Carlos Beltran is unstoppable

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Having spent most of his career with the Royals and Mets, Carlos Beltran hasn’t gotten to play in may postseasons. In fact, this is just his third in 15 major league seasons. However, he’s certainly made the most of his limited October action.

Beltran went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two walks in Friday’s Game 5 victory, giving him this ridiculous career postseason line: .375/.488/.817 with 13 homers in 104 at-bats. He’s scored 37 times, knocked in 23 runs and gone 9-for-9 stealing bases in 28 games. His K/BB ratio in 15/23.

Of course, Beltran has been a fine regular-season player too, going to seven All-Star Games and amassing three 30-homer seasons. Still, no one compares in the postseason. Beltran has the highest on-base percentage and slugging percentage of anyone with at least 60 plate appearances in the postseason. You may have heard of the two guys right behind him on the OPS list: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

In order to get Hall of Fame consideration, Beltran will probably need to play for a world champion before he’s all done. Otherwise, his postseason numbers may not be taken all that seriously. Currently 35, he still has a pretty good shot at 400 homers (334 now) and 1,500 RBI (1,243 now). His career .282/.360/.496 line pales in comparison to fellow Hall of Fame long shots Larry Walker and Lance Berkman, but Beltran was a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder for most of his first 10 seasons and it should be factored in that he spent the bulk of his career in pitcher’s parks. It’d be crazy to dismiss him.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.