Tag Archives: Yuniesky Betancourt

Season Preview – NL Central


Time to look at the 6 team NL Central division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West, and NL East.

Last Year’s Records
Cincinnati – 91-71
St. Louis – 86-76
Milwaukee – 77-85
Houston – 76-86
Chicago – 75-87
Pittsburgh – 57-105

Notable Additions

Chicago – Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood

Cincinnati – Edgar Renteria

Houston – Clint Barmes

Milwaukee – Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yuniesky Betancourt, Takashi Saito, Mark Kotsay

Pittsburgh – Lyle Overbay, Garrett Atkins, Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Joe Beimel

St. Louis – Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman

Notable Losses

Chicago – Sam Fuld, Tom Gorzelanny

Cincinnati – Arthur Rhodes, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Harang

Houston – Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino

Milwaukee – Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Gregg Zaun

Pittsburgh -  Zack Duke, Andy LaRoche, Lastings Milledge

St. Louis – Brendan Ryan, Pedro Feliz, Brad Penny, Jeff Suppan

My Thoughts

Chicago – The Cubs had a very disappointing season last year, and went out and tried to plug some of those holes this offseason. Bringing in Carlos Pena on a 1 year contract, despite its cost, looks like a very nice signing for a power bat. The acquisition of Matt Garza brings a young, cost-controlled high-end starting pitcher to their rotation, but at the cost of top prospects Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, and others.  I am not sold that this team will compete this year, as they will need bounceback performances from Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano to really end up in the thick of the race.

Cincinnati – The defending NL Central champions, the team has lost Aaron Harang and will hope that the combination of Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and others will be able to pitch complete seasons this year. The team returns nearly every player from last season’s title, but I don’t think that it is a slam-dunk that they will just run away with the division again this year.

Houston – Talk about a rebuilding effort. Here’s a team which has very few high-end prospects in the system right now, who also does not have a lot of higher-quality players at the Major League level either. There are some quality players in Hunter Pence and Brett Myers, but there’s not a lot of hope for the 2011 season. They will look to get a solid rookie season out of last year’s acquisition, Brett Wallace, but you have essentially gathered a group of mid-level players who can fill out a roster, but are unlikely to compete as a group for a division title, let alone a league championship

Milwaukee – And within the same division, you have a team who has gone all-in for 2011. The Brewers have traded nearly all of their top prospects in order to improve their pitching staff, and did so with the acquisitions of Marcum and Greinke. It’s not a great sign that Greinke is hurt already, but he should return in mid April and only miss a few starts. The bigger story throughout the season will be whether or not they fall out of contention and attempt to trade Prince Fielder before the deadline. They definitely remain a team to be reckoned with in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh – For a team that lost 105 games last year, they actually have a lot to look forward to. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is poised to become one of the best young players in the Majors, and 2nd year players Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez both will look to build on their solid rookie years. They aren’t likely to compete this season, but there’s hope for Pirates fans that is starting to show itself at the Major League level.

St. Louis – The biggest story out of St. Louis up until the start of Spring Training was whether or not Albert Pujols would sign a contract extension prior to the start of the season, and unfortunately it’s no longer the current top story out of their camp. With Cy Young runner up Adam Wainwright out for the season with Tommy John surgery, they will now look to replace at least some part of his production in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that this team, as constructed, can compete for the division title. They will need everything else to fall just right for them to win this division.

Overall Thoughts

The NL Central really has the look of a wide open division. If things fall just right, 4 of the teams could conceivably win the division this season. That said, I’m not sold that things will fall right for all of them, but it should be intersting to watch regardless.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Milwaukee
2. Cincinnati
3. St. Louis
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
6. Houston

Original Draft Series: #3 – Seattle Mariners


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #3: Seattle Mariners

General Managers(since 1994)

Woody Woodward (1994-1999):458-445
Pat Gillick (2000-2003):393-359
Bill Bavasi (2004-2008):359-451
Jack Zduriencik (2009):85-77

