ESPN's Matthew Berry — aka "The Talented Mr. Roto" — revealed his "bold predictions" for the 2010 baseball season. One such prediction was Adrian Beltre slamming 30 home runs.
Is such a prediction possible? Absolutely.
Beltre's eight home runs last year were largely an aberration borne out of three factors: his home park, his injuries and attrition.
His career slugging percentage in Safeco Park, home of the Seattle Mariners, is .408. He spent five years playing for the Mariners and boasts a career slugging percentage mark of .453, indicating that playing in Safeco robbed him of his power. This is nothing new, as Safeco is widely considered a park friendly to pitchers.
In his final year with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, before moving to Seattle, Beltre bashed a major league-leading 48 home runs. Even with Safeco working against him, he cranked 25, 26 and 25 home runs from 2005 to 2008, respectively. Simply moving from Safeco to a park friendlier to right-handed hitters will make all the difference in getting those five extra home runs to notch 30.
Looking at 2009 park factors, Safeco was the 24th toughest park to hit a home run in in 2009 with a 0.886 rating. (A park factor of 1.00 indicates the park favors neither hitters nor pitchers.) Fenway Park ranked 21, but with a .964 mark, a significant jump.
In addition, Fenway's overall park factor is influenced by the difficulty of left-handed hitters launching balls out of the park. While Ted Williams and David Ortiz haven't broken a sweat in swinging for the fences, overall, left-handed hitters struggle to go deep in Fenway even with the inviting Pesky's Pole.
Right-handers have more in their favor, with the Green Monster looming over them. A large reason for Mike Lowell's revival in Boston has to do with the Green Monster; Lowell has certainly enjoyed peppering doubles off the wall.
For all the talk of a lack of offense out of the starting nine, Beltre may be the one to step up and provide Boston with the 30-plus home runs that the team lost with the departure of Jason Bay.
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