Which player is most likely to experience a run of sustained sub-replacement seasons?
The year was 2007, and America’s outlook had never been brighter. A young Arkansas governor named Bill J. Clinton had just been elected president with promises of universal hearth care for everybody’s hearths. An inventor named Steve Jobs was tinkering in his garage on a machine that would one day be called the Splash-Proof Thermapen Thermometer. And a shortstop in Seattle named Yuniesky Betancourt was doing amazing things that we would never see again: Topping replacement level.
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Has Yuniesky Betancourt left his free-swinging ways behind?
When the Phillies offered Yuniesky Betancourt an invitation to spring training, we wondered why a team would give even a non-guaranteed contract to a player whose career stats suggested he was without any upside. When Betancourt hit .446/.450/.625 in spring training and landed a major-league contract with Milwaukee, we wondered A) why teams allow themselves to be seduced by spring statistics and B) what it is about Betancourt that makes teams who’ve already seen him firsthand for full seasons decide to bring him back for more. When we last saw Betancourt in the big leagues, he was getting released by the Royals. It was fair to wonder why he’d be any better at age 31 than he was during his replacement-level prime.
A 2008 Mariners Magazine article has an interesting perspective on Yuniesky Betancourt.
Oh, the in-stadium program. They're always the best.
Whether it's the full-size, monthly/quarterly magazine that used to be so prevalent around the league or the small-size, free-for-all, weekly programs that are gaining steam with clubs and advertisers, there's always something to look at in them. Scorecards, rosters, after-game deals at local pubs take up most of the space, of course, but they always lead off with some kind of attention grabbing article. It's not exactly fair to critique these articles, I know—they're essentially club propaganda masking as magazine filler and aren't exactly unbiased—but sometimes you just can't help yourself.
A visual and statistical look at Carlos Quentin's track record of taking one for the team.
It’s 5:53 a.m. I have three hours, and one factoid for inspiration: Carlos Quentin has been hit in 4.0 percent of his plate appearances. YunieskyBetancourt has walked in 3.3 percent of his. Let’s just see where this takes us.
Tying up the loose ends from Dallas, as the Brewers bring in Alex Gonzalez to replace Yuniesky Betancourt, the Angels sign LaTroy Hawkins, the Orioles trade for Dana Eveland, and the Rockies and Cubs swap flawed former prospects.
The tater trots for July 19: a slew of big blasts on Tuesday night, with a pair in Arizona alone.
I don't know who it was, but some brilliant supervillian decided to build an invisible sauna over much of the United States this week. It's been well short of fun. I can only imagine what it must feel like for the players on the field. It hasn't really stopped the ball from flying out of the yard, though. Players probably like that - the tater trot gives them a nice respite from running too hard as they round the bases.
Yuniesky Betancourt is riding the largest - and most surprising - offensive wave of his career.
It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.
- Winston Churchill, 1939
Baseball is full of these riddles. Can Jose Bautista continue to crush AL pitching? Why can't Joe Mauer hit home runs at the Twins new ballpark? What's up with Tim Lincecum? Now we examine the latest: How in the world is Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt hitting so well?