It's yet another case of the Yankees landing a powerful left-handed bat, one who can take aim at Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch, because yes, despite his switch-hitter status, Beltran's skills from the right side of the plate have begun to erode. From the left side, however, he was a .315/.362/.509 hitter last season.
While Beltran, at least as a left-handed hitter, does possess power to all fields, let's not understate the benefit of his change of venues. Of his 53 home runs as a lefty the past three seasons combined, 45 were hit to right field, 36 of those to "far right" (the farthest 20 percent of the field working left from the right-field foul line). Overall, he pulled the ball 47.5 percent of the time he put it into play, the 17th-highest rate of 185 qualified left-handed hitters from 2011-13. Beltran might stand an excellent chance at 15-20 homers simply as a lefty.
But Beltran also possesses power from the right side; he hit seven home runs with .196 isolated power as a righty in 2013 alone. That's a plus for a Yankee who is one of their few who can switch sides to maximize the platoon advantage, and with left field also reachable at Yankee Stadium, he might stand an excellent chance at another 7-10 homers from that side, as well.
Chances are, the now-36-year-old Beltran's career decline phase might now slow, even if only for another year or two, in pinstripes. Assuming he can stay healthy -- he has missed 48 games combined the past three seasons -- there's no reason he can't hit at least 25 home runs, even if his batting average settles at close to .275. And even with his speed in clear decline, the Yankees were an aggressive bunch on the base paths in 2013 and might continue to be so in the post-Cano era, meaning Beltran could chip in enough speed to assure that he doesn't plummet precipitously from his No. 58 standing on the 2013 Player Rater.
Initially my No. 134 overall player and No. 31 outfielder, Beltran improves to 126th (but still 31st among outfielders) with the move to New York.
The fallout on other Yankees hitters, though, is just as interesting. How will the lineup shape up? A smart order might run Brett Gardner-Carlos Beltran-Jacoby Ellsbury-Alex Rodriguez-Mark Teixeira against right-handers, and Derek Jeter-Gardner-Teixeira-Rodriguez-Alfonso Soriano against left-handers, though Jeter is almost assured of occupying either of the top two spots every night he's healthy.
Many of these parts are interchangeable; Beltran's history of high on-base percentages, however, makes him a good bet to bat in the upper third, and Ellsbury's contract might also grant him a place up there against righties. Checking early-spring Yankees lineups might be critical to determining these players' values in 2014 drafts, because it's all guesswork for now.
And how does the Yankees' outfield line up, especially being crowded as it is? Will Gardner be traded, perhaps to a place where his fantasy value would drop? A good bet today is that Gardner will start in left field, Ellsbury in center field and Beltran in right field, with Soriano handling DH duties and Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells around to absorb the remaining at-bats. Still, Beltran is yet another Yankee who might need DH time at his age, so he's another name to toss onto the pile of "might lose a small handful of PAs" players in pinstripes.
Whatever the result, don't get your hopes up that Soriano might return to second base, a possibility which might garner some whispers in the coming days. He hasn't started a game there since 2005 and hasn't played an inning there since 2009, so while such a move would boost his fantasy value -- second base is terribly thin in fantasy terms -- it's a long shot.