Community Projection: Yuniesky Betancourt

Dave · February 13, 2007 at 8:31 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

143 of you have spoken, and Yuniesky Betancourt is apparently going to experience deja vu this season. I’d imagine that his projection will look closer to his 2006 season line than any other projection we end up doing. Take a look at this:

2006 Actual Performance: .289/.311/.403, 558 AB, 161 H, 28 2B, 6 3B, 8 HR, 17 BB, 1 HBP, 54 K
Community Projection: .289/.320/.410, 562 AB, 162 H, 29 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 23 BB, 3 HBP, 59 K

4 more at-bats, 1 more double, 6 more walks, 2 more hit by pitches, and 5 more strikeouts, but other than that, it’s the exact same line. I’ve been spearheading the “Betancourt has essentially maxed out his skillset” argument for the past six months or so, and while I agree with the general sentiment that there’s not much room for growth, I didn’t mean that he’s literally going to just repeat last year over and over.

The other projections of note:

Low Projection: .218/.247/.318 – probably the least believable “real projection” we’ve had yet.
High Projection: .311/.351/.461
Dave Projection: .279/.314/.374

Comments

48 Responses to “Community Projection: Yuniesky Betancourt”

  1. Josh on February 13th, 2007 8:57 pm

    I had him just shy of a .700 OPS, but for what he does at short and while hitting 9th, at his price, I find that to be great.

  2. xeifrank on February 13th, 2007 9:46 pm

    [ot]

  3. TheMsfan on February 13th, 2007 10:14 pm

    ill take that every year if he can continue to gobble up baseballs like….i dont know, something that gobbles a lot

  4. DKCecil on February 13th, 2007 10:19 pm

    I see a slight bit more power out of him, in exchange for a couple of hits. Otherwise, I don’t see where the improvement or decrease in production would come from.

  5. IdahoInvader on February 13th, 2007 10:28 pm

    He’s a marvel to watch at ss. But it would be nice if he learned it won’t kill him to lay off the first two pitches if neither is in the strike zone.

  6. kentroyals5 on February 13th, 2007 10:41 pm

    Obviously, Im not a baseball player, but how hard is it to be more disciplined at the plate for a young player? Some of the greatest hitters never swing at first pitches…anyone have any idea on how ‘teaching betancourt to take some pitches’ could be done.

  7. Adam S on February 13th, 2007 11:03 pm

    In terms of standard deviation, does Betancourt have the closest set of projections of the players we’ve done. The OPS difference between high and consensus is only .082. It would be great if he could somehow learn to walk 50 times per season, but I don’t see that happening.

  8. Evan on February 13th, 2007 11:56 pm

    Lookout Landing has all the statistical content for these results.

  9. mark s. on February 14th, 2007 2:12 am

    My gf wanted me to put him down for 74 HRs. We compromised at 13 HRs.

  10. Mike G. on February 14th, 2007 2:56 am

    I don’t think he’ll be a repeat .300 hitter, around .280 or so but I projected a little more power out of him this year. That’s a trade-off I can live with.

  11. Calderon on February 14th, 2007 7:56 am

    At 25 he’s maxed out his skill-set??

    If Troy Tulowitzki was entering his second full season at age 25 for the Rockies would you make the same claim?

    One guy is from Santa Clara, Cuba, the other is from Santa Clara, California.

    I’m curious what metric factors you are using to form that opinion.

  12. Manzanillos Cup on February 14th, 2007 7:57 am

    Where does Yuni rank with Cabrera, Young, and Crosby?

  13. S-Mac on February 14th, 2007 8:21 am

    1: Yuni definitely has the edge over Jolbert ;)
    2: Yuni has the edge because Young appears to have a specially-designed glove that’s magnetically opposed to finding the ball.
    3: Yuni has the edge because the majority of his bones are fully intact.

  14. frenchonion on February 14th, 2007 8:57 am

    It’s hard to forecast Yuni because I don’t feel very certain that I know his actual age. The forecast predicts that he’s peaked, which means his bottom end career projection would be about that of Felix Fermin.

  15. Dave on February 14th, 2007 9:07 am

    At 25 he’s maxed out his skill-set??

    Pretty much, yea. It’s not about age – it’s about skills. Different skills peak at different ages. Betancourt’s contact-and-run skillset peaks a lot earlier than that of a tall, thin power hitter.

    If Troy Tulowitzki was entering his second full season at age 25 for the Rockies would you make the same claim?

    They’re wildly different players. There’s no reason to compare them. Go look at Cristian Guzman’s career.

    I’m curious what metric factors you are using to form that opinion.

