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Yuniesky Betancourt Lives Down to Expectations

Yuniesky Betancourt came to Milwaukee with a laundry list of criticisms. He’s bad defensively. He doesn’t run out grounders. He’s not much of a hitter. On top of that, he isn’t patient at the plate. In the first series of the year, we managed to see all of those criticisms come to life with our own eyes.

He made a heads-up play on a 6-1 double play early in Sunday’s game, but also botched a backhand later in the game for his first official error of the season. Starting the season 0-for-11, Betancourt seemed to be running in slow motion on his groundouts and didn’t hit a ball hard all weekend. Not only was he constantly making weak contact, but he was doing it early in the count. In fact, as the weekend wore on, his patience got worse:

Thursday – 14 pitches seen in 4 PA (3.5 pitches per plate appearance)
AB 1 – Strike (looking), Ball, Strike (foul), Ball, Wild Pitch, Strikeout (swinging)
AB 2 – Ball, Ground Out
AB 3 – Strike (foul), Strike (foul), Ball, Ball, Ground Out
AB 4 – Strike (looking), Fly Out

Saturday – 8 pitches seen in 3 PA (2.6 P/PA)
AB 1 – Strike (looking), Ground Out
AB 2 – Strike (foul), Fly Out
AB 3 – Strike (looking), Strike (foul), Foul, Pop Out

Sunday – 10 pitches in 4 PA (2.5 P/PA)
AB 1 – Strike (foul), Ball, Fly Out
AB 2 – Strike (foul), Ball, Ball, Fly Out
AB 3 – Strike (foul), Ground Out
AB 4 – Ground Out

Betancourt swung at the first pitch in every AB on Sunday, and began his AB ahead in the count only once all weekend. And we thought Carlos Gomez had little patience.

It’s a small sample size, but it appears everything we’ve heard about Betancourt is true. These are the same things people have been saying about Betancourt for years, and they’re already showing this early in the season. He looks like one of the worst players on the roster to start the year, and that’s saying a lot considering we also got a heavy dose of Mark Kotsay in Cincinnati.

There are a lot of things we saw this weekend that we shouldn’t be worried about quite yet, but Betancourt is one guy that should continue to be a concern. Craig Counsell can’t start every day, but there’s no reason for Betancourt to start every game in a series.