NY Mets Mount Rushmore of Puerto Rican position players
1) Outfielder Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran could be considered the greatest Puerto Rican player in Mets history, and certainly a top ten player overall after he wrapped up his six and a half seasons in Queens. When the Mets signed Beltran, a Mantí native, to a seven-year $119 million contract prior to the 2005 season, it became the largest contract in franchise history and he helped usher in the beginning of a new era in Mets baseball.
During Beltran’s time with the Mets, he was a three-time Gold Glove Award Winner, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and a five-time All-Star. Beltran also produced a career .280/.369/.500 batting line over the course of his Mets career with a .869 OPS. The numbers simply speak for themself with how remarkable Beltran was at the plate.
When looking at the Mets all-time leaderboard Beltran ranks third in WAR among position players with a 31.1 WAR, only behind Darryl Strawberry and David Wright respectfully. Beltran also ranks sixth in Mets history with 149 career home runs as well as sixth in total RBI’s in a Mets uniform with 559. Offensively Beltran ranks among the top ten in nearly every offensive category in franchise history.
It can be argued that Beltran was the best defensive center fielder in franchise history. It was truly remarkable to watch how much ground he could cover in centerfield while effortlessly gliding and making tough plays look routine. Beltran also owns the seventh-best defensive WAR in franchise history with a 4.4 WAR.
During his time with the Mets Beltran also began the construction of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in 2009, which was a high school built for young athletes in Puerto Rico. Beltran had donated over $4 million of his own salary to help construct this facility. Today that academy could be considered the best academy on the island of Puerto Rico in terms of developing baseball talent as well as young men.
While there were certainly highs and lows with Beltran over the course of his Mets career, I’m sure striking out looking in game seven of the NLCS in 2016 still resonates with most, he was a generational talent for the organization. The Mets have been unable to find a center fielder close to what Beltran was for the Mets from 2005-2011 which cements his spot on our Mount Rushmore.