Friday, July 29, 2005

Betancourt up, Lopez down

The M's brought up SS prospect Yuniesky Betancourt yesterday and he made a splash, tripling on the first pitch he saw.

Betancourt is the Cuban defector signed by the M's this offseason to a 3.65 million dollar contract. What do we know about him?

By all accounts he is very slick with the glove. Dan Rohn, the Raniers' manager has compared him favorably to Omar Vizquel. But many people have questioned whether he can hit much in the show. He was a good but not great hitter in Cuba, and Cuba is, by all accounts, a high offensive environment.

Still after missing all of 2004, you know, defecting and all, Yuniesky has held his own in the US minors, hitting .273 and 295 at San Antonio and Tacoma this year. And, in theory, he is only 23. He has shown little patience or power with only 15 walks at the two levels and slugging percentages of .410 and .443 that are helped a lot by his 9 triples.

I'm not sure how this will all shake out. Lopez is down because he isn't hitting, Morse is still hitting but has 10 errors in 43 games and a zone rating of only 779. Will Yuniesky play at short, where is glove is likely to be a big improvement over Morse? Then where will Morse play? I don't expect he'll be any better at second. Will Betancourt hit enough to stick?

And more importantly will the Mariners be able to handle their surplus of middle infielders correctly over the next few years or will they end up trading Jim Edmonds for Brian Bohanon to make room for Darrin Erstad?


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