Former New York Mets center field Carlos Beltran is known by most fans for striking out looking at that curveball with the bases loaded from St. Louis Cardinals Adam Wainwright to lose game 7 of the NLCS in 2006. Is it fair to have one moment define a career? As a result of that ending, many forget how great Beltran was with the Mets. What Beltran did shouldn't be overlooked because of one moment. It's not like Adam Wainwright is someone that happened to get lucky. That curveball is still one of the best pitches in baseball. It's gone on to carry him to a career that is now closing in on 200 wins.
Before that strikeout, Beltran was known as a great postseason performer. In his previous postseason in 2004, he tied the record for the most home runs in a postseason with eight. In 2006 it was his first time in the postseason with the Mets. They swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. They had 13 more wins than the Cardinals, and they were never supposed to lose that series.
Beltran was not the reason they lost that series. Beltran hit three home runs with four RBI and an OPS of .1,069 against the Cardinals. The Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers in five games. 2006 should've resulted in a World Series for the Mets. If the Mets had won it all Beltran's legacy would look much different today. 2006 was his standout season and he played with them from 2005-2011. Beltran has now become the most underrated Met of all-time.
2006 Carlos Beltran had a historic Mets season
Beltran led the team with a WAR of 8.2 and the second highest was Jose Reyes at 5.9. Beltran also led the team with 41 home runs, 116 RBI, 127 runs and an OPS of .982. His OPS+ of 150 was off the charts. He was awarded a silver slugger and was an All-Star game starter. On defense, he saved 13 runs and won a gold glove in center field. Beltran was so good he finished 4th in the NL MVP. He helped lead the Mets to the best record in the National League. They were far and away from the most dominant National League team that year. They had nearly a 10 game lead on the second-best team.
In 2007 he followed it up with his third straight all-star game, second silver slugger and gold glove. He had 33 home runs with 112 RBI and an OPS of .878. He also had 23 stolen bases. Unfortunately, his good season was washed away with an epic Mets collapse. They were in first place with a seven-game lead with 17 games left to play in the NL East and missed the postseason when the Philadelphia Phillies caught them.
In 2008 he had another solid season stealing his most bases with the team (25) and saving the most runs in the center field (17). He made it three straight seasons with a gold glove award. Again his stellar season went under the radar because the Mets didn't make the postseason. During these three years, he averaged 34 home runs, 112 RBI, 22 SB with an OPS over .900. From 2006-2008 the was one of the best players in MLB. During that period he had a WAR of over 20. That three-year stretch rivals any of the Mets' all-time great hitters.
End of Mets tenure and place in their history
In 2009 he was selected to his 4th all-star game as a Met. Although, he was unable to play due to a knee injury. His season was over after just 81 games. This knee injury caused him to be out for over a year since he didn't return until July 15th, 2010. He underwent knee surgery. This caused a lot of controversies because it wasn't approved by the Mets team doctors. In 2011 he was back to his old self and earned his 5th all-star game nod. He hit 15 home runs and 66 RBI, and an OPS over .900 in just under 100 games. He was on a contract year and was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Zack Wheeler.
During his Mets career, he ranked top 10 in several offensive categories. He is 3rd with a WAR of 31 amongst position players. He is 5th with an OPS of .869 and 8th with 551 runs scored. He is 6th with 149 home runs and 559 RBI. He is 11th with 100 stolen bases, 14th with a 280 batting average. Considering all of this, where does Beltran rank among the all-time Met greats?