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Beloved MLB third baseman will be nearly-unanimous Hall of Famer

Adrián Beltré is going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2024 without breaking a sweat.

The third baseman finished his 21-year career with 3,166 hits, 477 home runs and five Gold Glove awards and is tracking at 98.9% support among Hall of Fame voters in his ballot debut.

It’s tough to remember now, but Beltré’s career once looked like one of unfulfilled potential. After debuting as a 19-year-old with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998, Beltré had a pedestrian .779 OPS through his first 12 seasons.

That all changed in 2010, when Beltré turned a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox into a springboard to greatness, ultimately joining the Texas Rangers for the final eight seasons of his career. With the Rangers, Beltré became one of baseball’s top third basemen, hitting .304 with an .965 OPS, eventually the 31st member of the 3,000-hit club.

Here’s a look back at Beltré’s career:

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The case for Adrian Beltré

Beltré’s 93.5 career WAR ranks behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Matthews among third basemen in baseball history. His 27 defensive WAR is second all-time, trailing just Brooks Robinson, widely considered the best defensive third baseman to ever play the game. That mark is also the 15th-highest at any position.

From 2010-2018, Beltré’s 48.9 WAR was the fourth-highest in baseball. He received MVP votes every year from 2010-2016, including five top-10 finishes in those seven seasons.

The case against

Beltré nearly reached 500 home runs, but you might expect him to have put up better counting stats over his 21-year career, especially considering the era. That said, his 162-game average of 25 home runs beats out recent Hall of Fame inductee Scott Rolen.

Despite helping the Rangers get within a strike of a World Series title in 2011, Beltré doesn’t have much of a postseason resume. He hit .261 with 111 career playoff at-bats with a .297 OPS and only once played behind the division series.

Realistic outlook

Beltre is going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and it’s going to be nearly unanimous! He’s at 98.9% support in Ryan Thibodaux’s ballot tracker with about half of the estimated votes in.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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