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« Carp Inside and Out | Main | Rangers Add Mike Gonzalez »
Thursday
Sep012011

Carlos Beltran's West Coast Hacking

Seeking to upgrade a wheezing offense and hold off the Diamondbacks in the NL West standings, the Giants acquired Carlos Beltran from the Mets in late July. San Francisco paid a dear price for the switch-hitter's services, parting with top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, but Beltran's impact bat figured to boost the Giants' chances of another playoff payday.

A little more than a month later, San Francisco now sits six games back of the D-Backs. And while Beltran batted .289 with a .391 OBP and a .513 slugging percentage in Queens, he has fallen victim to the Giants' team wide, Captain Trips-like offensive malaise. In 80 plate appearances, he's hitting just .260/.288/.377.

With 25 games left on the schedule, the Giants face a large, though not insurmountable deficit in the standings -- Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds give the club less than a one-in-five chance of clinching a playoff spot. If San Francisco is to have any chance of catching Arizona, they'll need Beltran to re-discover the plate patience that he seemingly left on the East Coast.

Beltran has drawn just three walks with the Giants. That's 3.8 percent of his plate appearances, compared to a 14.3 percent walk rate while with the Mets. Nearly three-quarters of his PA with his new team have come from the left side of the plate, and he's chasing lots of pitches thrown high out of the zone:

Beltran's swing rate by pitch location as LHB with Giants

As a right-handed hitter, he's going after pitches thrown inside:

Beltran's swing rate by pitch location as RHB with GiantsOverall, Beltran has chased 38 percent of pitches thrown out of the zone since his trade to San Francisco. To put that in perspective, that chase rate is in Yuniesky Betancourt/Alex Gonzalez territory and is a full 10 percentage points above the league average. Who knows, maybe Beltran started taking swing tips from Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand.

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