After a breakout season in 2016 in Billings, the 2017 season was a big step backwards for Michael Beltre. In 117 games he hit just .238/.323/.324 for the Dayton Dragons during the year. He showed flashes at times, but struggled to find consistency throughout the season.
The 2018 season began in the same place that the 2017 season ended: Dayton. But it didn’t start immediately. Michael Beltre joined the Dragons on April 17th, nearly two weeks after the season began. In his first two days he went 0-4 with three walks. After that he racked up hits in nine of the next ten games with six more walks to round out the month. Over his 12 games played he hit .325/.449/.400 with nine walks and ten strikeouts in 50 plate appearances. He also stole four bases in five attempts.
To say that May got out to a strong start for Michael Beltre would be an understatement. Over his first six games he went 11-25 (.440) with four extra-base hits and six walks. His OPS in that span was 1.348 and he added in three steals for good measure. The Dragons outfielder went 0-9 in the next three games, but picked up from there, hitting .444 the rest of the week. The second half of the month, though, was a bit more of a struggle. He went 14-55 (.255) with eight walks and five extra-base hits in the final 17 games of the month. Over the 30 games played in May, Beltre hit .308 and slugged .467. Thanks to 18 walks with just 23 strikeouts in 129 plate appearances he posted a .414 on-base percentage. He also added another eight steals, giving him 12 on the season in 13 attempts.
June didn’t start out well for Michael Beltre. In what wound up being his final week in Dayton, he hit .167, going 3-18 with a triple and a home run. He was promoted to Daytona to join the Tortugas on the 8th. The struggles continued over the rest of the month in the Florida State League. The hits didn’t come – he hit just .234 in 13 games. But he walked as often as he struck out in that span. June would go down as his worth month, by far. In 18 games he hit just .215/.307/.292 with nine walks and 11 strikeouts. The outfielder added three more steals, giving him 15 on the season.
July was a tale of two halves. In the first 11 games of the month, Michael Beltre hit .241/.405/.379. He walked eight times and had nine strikeouts, but the hits didn’t find the grass often. In the final nine games of the month – he missed eight days near the end of the month – the 23-year-old hit .417/.488/.556 with a double and two triples. He also walked five times with just five strikeouts in that span.
The first week of August was solid, but unspectacular for Michael Beltre. He went 6-23 (.261) with four walks and two extra-base hits over six games. In the second week the hits didn’t come in bunches, Beltre hit just .250. The power, however, showed up. All four of his hits went for extra-bases as he slugged .688 during the week. A big slump followed for the outfielder, who went 1-12 with six walks the following week. The final eight games didn’t go much better as he hit just .200, but again walked a lot – eight times. In the 25 games during the month he hit just .211, but his 20 walks gave him a .375 on-base percentage to go along with a .342 slugging percentage.
For all 2018 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Michael Beltre Spray Chart
As a Right-Handed Hitter
As a Left-Handed Hitter
Michael Beltre Scouting Report
Hitting | As a switch hitter he’s certainly shown a stronger side over the years. He’s much better from the left side than the right. His speed helps him leg out some infield hits. His swing, however, doesn’t quite play up. He’s a below-average hitter who could use his speed to get a touch better out of the tool.
Power | This is the most intriguing tool for Michael Beltre. His game power simply doesn’t play. But he’s got above-average raw power. His swing simply isn’t conducive to lifting the ball and keeps him from tapping into his power.
Speed | He’s an above-average to plus runner who can use it well on the bases and in the field.
Defense | He’s better as a corner guy than as a center fielder, but can handle center field.
Arm | He shows off a solid arm that can play anywhere in the outfield.
When you see Michael Beltre he hits all of the check marks. He’s a big, physical guy with athleticism. Listed at 6’3″ and 220 lbs, he moves very well. He’s got plenty of tools, too. He can run, he can throw, he can hit the ball hard and far. And he’s also got a strong grasp of the strikezone, which allows him to post strong on-base numbers thanks to plenty of walks and a solid amount of contact.
But, there’s some weaknesses in his game, too. His swing is one that could use some work. While he’s got good raw power, his ground ball rate nearing 60% simply negates it and then some. He’s built like Mike Trout, but he slugs like Billy Hamilton. Because of this combination, Michael Beltre remains one of the more tantalizing players in the system.
When it comes to getting to his power, two things may help Beltre. The first would be getting the ball in the air more. The other could be to try and pull the ball a little more. From both the left and right sides of the plate he went to the opposite field quite a bit more than he pulled the ball. Tapping into his power could be a game changer, and it’s what is tantalizing about his game. At the same time, he will turn 24 in July and he’s yet to see a pitch in Double-A.
The combination of his plate approach, speed, and defense, could eventually carve out a role as a 4th/5th outfielder with some versatility on the bench. But if he’s going to have a chance to be a starter down the road at some point he’ll need to tap into his power more frequently than he does currently.
Longest Home Run of 2018
391 Feet on June 3rd.
Interesting Stat on Michael Beltre
He hasn’t homered as a right-handed hitter in the last two seasons, spanning 218 plate appearances.
Disclaimer: Michael Beltre was an addition to the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List after a trade opened up two spots on the list in late December. He was not initially on the list when it was released the final week of October.