    Well, I came up with this thesis long before PECOTA came out, but the projection systems that compare him with similar players agree with me – he posted a .252 EqA last year, and it has his EqA for the next 5 years being .251, .255, .253, .251, and .253.

    This kind of player peaks early.

  16. chrisisasavage on February 14th, 2007 9:07 am

    I think Dave was saying that he is a slap hitter who legs out most of his hits, and gets a majority of his value from his speed and defense, and his type of player/skillset usually peaks early (24-26) relative to the league. Think Pokey Reese.

  17. chrisisasavage on February 14th, 2007 9:12 am

    There are exceptions though. Julio Franco was essentially the same player early in his career, but developed more power as he lost his speed.

  18. Calderon on February 14th, 2007 9:23 am

    Age questions can largely be ruled out thanks to Homeland Security. Go check out your local little league in the United States and you can see plenty age fraud cases with forged birth certificates.

    Yuni projects to be ranked with some of the all-time great Latin shortstops. He’s better than Aparicio and Dave Concepcion, and could be better than Vizquel.

    Here are examples of great Latin shortsops that performed well at the start of their careers and didn’t start declining after their second full season in the majors.

    Luis Aparicio

    Minnie Minoso

    Orlando Cepeda

    Omar Vizquel

  19. Dave on February 14th, 2007 9:27 am

    There are exceptions to everything. Betancourt could become Barry Larkin – his #5 PECOTA comp – and I wouldn’t be shocked. We just shouldn’t expect it.

  20. Eugene on February 14th, 2007 10:23 am

    Dave, in the past you made a good argument for why you wouldn’t trade YB for Tejada straight up. In terms of the total package (offensive and defensive contributions, as well as contract), how would you rank YB among current shortstops?

  21. DMZ on February 14th, 2007 10:35 am

    Yuni projects to be ranked with some of the all-time great Latin shortstops. He’s better than Aparicio and Dave Concepcion, and could be better than Vizquel.

    I don’t know where you’re getting this, but it’s just not true. Betancourt’s a huge ground-ball hitter, and those guys don’t develop the kind of gap power even that you’re looking for. If he starts to put the ball in the air, becoming a different hitter entirely, well, maybe.

  22. Evan on February 14th, 2007 10:41 am

    Calderon – you’re completely ignoring what sort of hitters these guys are. That Yuni’s Latin is irrelevant. His skill set (put the ball on the ground and run like the wind) is entirely unlike those other guys you mentioned.

  23. Dave on February 14th, 2007 10:46 am

    In terms of the total package (offensive and defensive contributions, as well as contract), how would you rank YB among current shortstops?

    Contract is a big part of it. He’s essentially a league average shortstop who won’t make any real money for a couple of years, and that’s really valuable. In terms of trade value, without looking into it with too much depth, Betancourt would rank behind Jose Reyes, Stephen Drew, and Hanley Ramirez among major league shortstops, and that’s about it.

  24. terry on February 14th, 2007 10:51 am

    Betancourt’s contact-and-run skill set peaks a lot earlier than that of a tall, thin power hitter.

    I’m curious about how body type fits into all of this. At this point, most of the 5 systems are roughly similarly accurate an average but Pecota probably is at the forefront of projecting 4 years into the future(it’s one of the things I think that the people at BP are proud of). Pecota doesn’t factor in body type though-at least not directly (or if I’m mistaken, body type certainly isn’t one of the main criteria).

    How important is body type to these issues?

  25. DMZ on February 14th, 2007 10:54 am

    Pecota does take a stab at body type.

  26. Ralph Malph on February 14th, 2007 10:55 am

    Here are examples of great Latin shortsops that performed well at the start of their careers and didn’t start declining after their second full season in the majors.

    Luis Aparicio

    Minnie Minoso

    Orlando Cepeda

    Cepeda and Minoso were not shortstops.

  27. Dave on February 14th, 2007 11:03 am

    How important is body type to these issues?

    As Derek notes, PECOTA does incorporate body type, and multiple studies have found that it’s quite important. If Betancourt was 6’3, this would be another story – he’d have room to add weight to his body without becoming pudgy, and the potential for additional power would be significantly higher.

    Basically, Betancourt’s small frame and extreme groundball tendencies limit his power potential, and his general approach at the plate limits his on base potential. His offensive value is going to be solely derived by hitting a lot of singles, and there’s just not a lot of room for growth in that category.

  28. Trev on February 14th, 2007 11:25 am

    In terms of trade value, without looking into it with too much depth, Betancourt would rank behind Jose Reyes, Stephen Drew, and Hanley Ramirez among major league shortstops, and that’s about it.

