Adrian Beltre is the unquestioned leader of the Texas Rangers for the 2013 season. But what is his role with the team in the coming years?
With Mike Olt coming up soon and being close to major league ready, Beltre might fade out. The third baseman will play as much as he wants in 2013, which is just about every day barring injury for him. Starting in 2014, though, he may have to start splitting time with Olt.
Olt is a highly-regarded corner infield prospect, ranked as the 22nd best prospect overall. He is already 26, and may be running out of time as a prospect. This season, Olt may be splitting time at first with Mitch Moreland, but he needs to start getting major league playing time as soon as possible.
Another big contributor to Beltre’s likely oncoming decline is his age. Beltre is 33 and has been in the league for 14 years — he can’t pretend that he is a young man any more.
I said he wants to play every day, which I gather from the toughness he shows, but once you hit your physical decline, your body just cant do it anymore.
Beltre’s production has gone up recently, but his numbers are somewhat skewed due to his years playing for the Seattle Mariners in the pitcher paradise that is Safeco Field. Not only did he play multiple years in Seattle, but he went from Seattle to Boston (a pretty nice hitters park), and then to one of the best hitters parks in the game in Texas.
Though his production has gone up, Beltre is in his decline physically and his numbers will show it soon. He is the best possible mentor for a prospect like Olt, and that is the role I see him in with this organization starting in 2014 or 2015.