Like Joe Jackson emerging from the cornfield, Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran(notes) is about to return to baseball, decades after his death. Or something. So powerful is the tide of our national game. It will repair our losses, unbruise our bones.
Beltran is expected to hit cleanup for New York on Thursday. He'll play with a knee brace that will limit his range of motion, and he reportedly isn't sure how many starts he'll make each week. But he's back from the disabled list. If you've been patiently waiting for Carlos all season, this is good news.
Here's the bad news: It doesn't seem reasonable to expect many steals from Beltran, and that category has always been a key to his fantasy value. (And his real-life value. He has the highest stolen base success rate of any player with more than 300 career attempts). Beltran hit .367/.439/.469 during his recently completed minor league rehab stint, but he didn't homer and he never tried to swipe a bag. If he's not running for the Mets, then he's just a .280-something hitter with good-not-great power.
He can still be plenty useful — you love the lineup position, obviously — but he's not likely to be vintage Beltran. He's the most obvious trade chip in our game. Beltran will be a high-maintenance outfielder for fantasy purposes, because he'll receive a few unannounced off-days. (These will be on-days for Jeff Francoeur(notes)). I own Carlos on just one team, in a head-to-head league where he's staying on the DL until I absolutely need to make an add/drop. Trade proposals are forthcoming.
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