A starter in the minors, Beltran spent more than three years stuck at the Double-A level before he finally made it to St. Louis in 1997. All but four of the left-hander’s thirty-five appearances that season came in relief, and he displayed excellent control — walking just 17 batters in 54 1/3 innings. But Beltran’s brief stay in the majors ended when a December trade sent him to the Mets for Juan Acevedo. Stuck behind lefties John Franco, Dennis Cook, and Brian Bohanon in the New York bullpen, he was shunted back to Triple-A for most of the year.
Beltran pitched well the following spring, but it wasn’t enough to avoid another minor-league assignment. Irate, Beltran demanded a trade, but was called up two weeks later when Allen Watson replaced Rick Reed in the Mets’ rotation. Beltran made the most of his time with the Mets, posting a 3.48 ERA in twenty-one games, until a mid-season deal sent him and Brian McRae to Colorado for Darryl Hamilton and Chuck McElroy. He pitched only sparingly in his first two seasons with the Rockies.
Beltran was accustomed to traveling. Born in Tijuana, he attended high school in San Diego and went to college in Wyoming.