    Bill Hall
    Carlos Guillen (if you’re a contender)
    Edgar Renteria (if you throw in the Boston cash, he’s at 2/$10M)

    Basically, all these guys are 25-40 runs better with the Bat than Yuni, and defensive metrics have them as average/slightly below average (not more than -10 runs below). If you believe Yuni is +20 runs above average with the glove, he’s still short by nearly a win.

  29. Trev on February 14th, 2007 11:36 am

    Bill Hall
    Carlos Guillen (if you’re a contender)
    Edgar Renteria (if you throw in the Boston cash, he’s at 2/$10M)

    Ok, I realize that Betancourt is under club control for 5 more years, and the others are only locked up for 4, 1, and 2 years respectively. But getting +10 runs above average from your SS over a shorter period of time is better than 5 years at average.

    Two more names:
    Jhonny Peralta (average his 2005/2006 #’s)
    Jason Bartlett (maybe a push)

  30. chrisisasavage on February 14th, 2007 11:37 am

    #28, I think Dave was talking $$$ per marginal win, not overall production.

  31. Dave on February 14th, 2007 11:41 am

    Bill Hall is no longer a shortstop – the Brewers are moving him to the outfield. If you’re going to include guys who theoretically could play shorstop, might as well throw A-Rod into the mix.

    Carlos Guillen has one year left on his deal, then is a free agent, and the Tigers are already talking about moving him to first base. If you’d trade Betancourt for Guillen straight up, you’d be hurting your franchise.

    Edgar Renteria is one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball. He’s a worse player than Betancourt, not even counting the contract status.

    Jhonny Peralta’s 2005 season was a career year. And he’s lousy with the glove.

    I can’t even justify a response to Jason Bartlett. I hope that was a joke.

    Also, this:

    But getting +10 runs above average from your SS over a shorter period of time is better than 5 years at average.

    Not true.

  32. Eugene on February 14th, 2007 11:45 am

    Hall’s an interesting case, although he’s not really a shortstop anymore. He almost seems to have had a rapid onset of old player skills.

  33. Trev on February 14th, 2007 11:47 am

    All I’m saying is that Betancourt’s top 10 (upper-third) instead of top 5 for SS by “trade value”.

    $$$/win isn’t linear. It’s exponential. You’d pay more $$$/win for a 5 win player that a 3 win player. At some point, you pure performance does matter over performance/salary. Since we’ve agreed that Yuni’s performance isn’t likely to increase over his next 5 years, then there will be players whose performance is worth paying extra for over that short time period.

  34. Dave on February 14th, 2007 11:47 am

    I wouldn’t say Hall has old player skills – lightning fast bat, low walk totals, decent batting average. Those aren’t old player skills. Troy Glaus has old player skills. Adam Dunn has old player skills.

    Bill Hall’s just an aggressive hitter with some serious batspeed who strikes out a lot.

  35. Dave on February 14th, 2007 11:48 am

    $$$/win isn’t linear. It’s exponential. You’d pay more $$$/win for a 5 win player that a 3 win player. At some point, you pure performance does matter over performance/salary. Since we’ve agreed that Yuni’s performance isn’t likely to increase over his next 5 years, then there will be players whose performance is worth paying extra for over that short time period.

    While the theory is true, 10 runs for one or two years is not worth a full time, league average player making nothing for an entire season. It’s just not.

  36. Chiro1623 on February 14th, 2007 11:53 am

    Uni has peaked. A very lucky year… A 245 hitter if that.

  37. DMZ on February 14th, 2007 11:56 am

    245? How do you figure?

  38. chrisisasavage on February 14th, 2007 11:56 am

    It may not be linear, but you’re talking $340K per win, none of those guys come close to that, even taking non-linearity of $/win into account.

  39. Trev on February 14th, 2007 12:10 pm

    Going off of one season of Dial’s numbers, most of these guys aren’t atrocious with the glove. When you’ve got an 82-win team, having an average SS doesn’t improve the team. (Having an underpaid average SS does free resources to use elsewhere.)

    Ok, the problem with all of this is that there needs to be a definition of “team” that is trading Betancourt for X shortstop. If we use the M’s, then they’re an 82-win team w/ Betancourt, and if they were close to making the playoffs, they’d be willing to spend “over budget” to do so (we hope).

    Betancourt’s value to the M’s is that he’s average production for under-average price. The guys you listed (Ramirez, Reyes, Drew) are above-average production for under-average price. All I’m saying is that there are guys who perform above-average and cost above average, and that at a certain point it makes sense to trade Betancourt for one of them.

    Should we trade Betancourt now? No. We’re an 82 win team. Getting 2+ wins isn’t worth the value over Betancourt. But if we’re an 87 or 89 win team, paying more to get 2 wins over Betancourt is going to be worth it. If the M’s had made some different moves over the offseason and were an “87 win team”, then yes, trading Betancourt for Guillen might be worth it.

