Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kind words from Keith Law about the Royals' new shortstop

Well-respected ESPN writer Keith Law ripped Yuniesky Betancourt to shreds in a recent post and criticized the Royals for making the trade. He says Betancourt "might very well be the worst everyday player in the majors."

Ouch. That's rough. But his criticism didn't end there:

Betancourt does nothing well on a baseball field. He can't hit and has lost bat speed since reaching the majors. He hacks at everything he sees, and even swings at pitches thrown to other hitters. He has next to no range at short. And he never hustles on anything -- not balls hit in his direction, not ground balls he might have a chance to beat out (well, before he let himself go physically). Other than all that, he's Honus Wagner.

Good golly, man, why don't you tell us how you really feel?

I'm not sure, though. No, I don't like the trade - two pitching prospects for a player EVERYBODY is down on? - but I don't think Betancourt is as bad as people seem to think he is. He's a career .279 hitter, which sure as hell is better than the Royals' average, and he's had three pretty consistent, injury-free seasons in Seattle until this year. On top of that, he's only 27, which puts him right at the beginning of his baseball "prime."

I'm hoping this is one of those deals where, in a couple years, everybody looks back and says, "You know, that wasn't such a bad trade for the Royals."

Let's just hope Yuniesky is not the next Neifi Perez.

--Matt Kelsey

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