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Carlos Beltran has the highest OPS in playoff history, ahead of Ruth and Gehrig

Oct 4, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Carlos Beltran AP

I wrote basically this same thing last October, but after another Carlos Beltran playoff homer last night it’s probably time for an update.

Beltran is now a career .357 hitter with 15 homers, 10 doubles, and 25 walks in 35 playoff games, which is good for a 1.244 OPS that’s the highest in baseball history among players with at least 100 postseason plate appearances:

Babe Ruth          1.211
Lou Gehrig         1.208

Beltran also has the highest playoff slugging percentage of all time, also ahead of Ruth and Gehrig. This is the eighth playoff series of Beltran’s career and he has an OPS above .950 in six of them and an OPS above 1.400 in three of them. What a stud.

  1. The Dangerous Mabry - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    And yet all the citizens of Queens recall about him was watching strike three.

    I mean, maybe that doesn’t bother him and his millions and his storied career, but it’s just not fair.

    • sdelmonte - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      I say this again: I loved him as a Met. He played hard and played well and gave the Mets his all. The fans who booed him out of town were twits, and I would love to have him back.

      • slaytan69 - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        Beltran wasn’t boo’ed out of town; he was traded out because the Mets had absolutely no money. Madoff really did a number on the Mets and Minaya’s spending wasn’t helping.

        At least the Mets got Zack Wheeler out of that trade.

    • cohnjusack - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      He posted a 1.054 OPS with 3 home runs in that series and 8 runs scored in that series.

      But yeah…he’s to blame. Not the other Mets who could only manage one run of Jeff Suppan in 2 games. Or Aaron Heilmann who gave up the 9th inning home run to then god-awful hitter Yadier Molina (he hit .216 with a .595 OPS!). It the fault of the guy who was really, really awesome the entire series.

    • Paul Zummo - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      I think by the end of his career in Flushing most Met fans had come around. Remember, a lot of fans soured on him in his first year in 2005, which was a bit of a so-so year by his standards. He was basically the MVP of the 2006 team, and they wouldn’t have even reached a game 7 without his production, but you still had fans that resented him and the contract, so he was an easy target. But by the time he was traded most of the fanbase appreciated what a great player he was, even if a few of the most thick-headed preferred to #blameBeltran for all that was wrong with the organization and continued to harp on that one single at bat.

  2. stanleyfrankmusial - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    I sure hope the Cards can squeeze another season out of those knees. Beltran’s bird in the hand is worth two Oscar Taveras in the bush (leagues). Is Oscar going to patrol the OF for years to come? Here’s hoping. But all that missed time due to the ankle + whispers about his hustle tells me he could use another year of seasoning.

  3. jarathen - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    He has 45 postseason hits. 25 of them are for extra bases. I know it’s a terribly small sample size, but historically, a safe Carlos Beltran is less likely to stop at first base than keep on going.

    When his time comes up, it will the postseason, I think, that determines if he winds up in Cooperstown.

    Also his ridiculous SB%.

  4. spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Resign Beltran.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      Why should he resign? He’s playing great…who is he, Nixon?

      • spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Oh no, a hyphenated faux pas.

    • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      Always better to let a guy go a year too early than to keep him around a year too long. Between Craig and Adams, they have guys to fill all of their corner spots already…and Tavares should be ready soon. I wouldn’t mind at all if they keep him is the deal is short and not crazy expensive. A QO is probably a no doubter….if he takes it, that is some pretty solid insurance. The only problem with Carlos is that his defense in RF is 12 kinds of horrible…no range at all, turning outs into singles and singles into doubles.

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        I agree. Craig in RF and Adams at 1B. My concern is more with CF than the corners – Jay has been kind of on-again-off-again, and Taveras will be a huge step down defensively if he makes the team next year.

      • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Yeah…there just aren’t many CFers out there that can hit at all and play good D….right now, there is a real shortage of up-the-middle all around players, CF, SS, and C are all really thin at the MLB level right now.

      • spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        But there is no reason for an either/or scenario. With Westbrook and Carpenter coming off the books the Cards have money to burn. If they let Beltran go they are going to be in Rays territory in salary.

        Yeah, they wouldn’t get the draft choice, that Beltran would afford them. But they aren’t exactly hurting for young talent. With Beltran’s balky knees, Craig’s slow-healing issues, and Tavares’ inexperience, the St. Louis management can have their cake and eat it too, without breaking the continually increasing bank.

      • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        I agree. It just depends on what kind of deal he is looking for. If they give him a QO, that will really kill his market if he declines it. A 1 yr deal at $14M (the likely QO amount) or a 2 year $20M deal or something like that seems fine, especially if he understands that his role won’t necessarily be as a full time starter.

        The Cardinals don’t have a truck load of big bats in the system. After Tavares, Piscotty is probably next.

      • spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Yeah, and from what I hear, not everybody is on board with Tavares being major league ready.

