Beltre has a big fan in Scioscia

Beltre has a big fan in Scioscia

ARLINGTON -- The first time Angels manager Mike Scioscia saw the Rangers' Adrian Beltre play, Beltre was a 15-year-old in the Dominican Republic, while Scioscia was the Dodgers' Minor League catching instructor.

Scioscia then had a front-row seat to Beltre's rookie season, with the Dodgers in 1998, as the team's bench coach. He's watched Beltre play plenty of times since, as Beltre has spent 11 of the last 12 seasons playing in the American League West, with the Rangers and Mariners.

Although Scioscia has felt some of the negative effects when it comes to opposing Beltre, he said it's been a treat to be able to watch him play as consistently as he does.

"He's got a burning desire to play this game, you could see it when he was 15 years old," Scioscia said. "He's certainly found a home here in Texas. He's a special player and a special person. This guy has been the gold standard for third base for defense for a long time."

And when it comes to Beltre's future, Scioscia has no doubts.

"He's not a potential Hall of Famer, he is a Hall of Famer," he said. "If he's not a Hall of Famer, then something's wrong.

"When you talk about [Nolan] Arenado, [Kyle] Seager and [Manny] Machado, they're compared to Adrian Beltre to see how good they are at third base on the defensive side. He's set the bar on the way defense should be played at third base."

Scioscia didn't even go into the fact that Beltre, at 37, is 57 home runs and 71 hits away from becoming the sixth player in Major League history to reach 500 home runs and 3,000 hits.

Beltre has also never been shy when it comes to providing a little comic relief during games.

"This guy plays with a relaxed intensity that you want your guys to play with," he said. "He's very focused, but he's very confident. He's comfortable with the fact that he's going to prevail in every situation, and that's what you want in a player."

Beltre has seemingly gotten better with age. He's posted his sixth career 30-homer season this year, and he's two RBIs away from reaching 100 for the first time since 2012.

"This guy is still playing at an incredible level, and he's passionate about this game," Scioscia said. "He's reached his goals here of getting to a World Series. I know he wants to eventually win a World Series, but he's been a big part of what [the Rangers] have done the last couple years."

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas and covered the Angels on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.