Sunday, April 10, 2011

Squeeze Play


I was quite impressed by Wilson Betemit at the plate.

Hitters get hot & cold all the time, and there's plenty of hitters that will have 4-hit days during the course of the season. However, Betemit's day today was accentuated by two of the four hits being doubles, and one of those doubles really being a home run (replays show it hit the yellow stripe on the top of the fence in RF, something that Ryan LeFebvre missed, surprisingly enough).

When you combine his start with his stats last year in about half a season worth of work, things become interesting. In the short-term, his hot hitting combined with the good start of Chris Getz and Mike Aviles's cold hitting may result in Aviles getting squeezed out of the starting infield.

I'm sure even if Ned Yost decides to go with the hot bat and sticks with Betemit at 3rd despite the questionable defense (although he made a nice play in Sunday's game), Aviles can find some at-bats spot-starting at 3B, 2B, and SS should the need arise -- along with the occasional pinch-hit, of course.

In the longer term, if indeed Betemit hits well enough to stay in the starting lineup, it'll be extremely interesting coming up to the trading deadline. He'll have to garner enough plate appearances to convince another team that they can use him as an everyday player, which is something he's never been -- prior to last season with the Royals, his best hitting was done in the National League, so he had no chance of becoming a full-time DH. During his time in the American League, he didn't hit well enough to play full-time, period, until 2010.

Betemit's value to the Royals in the future, of course, would be in him being flipped to fill a need elsewhere on the club. But to get something tangible in return, the perception would have to be that he could be a starting DH or 3B.

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