        Maybe Yadi, and/or play-off success can coax him into returning for less money.

      • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        Beltran has already made his money. He took less money from the Cardinals than other teams were offering in the first deal…I don’t think he’ll be all about the $$ this time either.

        I’m dubious of any local writer claims…especially the old codger variety…when guys keep using a 20 yr old getting caught drinking beer in a hotel room with his 21+ yr old team mates as evidence of immaturity, then those guys don’t have opinions worth listening to…they are just grinding the same axes as always.

      • spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        I wan’t referring to Taveras off-field, and could care less about a few beers with his buddies. What I meant was that he was somewhat deficient in his knowledge of the game.

      • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        Ah, I haven’t seen any of that….defense wouldn’t seem to be an issue, considering that there is about a 0% chance he could be worse than Beltran out there….I don’t blame Beltran for not going all out, I appreciate that he is trying to save himself to stay healthy all year, but Tavares would have to be better in that regard…he was good enough that they have played him in CF a lot….if a guy is ready to contribute, he can learn the rest of it at the MLB level….the Cards seem to have some solid mlb coaches and a great developmental staff.

  5. blues1988 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Jenifer Langosch ‏@LangoschMLB 3m

    Indeed, Wacha will be #STLCards starter if a game four is necessary. Miller to bullpen.

    next articl: joe kelly and michael wacha to start game 3 and 4, sheby miller to the bullpen.

  6. esracerx46 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Isnt 35 games a relatively small sample size compared to Ruth or Gehrig?

    • Detroit Michael - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      No, it isn’t. As of right now: Ruth – 41 post-season games, Beltran – 35 post-season games, Gehrig – 34 post-season games. Sample size is about the same for all three players.

      • allsport1980 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        Beltran is a bad man in the postseason but playing in a Division Series, League Championship Series, then World Series is a little different than just playing in a World Series like Ruth and Gehrig. Ruth and Gehrig faced a teams top starter more often in the one series they played then say Beltran who is facing a teams #3 starter at least 1 time in each series.

      • mortymcfearson - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Beltran faces more specialized relief than in the good ole days.

      • Reflex - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        There are many more teams today. Players come from around the world. Beltran has to compete with players of all races, not just white players. Better specialization, better training, etc etc.

        Baseball today is tougher than it was in Ruth’s day. I still think he’d be a superstar today though.

    • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      Beltran has the same number of post season at-bats as Ruth did (129).

    • sdelmonte - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      As of today, Ruth and Beltran each have the same number of at-bats in the postseason, 129. Don’t forget that Ruth appeared in far fewer playoff games.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      Not at all. Check out Carlos’ postseason AB’s compared to Babe’s.

  7. ptfu - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Carlos Beltran has an interesting case for the Hall of Fame. Stats like this are the cherry on top and could push a few voters from no to yes. Finishing ahead of Ruth and Gehrig puts Beltran in a great light.

    • cohnjusack - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      1. Carlos Beltran will not get in, not via the writers anyway.

      2. Carlos Beltran almost certainly belongs in the hall.

      There are several things conspiring against him:
      1. He was a guy who did a lot of things well but never lead the league in anything. These guys get less attention than people who are great at hitting homers, etc

      2. Voters still haven’t figured out that center field is pretty far off on the defensive spectrum from corner outfield positions. It is a much more demanding position that requires a much greater degree of fielding ability to be acceptable there. As it stands, Beltran was arguably the best center fielder of the decade (Edmonds was a better hitter but didn’t play as long in the decade, probably even as fielders and Beltran was a ridiculous basestealer).

      3. Voters tend to look at stolen bases…but not how often they were caught. Beltran has stolen 308 bases and been caught just 48 times in his career. With a minimum of 200 SB, that is the greatest mark of all time.

      4. He dominated in the postseason, but never won a World Series. That’s obviously not his fault, but voters will ignore him for this reason anyway.

      5. He was seen as a disappointment with the Mets (despite putting up 3 great seasons). Again, this will be unfairly used against him.

      6. He played part of his career in the steroid-era, so he’s obviously guilty of not protecting the sanctity of baseball or some bullshit.

  8. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Hall of Fame! Hall of Fame!

    Say what hat will he don when enshrined?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      It is not likely, but I vote for Astros. I think that Sept/Oct run is really where he put himself on the map in most people’s minds.

    • TheMorningStar - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Thank you for not using the stupid, moronic ‘hall of very good’ comment.

      You good sir, are not a dummy.

  9. MLBlogsbig3bosox - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Playoff God.

  10. savior72 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Puljos who?

  11. kevjones75 - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    No doubt that Beltran is a stud, buth Ruth and Gehrig did it on the grandest stage…The World Series

    • TheMorningStar - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      Certainly true, but Ruth and Gehrig also didn’t have to deal with the hyper-scrutiny from TV, the internent, stupid fantasy bb fans, etc.

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