ESPN Insider Matt Meyers has a piece on Adrian Beltre, arguing that the labels placed on Beltre throughout his career are unfounded and inaccurate. I agree with Matt's general assessment that Beltre has been a tremendously underrated and underappreciated player during his career. Matt points out that Beltre is 19th on Baseball-Reference.com's all-time WAR (wins abovement replacement) for third basemen (or 21st, depending on how you do your search).
Considering Beltre is 32 and coming off an excellent season, he should have more good years left and climb up that list, maybe close to the top 10. That would certainly seem to put him in the Hall of Fame discussion ... except: Except there is probably too little perception of Beltre as a Hall of Famer. Much of Beltre's value derives from his excellent defense. B-R rates him ninth all-time in runs saved among third basemen (behind, in case you want to know: Brooks Robinson, Buddy Bell, Robin Ventura, Clete Boyer, Scott Rolen, Graig Nettles, Mike Schmidt and Gary Gaetti). But Beltre also has 310 home runs and 1,113 RBIs. It's not too much of a stretch to see him topping 400 home runs and 1,500 RBIs ... and the only third basemen to do that are Schmidt and Chipper Jones. George Brett is the only other third baseman with 1,500 RBIs.
Still, Beltre will be facing an uphill battle, no matter where his career totals end up. But he's been a terrific player, even if he's flown under the radar much of his career.
Another must-read Insider piece: Experience matters in the postseason, right? Dan Szymborski went back to 1969 to study the issue and found ... that previous postseason experience is a nonfactor in determining which teams win playoff series.
The Phillies are up 2 to 1, but Bill Baer is concerned about the team's lack of plate discipline. With sometimes-wild Edwin Jackson going for St. Louis tonight, it will be interesting to see the Phillies' approach at the plate.
Orel Hershiser talks about the Yankees-Tigers series.
Via Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk, Tim McCarver needs minor surgery and Terry Francona will fill in for the first two games of the ALCS.
The Phillies had the highest local TV ratings this year. Last? The Dodgers had the lowest rating, the Nationals had the fewest number of households.
Finally, don't miss Jim Caple's Off Base column on the Rays, their poor fan support and their unhappy owner.