Nowadays when you ask about whom are the best players in the Major Leagues the fastest response are Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez. Just check out as an example all those fantasy baseball magazines around.
After the Cardinals and Marlins All-Stars, then the question is who’s third? If you ask most of those called experts among this season media the response is a fast-track one too, the name most bring up is Carlos Beltran. By the way, check some of those same magazines because they agreed too.
In Mets land the Manati native is not mentioned, as it should be. Although every year his numbers are comparable to those compiled by teammates Carlos Delgado and David Wright, he does not receive as much attention as they have. He is neither popular of autograph seekers like Jose Reyes or Johan Santana.
Long time ago General Manager Omar Minaya called him on the record the quietest leader you can have in a team. Beltran did not accept neither rejects the accolade. The 12th season veteran knows he himself is a quiet and reserved man. Even though he is being the best-paid Met this season, his $19 million salary does not make him an unostentatious and unpretentious guy.
For Beltran his numbers are the one who speaks for himself. And this season is no exemption. At present his bat is one of the team best in this young season for average and power numbers and his defense is turning as another in his resume.
Because his name tends to be forgotten the four-time All-Star have been a Gold Glove winner the last three seasons. Many thinks he should have won last year for the third straight the Silver Slugger Award. Moreover, last season for the third straight season he batted again over 25 dingers and over 100 RBI’s.
And many of the principal media outlets wrote him at the end of the 2008 season in their season’ All-Star Team.
For Beltran, who’s going to be 32 upcoming April 24th, he pointed us his job is to produce and not to be in a popularity contest. He knows long gone is his 1999 American League Rookie of the Year Award and this season he would like to prove he can be a league awardees again. As MVP. The closest he was to that honor was in fourth place in the voting in 2006.
He also would like to finally get his team to the next level. As in October be in the World Series. And his mission is to have a record-breaking post-season like he did have in 2004 for the Houston Astros. Still, as an amazing performance not repeated it yet. Of course, he expects his New York squad will not choke again as in the past two seasons in September.
For Beltran it is a matter he wants to demonstrate he can. And many, including his buddy and teammate Carlos Delgado agree he can. According to Delgado, if Beltran plays with the same passion and heart he played last March for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic he can be this year Mets MVP. And those are big words from one that quietly is compiling numbers for hall of fame monitoring.
It is true it is only April but watch out for the quiet Beltran to do a lot of noise. After all, the considered five-tool player quietly wants to demonstrate he can be the best.
This column was also published as a special for The Puerto Rico Daily News / MLB Commentary