Wilson Betemit

The Braves don’t seem to think Betemit can play shortstop everyday, and there’s no spot for him at third base in the near future. Even if Marte’s departure clears one hurdle, unless Chipper goes down or moves very quickly, the presence of Eric Campbell and two young shortstops among the Braves’ top ten prospects means he’ll soon have other obstacles. It’s hard to see Betemit getting out of a utility role with the Braves; his best opportunity would be to get traded to a team with a weak third base situation. Though he’s a switch-hitter, he has some similarity to Vinny Castilla, circa 1992; a player who doubtless has the bat to be a useful shortstop or even third baseman, blocked by incumbents and rising stars. There’s no expansion draft to liberate Betemit, so he has to hope for a trade. Considering the poor pickings in the upper reaches of the minor leagues, that is unlikely for now. He should be the regular backup shortstop and third baseman in 2005, which judging by Chipper’s injury history in recent years should garner him at least 40 starts/200 PA.

His 2005 line of .305/.359/.435 is pretty much what you would expect granted his 2003-04 minor league numbers. Actually, his batting average was probably higher than projected, his walks and power a little lower to offset it. I don’t expect him to hit .305 on a regular basis, but he’s capable of drawing more walks and turning doubles and triples into home runs to offset that.

As a shortstop, he’s a middling defender, ranging from B-minus to D-plus. Fielding percentage was slightly below the league, range factor (adjusted for innings) right on the average. Didn’t play as well at third base, but should be a pretty good defender there. At either position, he’s not a plus unless he hits. Like some others of the young Braves, a poor basestealer even though he runs pretty well, and tied Giles for second on the team with four triples despite less than half a full season’s plate appearances.

33 thoughts on “Wilson Betemit”

  1. Smitty, I enjoyed that. I laughed out loud at the diapers on horses thing.

    You know, a lot of people like to rip on Letterman, but I still think he’s one of the funniest guys on TV.

  2. Letterman is great! Better than Leno, and WAY better than Conan. I love his “Top Ten” lists, and, being something of a simpleton, “Will It Float or Sink?” 10 minutes devoted to dropping lime Jell-O into a tub of water is truly high brow entertainment ;-)

    As the board’s resident sap, I have to say I feel bad for Betemit. He’s a solid player who would probably be an everyday guy on half the teams in the league and has the misfortune to be stuck here where we have Chipper Jones.

    Would it be really stupid to suggest that we put him at 1B? I think he’s a better hitter than LaRoche and if he can play the hot corner competently, he can probably play the cold one (oooh, that was a bad joke). Trade LaRoche for relief pitching. Just a thought.

  3. Nice eval, thanks.

    It’s not breaking my heart that Wilson Betemit is a very valuable backup player for the Braves. A switch-hitter who plays a couple positions, WB gives Bobby some nice flexibility. I agree that he’ll get his share of ABs.

    BTW, Letterman spoke for millions when he simply told O’Reilly: “I don’t believe you.”

    For those with any feelings about O’Reilly (pro or con), I encourage you to see “Good Night & Good Luck.” It’ll seem very familiar.

  4. Betemit at first? Doesn’t hit hard enough. Even LaRoche has more power. If it were me I would have given him a shot at the everyday SS but then if it were me we wouldn’t have 14 consecutive trips to the post season. Nice bench player to have. A nice luxury.

    O’Reilly: Ok I’m an old guy and more conservative than most on this board but when I listen to him he sounds like the Joe Morgan of conservative analysts. Too neo narcissistic for me.

  5. Letterman is the man. My mom used to tape the top ten list for me when I was in Jr High so I could come home a watch it.

  6. I like Letterman okay, but I can’t believe that people thought that was a decent interview with O’Reily. I don’t care whether you’re conservative or liberal, you have to admit that Letterman had no idea what he was talking about. He even mentioned that he doesn’t watch his show and it was extremely evident.

    I like Letterman’s Top Ten Lists and his off-the-wall stunts, but for the most part he is not a good interviewer – especially when he doesn’t like the person he’s interviewing. He absolutely refuses to do his homework.

    Sorry that I digress out of the sports world, but he is the interviewing equivalent of Joe Morgan.

    Btw – with the health of Chipper, Renteria, and even Giles I expect Betemit to start more than 60 games.

