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Controversial Prospect: Engel Beltre

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The Rangers picked up Engel Beltre from the Red Sox in the Eric Gagne deal. He has excellent tools, there is no doubt about this. And he's young, born November 1, 1989.

I got some flack for rating him as a Grade C prospect in the book. Looking at it, I can see a case for Grade C+, given his strong scouting reports. But no higher than that at this point, not with these kind of performance numbers. He hit .208/.310/.400 with 44 strikeouts in 34 games for the GCL Red Sox. He then hit .310/.388/.583 in 22 games for the AZL Rangers after the trade, followed by .211/.250/.211 in nine games for Spokane. All told he hit a combined .243/.329/.433 in 65 games last year.

Near as I can tell, people are drooling over him because of the 22 games of hot hitting in the Arizona Rookie League, but are ignoring the 43 games of mediocre-to-poor hitting at the other two stops.

As stated, I can see him as a Grade C+. He's young, he's got a lot of power, and scouts like him. But his strike zone judgment is poor, his strikeout rate is very high, and even the scouts say he's raw.

It's too late to change the grade for the book, but I want to be more out of Beltre before buying into all the hype of him as a future star. He could turn into a star. But he could also flame out against advanced pitching, and I haven't seen enough to decide which is more likely. Thus the grade.