Winfield, and Yastrzemski — pretty decent company on both fronts. His hit total ranks 18th all-time, and first among third basemen, whether you’re considering players who spent the majority of their careers at the hot corner (he edges Brett, 3,166 to 3,154) or the strict split of hits only while in the lineup as a third baseman (he beats out Brooks Robinson, 2,987 to 2,838). Either way, he trails only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews in homers among third basemen. He’s the all-time leader in both plate appearances and total bases at the position; going by the majority-of-career convention, his 12,130 PA (18th all-time) is 348 more than the second-ranked Robinson, while his 5,309 total bases is 265 more than the second-ranked Brett.

In terms of defense, Beltré is second only to Robinson in games played at third base (2,759), and also second in fielding runs (216). Among defenders at any position, he’s second only to Andrelton Simmons in DRS, which has only been around since 2003 — and that’s by a single run (200 to 199). In terms of UZR, which has been around since 2002, his 179 runs is first by a wide margin, 53 more than Suzuki.

As if the traditional numbers weren’t convincing enough, by WAR measures, Beltré is an easy choice for the Hall of Fame. He’s third among third basemen in career WAR behind only Schmidt and Mathews, sixth in seven-year peak WAR behind those two, Wade Boggs, Ron Santo, and Brett, and fourth in JAWS behind Schmidt, Mathews, and Boggs, an eyelash ahead of Brett.

Sure, it would have been nice if Beltré had won a World Series, or at least hit better than his .261/.297/.450 in the postseason. Higher totals of All-Star selections and Gold Gloves would testify more strongly to the way he impressed observers throughout his career, in that “you knew you were watching a Hall of Famer” sense. He certainly deserved a bit more recognition in the first half of his career for his defense, and it really took the proliferation of defensive metrics to put his greatness in the field — and thus his overall value — into perspective, which didn’t really happen until his time with the Rangers. Thankfully, that lack of recognition was more than made up for by the way a younger generation of fans and writers embraced him via social media and appreciated the unbridled joy that he brought to the game. This is as easy a Hall of Fame vote as they get, and a celebration awaits. See you in Cooperstown, Adrián Beltré.





Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011, and a Hall of Fame voter since 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe... and BlueSky @jayjaffe.bsky.social.

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CC AFCmember
5 months ago

Thank you for linking the video of him getting ejected for moving the on-deck circle. I could watch that forever.

Easiest call of any recent position player for me. Also, one of the guys who taught me to understand park factors when I was initially like “hey, how come he’s not good on the mariners, now?” Amazing that it wasn’t really until his 30s that he became a consistently elite hitter. Absolute blast of a player, pre-emptively happy for him.