  7. I agree, that interview should not be taken seriously, given that Mr. Letterman refused to ask specific questions or make specific accusations, even at Mr. O’Reilly’s prompting. I wouldn’t enjoy a one-on-one conversation with Mr. O’Reilly either, but if I agreed to interview him, I’d at least try to know a bit more about him and what he says and does.

  8. I wrote a column before last season focused on betemit playing first base for us and still think it’s a valid idea.

    Bill O’Reilly is an asshole in my opinion and I don;t believe anything he says.

  9. Why not become a true ‘utility’ man and spend some spring training time playing first base?

  10. You don’t believe anything he says? Or you don’t believe anything he says without checking out the information yourself? The first would just be willful ignorance, which is silly.

  11. Given that the top minor league option behind Betemit is Cesar Crespo, I reall don’t see him going anywhere, either to first base or another team.

  12. In my view, Letterman merely gave O’Reilly a small taste of his own medicine & expressed the thoughts of many. He let O’Reilly talk & rebutted as necessary. But, it wasn’t O’Reilly’s show — that was clear: Nobody got cut off, shouted down or threatened.

    And yes, in the end, it was just entertainment. Wrapping up the contentious segment, Letterman offered a big smile, extended his hand and said, “Bill, it’s always a pleasure…”

  13. Given that the top minor league option behind Betemit is Cesar Crespo, I reall don’t see him going anywhere, either to first base or another team.

    Mac, you’re forgetting about Jon Jr.

  14. I think Letterman is a gret interviewer. A few years ago even Bill O’Reilly stated as much:

    “Mr. Letterman is a smart guy who can spot a phony with telescopic accuracy and expects his guests to bring something to the table. If a guest begins to sink on this show, the bottom is a long way down.”

  15. Honestly, the minor league infield situation is so bad (above low-A-ball) that I have the infielders ranked:

    1. Crespo
    2. L’il Jonny
    3. Pena
    4. Prado (who can’t play short)
    5. Hernandez

    Pena and Hernandez are that bad.

  16. You don’t believe anything he says? Or you don’t believe anything he says without checking out the information yourself? The first would just be willful ignorance, which is silly.

    Posted by: Stu at January 11, 2006 02:54 PM

    In other words, a “Stu/Alex R” situation.

  17. Good afternoon. This is the wrong thread for this, and for that I apologize.

    Iíve been a baseball fan since I attended the Class D Georgia-Florida Thomasville Dodgers games with my grandfather beginning in 1950. I love the game deeply, but I need help understanding something that bothers me more each year.

    I recognize that numbers have become inflated in our steroid era, and it bothers me that not all players fortunate enough to play the wonderful game for a living respect it as they should. I also realize that the temptation to increase God-given ability through medical shortcuts offered by performance-enhancing drugs must be great to people as competitive as major league players. Still, cheating is cheating, whether itís using foreign substances to increase a ballís movement, corking a bat to provide more pop, or popping a vein to gain more power; and cheating is bad.

    Once upon a time, there was a ballplayer who dominated his era. He didn’t do steroids. Heck, he didn’t even do caffeine. He played in 740 consecutive games, was a seven-time all-star, twice won MVPs, twice led the league in home runs, RBIs and slugging, won the Lou Gehrig award, and was a member of the 30-30 club.

    From 1982 through 1987, his batting average was 20 points above the NL average; his slugging percentage, 90 points above; and, obviously, his OPS, 110 points over the league average.

    Defensively, he drew comparisons to Joe DiMaggio and won five consecutive gold gloves as a centerfielder. He was a positive role model, one of the nicest, most moral, and most admired people ever to play the game. Yet he’s not in the HOF, and his vote totals go down almost every year.

    If character counts, and the HOF criteria says it does, why isn’t Dale Murphy in the HOF?

  18. Wageslave, it is southern bias. The same thing happens in college football polls. All of these writers are from mid-west schools. This is how guys like Murphy don’t get in. If he had been a Cardinal, he would be in. If Auburn played in the Big Ten they would have played for the national title last year.

  19. wageslave,

    I feel you, man.

    My short answer: Like Mattingly & a few other players, Murphy didn’t maintain his excellence long enough.