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 0 4 3 4 5 4 0

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Jason Varitek 1994 – 1st Rd (14) 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SEA – 7/31/97
1B Raul Ibanez 1992 – 36th Rd 8+5 986 gm, .284/.346/.464, 127 HR, 547 RBI, 21 SB Left via Free Agency – 12/21/00, 10/30/08
2B Jose Lopez
Int’l FA – 2000 10 1 All Star Appearance
853 gm, .266/.297/.399, 77 HR, 422 RBI
Currently with Org.
3B Alex Rodriguez 1993 – 1st Rd (1) 7 4 All Star Appearances, 4 Silver Sluggers
790 gm, .309/.374/.561, 189 HR, 595 RBI, 133 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/30/00
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
Int’l FA – 2002 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 6/30/06
LF Shin-Soo Choo Int’l FA – 2000 6 14 gm, .069/.182/.103, RBI Traded to CLE – 7/26/06
CF Adam Jones 2003 – 1st Rd (37) 4 73 gm, .230/.267/.353, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 5 SB Traded to BAL – 2/8/08
RF Ichiro Suzuki
Int’l FA – 2001 10 2001 AL MVP and Rookie of the Year, 10 All Star Appearances, 9 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers
1564 gm., .331/.376/.430, 89 HR, 550 RBI, 88 SB
Currently with Org.
DH David Ortiz Int’l FA – 1992 4 No Major League Appearances Traded to MIN – 9/13/96
SP Felix Hernandez Int’l FA – 2002 8 1 All Star Appearance
69-51, 3.23 ERA, 1124.1 IP, 1019 K, 347 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Brandon Morrow
2006 – 1st Rd (5) 3 8-12, 3.96 ERA, 197.2 IP, 204 K, 128 BB Traded to TOR – 12/23/09
SP Joel Pineiro 1997 – 12th Rd 11 58-55, 4.48 ERA, 996 IP, 658 K, 327 BB Left via Free Agency – 12/12/06
SP Derek Lowe
1991 – 8th Rd 6 2-4, 6.96 ERA, 53 IP, 39 K, 20 BB Traded to SEA – 7/31/97
SP Gil Meche
1996 – 1st Rd (22) 10 55-44, 4.65 ERA, 815.1 IP, 575 K, 363 BB Left via Free Agency – 10/31/06
RP Damaso Marte
Int’l FA – 1992 8 0-1, 9.35 ERA, 8.2 IP, 3 K, 6 BB Left via Free Agency – 10/18/00
RP Matt Thornton 1998 – 1st Rd (22) 7 1-6, 4.82 ERA, 89.2 IP, 87 K, 67 BB Traded to SEA – 3/20/06
RP Rafael Soriano Int’l FA – 1996 10 4-8, 2.89 ERA, 4 SV, 171 IP, 177 K, 53 BB Traded to ATL – 12/7/06
RP Ryan Franklin 1992 – 23rd Rd 13 35-50, 4.34 ERA, 811.1 IP, 427 K, 238 BB Left via Free Agency – 12/21/05
RP J.J. Putz 1999 – 6th Rd 9 1 All Star Appearance
22-15, 3.07 ERA, 323 IP, 337 K, 104 BB
Traded to NYM – 12/11/08
CL Brian Fuentes 1995 – 25th Rd 6 1-1, 4.63 ERA, 11.2 IP, 10 K, 8 BB Traded to COL – 12/16/01
BN Omar Vizquel
Int’l FA – 1984 9 1 Gold Glove
660 gm, .252/.309/.303, 6 HR, 131 RBI, 39 SB
Traded to CLE – 12/20/93
BN Greg Dobbs Amat. FA – 2001 5 100 gm, .257/.291/.351, 2 HR, 32 RBI Selected off waivers by PHI – 1/15/07
BN Yuniesky Betancourt Int’l FA – 2005 4 588 gm,. 279/.302/.393, 27 HR, 202 RBI, 24 SB Traded to KC – 7/10/09
BN Jeff Clement 2005 – 1st Rd (3) 4 75 gm, .237/.309/.393, 7 HR, 26 RBI Traded to PIT – 7/29/09
BN Luis Valbuena
Int’l FA – 2002 6 18 gm, .245/.315/.347, RBI Traded to CLE – 12/11/08

June Amateur Draft

The Mariners have actually not been as active in the draft as I thought they had been. Clearly, the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr in the middle of the season removed him from this team, although to be honest he probably would have only been a bench player like he was in real life. The Mariners are unfortunately not seeing nearly as much success as they be expected to considering the quality level of the players listed here. Alex Rodriguez has clearly been the best player to this point overall, at least coming out of the draft. But the story for a lot of these players has been that they achieved their greatest success while with other teams. Morrow is very rapidly turning into a top starting pitcher, Lowe and Varitek were both traded short-sightedly to the Red Sox for a reliever, and of course the group of players who were dealt to acquire Erik Bedard (Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, among others).

International Free Agency

The Mariners have clearly done their best work in the international market. Ichiro, while not an amateur free agent, has clearly been the cream of the crop and has helped to define the organization ever since he arrived. But there have been so many other excellent players that were brought in by the Mariners as well, with King Felix Hernandez probably providing the most to the team while on the team. They have had some solid players go through the organization via this method as well, but unfortunately the story is very similar to the amateur draftees. The two that stand out to me are Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo, who were traded for a pair of platoon first basemen in Eduardo Perez and Ben Broussard. Both were just prospects when they were traded, but have turned into at worst solid major league regulars.

