It would be tough for a season to start better than it did for Michael Beltre in 2016. In the first game of the year he went 2-4 with two triples. The next three games saw him go 7-14 with two doubles and another triple. In just eight game with the Arizona League Reds in June he would hit .353/.421/.588 with two doubles, three triples and a steal.
July began a bit slow for Beltre. He only played twice in the first week, going 2-8 with five strikeouts and a walk. In the second week he only saw action in three games, going 3-12 with a double and triple. Things picked up in the third week as he continued to be a triples machine. In six games he added two more triples and stole four bases. He went into a slump in the final six games of the month, hitting just .227 without any extra-base hits. For the month the switch hitter hit .250/.333/.359 with six walks and 17 strikeouts.
When the calendar flipped to August so did the production. In three games with the AZL Reds he hit .375/.545/.500. He was promoted to Billings after that stretch. Things started out slowly with the Mustangs, going 1-11 in the first three games. It picked up in the next week, going 8-18 (.444) with two doubles and two walks. The following week saw things slow down a tad, where he hit .238, but had a .333 on-base percentage and slugged .429. The final week of August saw Beltre catch fire, hitting .389/.542/.833 with five walks and just one strikeout in six games. He played four more games in September before the playoffs began. He went 4-18 (.267) with three doubles and three walks. Over the final five weeks of the season the then 21-year-old (he turned 21 during the season) posted a .315/.435/.528 line with more walks, 18, than strikeouts, 15.
The 2016 season was a breakout for Michael Beltre. He hit .299/.399/.481 between his two stops, and performed better at the higher of the two levels in which he played. He showed off good power, speed, and a good approach at the plate. Beltre hit well from both sides of the plate with an OPS over .875 from each side.
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Michael Beltre Scouting Report
Hitting | As a switch hitter he’s not facing any platoon disadvantages. He’s a bit of a pull hitter from both sides of the plate and in 2016 he was a big time groundball hitter, which let him use his speed. He makes good contact, and he hits the ball hard, but he probably projects for an average to slightly above-average hit tool.
Power | He’s got average to slightly above-average raw power to tap into. Right now he’s got more gap power, but he really started to show in game power during the season. There’s more power from the left side than the right side.
Running | He’s got plus speed that he’s able to use well in the field and on the bases.
Arm | He’s got a solid-average arm that will play enough in the corners if needed.
Defense | He’s able to handle center field today thanks to plus speed. If he loses a step as he matures he is likely to wind up in a corner spot where he should have strong range.
There’s a lot to like from Michael Beltre. He’s got a short, quick swing from both sides of the plate with some power to grow into. He’s got plenty of speed and he can use it well. He took a big step forward when it comes to pitch recognition in 2016 and it allowed his hitting tools to play for the first time as a professional. If he’s got to move to a corner spot, he’s going to have less value but could still have a well rounded game. As a center fielder he’s got the upside to be an above-average player if he’s able to remain there for the long haul.
As left handed hitter
As right handed hitter