    Murph’s one of my all-time faves — but he’s still borderline in my book.

    But maybe that’s just the caffiene talking…

  20. Stu, I think he meant that it was a “Stu/Alex R. situation” because you quoted someone else’s comment and then implied it might be silly, which might have the potential to result in a back-and-forth on the board in which one guy got offended, and then feelings got heated, etc., which all happened between you and Alex.

  21. I disagree.

    Murph’s “excellence” was sustained for as long as anyone but the inner-circle Hall of Famers (the Mays/Aaron group). He was one of the best players in baseball from ages 23 to 31, the best player in baseball, or at least the NL, in 83-85. For most of his career, his most-similar hitter was a no doubt Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson.

    Murph’s problem, in fact, is that he didn’t have enough years of “goodness”, the solid years that make up the bulk of a run-of-the-mill Hall of Fame career. He had a decent year at 32 and was a bad player after that. If he’d just been average, he would have wound up with at least 2400 hits and 450 homers and would be in the Hall.

    The question is if he should be punished for a lack of averageness.

  22. By the way, the Washington Nationals are about to sign Sammy Sosa! I LOVE this team.

    Jenny, you’re not allowed to complain about the Baltimore Orioles any more, because the Washington Nationals have taken away your biggest headache from last year (Palmeiro excepted), have worse management, worse players, a worse farm system, and a worse stadium–in short, there is absolutely no area in which the Nationals suck less than the Orioles.

  23. I agree with the majority of Mac’s comment. If Murph had “compiled” more numbers in less-than-peak years (and even had a few more of those years) he’d be in Andre Dawson-ville or better. It would be a different conversation. He’s certainly being punished for his lack of overall numbers.

    Is that right? Dunno, but it’s a fun conversation.

    Pertaining to HoF voting, when I say “excellence” as it relates to Murphy, we’re talking about 1980, 1982-85 and 1987 (some voters refer to them as “HoF Years.”) Relative to the era, his peak value was tremendous, but it’s not quite Koufax-land. I think that hurts him with voters.

    And, perhaps this is the wrong kinda guy to exactly compare Murph to as a player, but when you look at some recent inductees like Paul Molitor (who I’m guessing isn’t considered an inner-circle Hall of Famer), he had 3,000 hits AND hit .300 a dozen times (a dozen HoF years in the minds of voters).

    I don’t think you’d call Molitor (again, only as an example) a compiler, but a consistently good ballplayer who did it for many years. Those guys get into Cooperstown when you look at the breadth of their work. The decision is easy. Murphy’s breadth of work doesn’t jump off the page to most voters.

  24. It’s “preliminary talks for a one-year deal” per ESPN Deportes. That’s hardly “about to sign.” And he’s probably not getting very much.

    That being said, it’s still retarded. My new theory is that Jim Bowden is deliberately trying to sabotage the team on his way out the door. Why? Because it is beyond my comprehension that any paid GM could be this stupid. Maybe they’re getting him to take Soriano’s imaginary spot in the OF ;-)

    And I will continue to complain about the Orioles, since I was just given a lovely forum to do so by Maury Brown of the Hardball Times, who is planning on writing a piece on Angelos and wanted fan feedback on him. Boy, was that fun.

  25. Funny note: The Red Sox signed Julian Tavarez today.

    Now I want everyone to close their eyes and imagine the next Red Sox – Yankees brawl with him and Kyle Farnsworth…

  26. Ububba and I were thinking on similar lines; see the Dawson comment in my latest entry. You’ll see more. Through 1987, Murphy was certainly a better player. The main counting stats were about equal (Murphy had about a season’s worth of homers on Dawson, who had about a season’s worth of hits on Murph) and Murphy was a year younger. Both had MVPs, (Murphy had two, and was actually better than Dawson in his MVP season) and both were Gold Glove winners. Hard to find two more comparable candidates. Dawson will probably make it in the next few years.

  27. It’s very simple…this guy deserves a full-time role, SOMEwhere. I hate to see him go the way of Tarasco, Dye, Nieves, Jose Olivo, Graffinino and Kotsay. He honestly would be better off with a trade at this point. We’ve got Jon Jr. if we need a utility man.

  28. Nice, more Red Sox info. Did SOSH kick you out of the club or something? What do you have against posting there?

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