Before the All-Star break, Carlos Beltran looked every bit a 37-year-old outfielder on the downside of his career. He hit .195/.256/.378 in June, went 4-22 in his first 6 July games, then fouled a ball off his own face in BP and missed a week of games leading up to the break.
In hindsight, that freak accident might have actually been the best thing for Beltran. Between the 7-day concussion DL trip and the 4 days off for the ASB, Beltran got 11 days off. That was 11 days to let his facial cuts heal, 11 days to rest his troublesome right elbow, and 11 days without the general wear and tear that comes with playing professional baseball every day, even as a full-time DH. That’s a pretty solid chunk of time off for a late-30s veteran with the mileage on his body that Beltran has, and the early small sample size results at the plate since the break indicate that it might have been just what the doctor ordered.
In the 10 games since the ASB, Beltran has gone 11-35 (.314 BA) with 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R scored, and 4 BB. He even stole a base on July 18th against the Reds, his first since April 25th and his second of the season. Combined with his less stellar numbers from earlier in the month, Beltran is hitting .263/.333/.491 in July with power output similar to what he did in April and K and BB rates that are better than anything he’s posted in any other month. He’s hitting the ball to all fields (see below) and showing pop from both sides of the plate, something that’s been missing from his game for most of the season.
This rebound and boost in production has come at the perfect time for the Yankees, as they’re still managing Mark Teixeira‘s injuries and Brian McCann‘s inconsistency in the middle of the lineup. Beltran has filled in admirably for Teix in the cleanup spot lately and inspired some confidence that he could return to the outfield soon by resuming a pregame throwing program. This positive momentum could come to a screeching halt at any moment if another physical problem comes up, but for the time being Beltran is looking like the hitter he was in April and the hitter the Yankees thought they were getting when they signed him.