  40. Dave on February 14th, 2007 12:31 pm

    Going off of one season of Dial’s numbers, most of these guys aren’t atrocious with the glove. When you’ve got an 82-win team, having an average SS doesn’t improve the team. (Having an underpaid average SS does free resources to use elsewhere.)

    Going off Dial’s numbers, Betancourt’s not very good defensively. We know better. Renteria and Peralta suck at shortstop.

    All I’m saying is that there are guys who perform above-average and cost above average, and that at a certain point it makes sense to trade Betancourt for one of them.

    It’s a balancing act – if the difference in cost far exceeds the difference in performance, then it doesn’t. And for all the guys you listed, the difference in cost is far removed from the difference in value.

    But if we’re an 87 or 89 win team, paying more to get 2 wins over Betancourt is going to be worth it. If the M’s had made some different moves over the offseason and were an “87 win team”, then yes, trading Betancourt for Guillen might be worth it.

    No, it wouldn’t. At best, you’re looking at something like a 30 run advantage for Guillen over Betancourt in 2007. It’s probably closer to 20 runs, but whatever, we’ll go with 30 just for fun. 30 runs, in a season where you’re contending, are probably worth something like $15 million, according to most of the work that’s been done on the value of wins, even non-linear win formulas.

    Factoring in the time value of money, Betancourt would probably need to create about $20 million in value over the next four years for it to no longer be a good idea to trade him for Guillen, assuming the M’s were a contender.

    The going rate for a league average SS is about $9 million. So, we’ll say $36 million over four years, approximately (see Lugo, Julio). Betancourt is under contract for 2007 and 2008 for a total of about $1.5 million. He’ll then be arbitration eligible in 2009 and 2010, where we should expect him to earn about $4 million and $6 million in those years, respectively.

    Total cost for four years of Betancourt: $11.5 million or so. Total value: $36 million or so. Value: $25 million.

    There’s no way that Carlos Guillen’s 20-30 run advantage in 2007 is worth $25 million.

  41. Calderon on February 14th, 2007 12:41 pm

    Ralph Malph,

    you are correct. I messed up on the comps there.

    If there are always exceptions to the rule, then Betancourt will be one of those exceptions in my opinion. Body-type shouldn’t be a negative for Betancourt because he pulls the ball for his power. I won’t be surprised
    when Yuni also increases his homerun output next year.

  42. dw on February 14th, 2007 12:44 pm

    Not ONE mention that pitchers and catchers report today?

    This is the Easter Vigil of the new season, people. The Church of Baseball is about to leave Hot Stove Time.

  43. msb on February 14th, 2007 12:51 pm

    well, it is just physicals today, with actual fieldwork not happening until tomorrow …. Larue does have a few health updates today

  44. DMZ on February 14th, 2007 1:10 pm

    There’s a post on that.

  45. Evan on February 14th, 2007 3:00 pm

    I wouldn’t say Hall has old player skills – lightning fast bat, low walk totals, decent batting average. Those aren’t old player skills. Troy Glaus has old player skills.

    And Troy Glaus played 8 games at short last season.

  46. joser on February 14th, 2007 3:07 pm

    And Troy Glaus played 8 games at short last season.

    Not by choice.

  47. Mat on February 14th, 2007 3:07 pm

    I can’t even justify a response to Jason Bartlett. I hope that was a joke.

    PECOTA has Bartlett at 7 runs better as a hitter. Bartlett has pretty good range, but poor throwing mechanics that tend to make his throws erratic. All told, I’d say he’s probably about average on defense, maybe a touch below. The going rate for premium defenders tends to be 20 runs above average, right? That comes out to a difference between Betancourt and Bartlett of about 13-15 runs in Yuniesky’s favor or something like that.

    In long-term value, I’ll give you that Bartlett seems like a guy who’ll have two or three good seasons and then fade quickly, while Betancourt will probably be about what he is for 4-5 years, maybe more.

    I guess maybe you think that’s a big enough difference that it doesn’t justify a response. In the realm of things that are mentioned in the comments, I suppose I don’t see it as totally crazy.

  48. Evan on February 14th, 2007 4:40 pm

    Not by choice.

    If I recall correctly, no one thought it was a good idea at the time, not even John Gibbons, and it was his idea.

    I liked it, though. The Jays had such an extreme flyball pitching staff (aside from Halladay) that shortstop defense really didn’t matter that much, and playing Glaus at short allowed them to replace Russ Adams in the lineup with Gregg Zaun. That’s a huge upgrade with the bat.

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