Overall Grade

A. The Mariners are one of the few teams where I had to ignore quite a few players. There were probably another 10-15 players that could very well have ended up on the rosters of other organizations further down the list. I think that they did receive quite a bit of production from these players, and clearly the one who retired (Griffey) also helped the team stay in Seattle practically. They had an All-Star closer in J.J. Putz, a clear Ace in Felix Hernandez, and a future Hall of Famer in Ichiro Suzuki. Every position has someone who has become a major league regular, as well as players on the bench who have in some capacity as well. The pitching staff has 5 pitchers who have closed for at least some time in their careers, and a solid pitching rotation as well. Overall, they were immediately on my mind as one of my top teams overall.

Statistical Analysis: What is BABIP?


A term we hear a lot about when it comes to statistical analysis is BABIP. But what is BABIP, and how can it be used to help determine things about a player?

I had planned on writing about what I know about BABIP, but after reading this article, it is apparent I know less than I thought I did. So instead, I’m just going to suggest that if you are interested in this, you read this article by Tristan Cockcroft from ESPN’s Fantasy Draft Kit. It’s an excellent primer on the topic, and I’m not sure I honestly could say it any better or really add that much to it.

My biggest thing with BABIP is that it, like nearly all other statistics, don’t tell the whole story, but can help to give you an idea of something to look at when making distinctions about players. Let’s look at the top 5 and bottom 5 players in BABIP, and see what (if anything specific) we can discern about them.

Leaders from Fangraphs.com for 2009 season:

David Wright (.394 BABIP) – Wright hit .307 last season, which is well within his range of performance in the past. His BABIP was a bit higher than it had been in the past, previously ranging from .321 to .356 in the previous 4 seasons. With him, I am not entirely sure I am concerned about this, as he also saw a substantial drop in his home run total, and as a result would have had more balls in play. 10 additional homeruns (to bring his total for the season to 20) would have dropped his BABIP to .376, which while still higher than any previous season, would have been closer to the range he had hit in previously.

Ichiro Suzuki (.384 BABIP) – Ichiro hit .352 in 2009, which was one of his highest averages in his career. For him though, his range of BABIPs since arriving in 2001 leads me to believe that while he may have been slightly lucky, it was not that far out of his range of expected numbers. His BABIP range since 2001: .316 to .399

Hanley Ramirez (.379 BABIP) – Hanley hit for his best batting average to date, posting a .342 batting average in 2009. He had hit over .300 in each of the previous 2 seasons, and posted BABIPs from .329 to .353. There may be a little luck in there, but I think it would require more investigation into Hanley specifically to see if there is something else in there that helped him in 2009.

Joe Mauer (.373 BABIP) – Mauer had his best season to date, posting a .365 batting average. Mauer has never posted a batting average for a full season under .293, and as a result his BABIP has also never dropped below .319 during that time. While .373 was his highest BABIP so far, he has consistently posted BABIPs over .320, and seems unlikely to see a particularly large regression in 2010.

Joey Votto (.372 BABIP) – Votto completed only his 2nd full season in 2009, and improved his batting average by 25 points from his 2008 season (.297 to .322). However, his BABIP spiked from .328 to .372. While I don’t necessarily think he’s going to drop off the face of the earth for batting average, I could see him potentially regressing back closer to .300 than to .320. Another player who may have other factors playing into his statistics that aren’t as easily seen.

Bottom 5 (Regulars only):

Ian Kinsler (.241 BABIP) – Kinsler hit .253 for the season overall, and had posted BABIPs of .304, .279, and .334 in his previous 3 seasons. For me, I would think that he was probably at least a bit unlucky last season, as he was 30 points below his career low of .279. When he returns to the field of play, I could see a rebound back toward the .270 range for his batting average as his BABIP gets closer to the .300 range he had been averaging.

Carlos Pena (.250 BABIP) – Pena hit .227, which was low even for him. In his previous two full seasons, his BABIP had been .297 and .298 respectively. The part that isn’t seen as easily is the fact that in those two seasons, his batting average was .282 and .247. So while he also appears to have been a bit unlucky, it is hard to discern which of the two batting averages is more likely to be the one you’ll get from him.

Jimmy Rollins (.251 BABIP) – Rollins hit .250 last season, which was down from his career average of .275. Over the 6 seasons prior to 2009, his BABIP had never been below .281, and his batting average below .261. This is a player who has shown for the most part a specific range of what can be expected out of him, and should rebound this season as well.

Yuniesky Betancourt (.256 BABIP) – Betancourt hit ,245 last season, but had previously shown himself to be able to hit .280-.290. During those same seasons, his BABIP had been between .289 and .308. Another player who may have been a bit unlucky last season at the plate.

Aubrey Huff (.260 BABIP) – Huff hit .241 last season, well off of his career average of .282. His BABIP range doesn’t necessarily tell us everything about him though, as he has varied widely over the previous 8 seasons, ranging from .267 to .315.

Overall, I think that BABIP can help you to look at whether a player may be due for a regression or an improvement, but it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Over time, players will generally stay within a specific range of performance, and if that performance is high, BABIP may not tell you anything of use.