Some Players That Should Replace Yuniesky Betancourt

Bob Levey

Because when they say "You know, it could be worse," they're talking about Yuniesky Betancourt.

Among qualifiers:

  • 14th worst SLG (.358) - added because his best tool is his "pop"
  • 4th worst IF/FB (19%) - % of fly balls on infield. So, first pitch popups.
  • 3rd worst OPS+ (58)
  • 3rd worst BA (.209)
  • T-1st worst BB% (3.3%)
  • T-1st worst LD% (16%)
  • 1st worst P/PA (3.30)
  • 1st worst OBP (.237)
  • 1st worst WAR (-1.4)

And the most egregious yet: 5th most PA for Milwaukee Brewers (241)

The premise of this list is so entrenched in the educated baseball fan's psyche that it isn't even worth introducing. Plus, I pretty much said it in the title. But, you get it.

Jeff Bianchi: This one's really easy, because he's already on the active roster, and as far as I know, still alive. Literally nothing would have to happen after Yuni's release to use Bianchi instead of him. Just run with 24 players. Addition by subtraction.

Blake Lalli: This is another simple solution, as Lalli is already on the Brewers' 40-man roster. He was less than spectacular in his brief stint with the Brewers in April/May, reaching base just 3 times (all singles) in 24 plate appearances. But, he's left-handed, which seems to matter somehow, and he proved to be marginally capable at 1B. And in the context of this discussion, "marginally capable" is more than enough.

Hunter Morris, Sean Halton, Stephen Parker, Jason Rogers, Shea Vucinich, Mike Walker, Cody Hawn, Nick Ramirez, Brandon Macias, Michael Garza, Adam Giacalone, Jose Sermo, Taylor Brennan, Jalen Harris, and Alan Sharkey: These are all currently listed corner infielders in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization not on the 40-man. All it would take is releasing Yuni and purchasing one of these guy's contracts.

I sense myself getting a bit sarcastic, but I can argue soberly that Morris and Halton are two players who undoubtedly should be getting Betancourt's ABs, if not Lalli or Bianchi. We're all familiar with Morris, who despite having an iffy start to the season at AAA (.235/.326/.469), is actually in Milwaukee's future plans. The only thing keeping him from the big leagues appears to be the front office's desire for more minor league experience, and, maybe, delaying his arbitration clock.

In 5 seasons, spanning the Brewers' various minor league affiliates, Halton has posted a very respectable .292/.350/.451 slash line, and has been crushing it in June with an OPS of 1.058. Brewers' first basemen have batted .185/.223/.294 this season. Yeah. What can it possibly hurt to give someone like Halton some big league exposure?

Garrett Cooper, David Denson, Jesse Weiss, and Tucker Neuhaus all recently signed after being drafted earlier this month, so they should probably be part of the conversation. There are still a few unsigned infielders - JaVon Shelby, Charles Leblanc, and Luis Aviles - so the Brewers could kill two birds with one stone and get the just-turned 18 year old shortstop Shelby into a Brewers uniform. He may be wiry. And he may have never played first base. Or professional ball. But he most certainly is not Yuniesky Betancourt.

Carlos Lee & Aubrey Huff: I hitch them with an ampersand because they were the subject of conversation as soon as the extent of Hart's injury became evident early in the season. I don't know if these guys are in shape, but if Juan Francisco is any indication, the Brewers don't seem to be too worried about that kind of thing.

Casey McGehee: Thought of him because he's a former Brewers success story. And he's a nice guy. He is raking in Japan, though - a .313/.393/.540 slash line in 242 PA for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. It must count for something.

Adam Heether (BR): Longtime Brewers' minor leaguer until Oakland stole him away in 2010. Utility infielder. For some reason I always wanted him to get called up. Never happened. Do it, Doug.

Bill Hall: First base is the only position he didn't play in the major leagues (he played 1 game there for Baltimore's AAA affiliate in 2012). Let's change that. Otherwise it will haunt him forever. I also have it on good authority that he can pitch in a pinch.

Russell Branyan: I miss him. You miss him. He's listed as a free agent. Why hasn't this happened?

Now that I've listed enough off-the-top-of-my-head grisled veterans/former Brewers that wouldn't really give the team any sort of long-term benefit (in other words, the most likely candidates), time to to scour the dregs of the free agent pool.

Travis Denker (BR): 27 year old 21st round pick by the Dodgers in '03. Made a brief appearance with the Giants in '08. Never heard of him, actually. Apparently he's in independent ball right now. In 11 minor league seasons he's posted an .812 OPS. Good walk rates. Why not?

Koby Clemens (BR): Roger's firstborn. Drafted by the Astros in '05. Now 26. Similar to Denker's career slash line, but showed a bit more pop in Astros' AA and AAA affiliates in 2010/2011. Like Denker, now in independent ball. But let's face it, he's on this list because he plays first base, and his last name made me click.

Jake Fox (BR): Failed Cubs utility man prospect, currently mashing in independent ball. Minor stick-it-to-the-Cubs appeal. Losing interest in statistics, honestly. Whatever. He isn't Yuni. He's 0.0% Yuni. There.

Jharmidy De Jesus (BR): Some guy Seattle released. Never got past AA. I just like his name.

Marcus Hanel: You know that guy's been chomping at the bit to get in a big league game.

Brett Favre: This could be his way of appeasing some of the Wisconsin people he pissed off. He may have retired from football, but he is, presumably, still capable of occupying space.

Scott Skiles: He's looking for work, isn't he?

The Racing Bratwurst: Not very agile, but the sheer size and range (falling to left or right) could wipe out a lot of line drives otherwise destined for the right field corner.

That big guy two rows in front of me: I swear I overheard him saying he played college ball. Worth a phone call, at least.

A parking meter/toll booth: Instead of Yuni's presence subtracting wins and the subsequent decrease in ticket sales, the Brewers could make hay by instituting a small fee for baserunners. With the rate at which Brewers' pitchers allow them, the meter could get the Brewers back into long-term extension talks with Jean Segura.

This is tired. I know. But after starting an entire series against Houston contributing a couple miserable errors and a truly brutal 1-11 display at the plate - on top of a notoriously awful track record - it's just too much to bear.

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