If he were a Yankee or a Brave, rookie centerfielder Carlos Beltran would have one or two more seasons to refine his game in the minors. The Royals, however, need the 21-year-old switch-hitter, who hit .352 with 14 homers in only 182 at bats at Double A Wichita last year, to be an impact player now. Not only does Beltran have plenty of power, but he's also an excellent defensive player with the speed to chase down balls in the gaps. In 1997 he was named the best defensive outfielder in the Class A Carolina League. "You don't have to worry much with [ Beltran] out there," says K.C. outfielder Jeff Conine. "From what I've seen, he gets to the balls that a centerfielder should."