Power Rankings Comment: Real Improvement For Yuniesky Betancourt? | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

In my comment on this week’s edition of ESPN’s Power Rankings (the Brewers sit in the sixth spot), I mention Yuniesky Betancourt’s actual, tangible contribution to the Brewers final two victories in this past weekend’s sweep of the Minnesota Twins. Betancourt was five-for-eight with a home run, and his bat showed a legitimate amount of pop. Although it’s hard to be too optimistic for a player with a .293 career on-base percentage, this weekend’s performance could be the beginning of of relative respectability for the Brewers’ much-maligned shortstop.

It’s difficult to describe Betancourt’s performance to date as luck. His .249 BABIP is probably too low to be sustainable, but Betancourt is a poor enough hitter where we shouldn’t be surprised by it either. That said, over the next few months we should expect that number to tick upwards. ZiPS projects Betancourt for a .273 BABIP the rest of the way, and a .300 mark isn’t out of the question, as his numbers hovered around that point from 2005-2008.

Much has been made of the Brewers’ inability to find a replacement for Betancourt despite his horrid performance so far this season. The idea that players are out there who are easily attainable and can clearly outperform Betancourt, however, may not be rooted in truth. Despite Betancourt’s horrid .241/.262/.358 batting line and unimpressive defense — rated 4 runs below average by UZR, 5 runs below average by +/- — adds up to only -0.1 Wins Above Replacement.

That’s right. Despite how completely unwatchable and agonizing Betancourt’s performance this season has been, he’s only been one run worse than the freely available shortstop. With a legitimate expectation of improved hitting — ZiPS projects a .263/.293/.398 line going forward — Betancourt may actually be a productive player going forward, even if it’s marginally so.

The Brewers should still look to add a shortstop if they can, but given their stark lack of assets, they may be stuck with Betancourt. Over the second half, Brewers fans can at least take solace in the expectation of a few more series like last weekend’s out of their much-maligned shortstop.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Loeffle says: June 27, 2011

    It’s ok to hack at Yuni. But why so little focus on Casey? He has a -1.2 WAR right now. Even worse on the field than Yuni – and not hitting at all. I like Casey, but think it’s kind of unfair to hack on Yuni all the time, because everybody does.
    Yuni had over 15 HR’s last season for KC – and I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to hit better than he did so far.

  2. rguard says: June 27, 2011

    Have to agree with the comment above regarding Casey…at least Yuni looks like he has a plan at the plate (that being swing at everything, try to pull it, don’t take a walk…). Casey looks completely lost and when he does get the ball in play it seems to mostly be soft pop ups and ground outs. I don’t think he needs a day off, I think he needs 3 or 4 games in a row on the bench.

  3. Kohl says: June 27, 2011

    I agree with both of the above comments. Casey and Yuni are both pathetic at the plate and in the field, but what are you gonna do? “It’s the way we play.” Hopefully, the crew will find a way to be consistently successful despite these glaring weaknesses.

  4. jhardy44 says: June 27, 2011

    woah woah woah…lets back up alil bit…how are you goin to call yuni horrible and not say anything about counsell….y do u constantly rag on this guy… i mean come on….hes got his average to over 240 now and idk what uve been watching and idc about the numbers but i feel that yuni has done just fine for us this year.. give this guy a break! his average may be low. buts come up with timely hits that have won us some big games such as the homer in the 13th inning at home to tie game earlier in year…then go ahead rbi double in 8th at florida to take lead after fielder tied it with homer and ultimately lead to win…and those are just a couple to name.. the guy has like 6 or 7 web gems already for cryin out loud… all in all i love this guy…he works hard and plays well in the middle infield with weeks…hes struggled a bit but geeze id rather have him anyday rather than escobar…at least this guy has some damn popp in his bat…leave this guy alone..hes just fine…go shoot up some more heroin er somethin my god…who cares about those dum stats u bring up like BABIP that no one really cares about or even knows what the hell it means! wow have some confidence in the guy…he can play im so glad we got him in the greinke trade..so pick on someone else like Casey or counsell who should only be in a brewers uniform as a coach now. you need to relax alittle bit.. thank you im out if youd like to reach me email me at jessemhardacre@lewisu.edu.

  5. Rob says: June 27, 2011

    I agree with all the comments (although jhardy44 misses the point a bit). Casey McGehee is having an equally horrible year at the plate as Betancourt and is worse in the field yet he gets a pass. It is easier to pick on the Betancourts and McGehees this season because they are obviously a glaring hole. In past years, we may not have noticed as much because there were too many in slumps to notice. The Crew is in 1st by three games, even with Betancourt’s “horrible” play. Prince should get the MVP award, not only having the numbers he has, but doing it in front of Casey McGehee.

  6. Paul says: June 27, 2011

    This offseason, why not forget about Prince (which we probably will have to) and go after Jose Reyes? I like a lineup with Reyes and Gamel better than one with Fielder and Betancourt. Plus Reyes should be a bit cheaper than Prince. I think Gamel will be more consistent now than in the past, and Reyes would be the PERFECT leadoff man. Get him on base for Weeks, Braun, Gamel, Hart.

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