For the fifth time in seven years the Texas Rangers reached the MLB postseason in 2016, winning the AL West Division for the fourth time in that stretch and the second consecutive season.
The club received strong performances from a number of players in order to take the AL West crown, including from second baseman Rougned Odor, center fielder Ian Desmond, first baseman Mitch Moreland, rookie right fielder Nomar Mazara, and trade acquisitions Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran.
On the mound, lefty Cole Hamels led the rotation and young Martin Perez provided major innings, while Sam Dyson took over as the closer and had a strong season.
But the Texas Rangers Player of the Year in the 2016 season is the oldest of the position players who appeared with the team for the entire season. That player is third baseman and future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre.
Beltre appeared in 153 games, making 640 plate appearances. He produced 175 hits and scored 89 runs. His 64 extra-base hits included 31 doubles and 32 home runs. Beltre knocked in a team-high 104, and hit for a .300/.358/.521 slash line.
The 4x AL All-Star and 4x Silver Slugger Award winner took home more hardware for his work this season. Just this past week, Beltre won his 3rd career AL Gold Glove Award at the hot corner.
Turning 38 years old just as the 2017 season gets underway, Beltre is signed at $18 million for each of the next two seasons. Now he will try to make history next season.
As Evan Grant at Dallas News SportsDay wrote: “no player who spent the majority of his season at third base has ever hit more than 20 homers at the age of 38, according to baseball-reference.com. Graig Nettles hit 20 at 38 in 1983 and 20 more at 39 in 1984. The question here is whether Beltre can be the outlier in major league history and go where no third baseman his age has gone before.”
No one should bet against Beltre, a future first ballot Baseball Hall of Famer, when he takes the field next year. But no matter what he produces then, for now he is the Rangers Player of the Year in 2016.