April 20, 2012: Pittsburgh, PA, USA: St. Louis Cardinals Carlos Beltran drives a base hit into center field to score Lance Lynn (not pictured) to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory credit: Vincent Pugliese-US PRESSWIRE

Cardinals Carlos Beltran sitting out against Pirates

In the offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran, who played himself into the position to receive a high-priced free agent deal. The balky-kneed OF had a disappointing 2010 season, and many believed that his career was over.

However, Beltran was worth 4.7 WAR last season and tore it up for the New York Mets before ending off the season on a lower note with the San Francisco Giants (minor injuries also played a role in that). Still, he had an outstanding 151 wRC+ and was once again regarded as one of the best hitters in baseball.

This season, Carlos Beltran has been off to another tremendous start and has been playing a key role in the Cardinals offense. When trying to find a way to add another bat to help mitigate the loss of Albert Pujols, the Cards finally decided on signing Beltran.

He has been worth 1.3 WAR this season with an early 165 wRC+ through 23 games and 103 plate appearances. He is getting on base at a .398 clip, and the ZiPS projection has him as a 4.5 WAR player this year after previously rating him as a 3.2 WAR outfielder.

Last night, he went off in a 4 for 5 game with two home runs and a monstrous total of seven RBIs to bring his steaks total to 18 this year. In fact, his projected RBI total is up by 18 from the beginning of the season (up from 54 to 72). Beltran did an incredible job and will take the night off against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

One of the reasons for this is the great night, with the other being that Beltran has played in 17 games without a rest. The right fielder always struggles with injuries, and the Cardinals need to be cautious. It is a wise decision to rest him for Shane Robinson, and we’ll see if the Cardinals can sweep the Pirates after clinching the three-game set on Wednesday.

For those of you interested, Robinson is off to a scorching start in just 36 PAs and is a steady, underrated backup who is projected to be worth 1.4 WAR by ZiPS.

Be sure to check out all of Call to the Pen’s transaction breakdowns for the 2011-12 offseason. You can follow Call to the Pen on Twitter at @FSCalltothePen or like us here on Facebook.

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Tags: Albert Pujols Carlos Beltran New York Mets Pittsburgh Pirates San Francisco Giants Shane Robinson St Louis Cardinals

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