Michael Beltre began the 2016 season with the Arizona League Reds, his second go around with the team. As a 19-year-old in 2015 he made his first trip stateside for the season and he had some struggles in 28 games. The outfielder hit .220/.273/.293 out in Arizona to go with five walks and 27 strikeouts over 88 plate appearances. Despite the tough season in 2015, I still noted that he may have been the top prospect on the teams roster heading into the start of the season. His return to Arizona got started in the right kind of way. He went 2-4 with two triples in the first game of the season, He followed that up with seven more hits over the next three games.
While he’s obviously slowed down from that pace, the recently turned 21-year-old outfielder (this is still considered his “age 20” season for baseball purposes) hasn’t let up. He played 29 games with the Arizona League Reds this year, posting a .292/.380/.443 line to go along with four doubles and six triples. From the 2015 season to the 2016 season there were big improvements while spent with the Reds out in Goodyear. Let’s take a quick look at the two seasons.
Clearly the average, on-base percentage and slugging are all up. That’s likely due to a much better approach at the plate. His walk rate is up significantly and he’s also cut down on his strikeout rate by 33% as well. More walks, more contact and more power is a good way to turn things around.
The strong turn around for Michael Beltre in Arizona earned him a promotion to the Billings Mustangs a week ago. In his first game with the Mustangs he would go 1-3 with a walk and a double. That was followed up by going 0-6 with a walk in the next two games. Last night he got things back on the right track and in a big way. The Dominican Republic native went 4-5 with a walk and a double. It’s only four games in total with the Mustangs, so looking at his stats with just the Billings squad is a bit pointless other than saying he’s out to a strong start. But, what that big night did was push his season line between the two stops to .300/.391/.450 with 14 walks, 26 strikeouts, six doubles, six triples and 11 stolen bases.