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Wilson Betemit – When Wilson Betemit was 15, the Atlanta Braves signed him to a contract.  He hit .212/.270/.283 in his first year at rookie ball and .220/.301/.399 his second year. He was just 16.

The following year he got his act together as an enterprising 17-year-old posting an admirable .320/.383/.463 line. He snuck into the top 100 prospects before the following season and would remain on that list until the end of 2003. At one point, he was the 8th best prospect in all the land.

He debuted in the majors with the Braves in 2001 at age 19 and didn’t get enough at bats to do anything. However, he wouldn’t return to the bigs until 2004, as a seasoned veteran (he was 22). He didn’t fair all that well, but the next year he saw 274 plate appearances in the majors and went .305/.359/.435. That would be the best stretch of his career.

Since then, he was traded for Willy Aybar, Danys Baez and cash in one deal, Scott Proctor in another and (along with Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez) for Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Texeira.

Finally, in 2010 – a shocking 14 years after he signed his first contract – he would seemingly find a home with the Kansas City Royals. He appeared in 84 games for the Royals and went .297/.378/.511.

At 29, this season, Betemit has gone .297/.358/.419. If you combine the last two years, you get 496 plate appearances and a .300/.375/.484 line with a 162-game average of 20 HRs.

This isn’t the most objective piece as I have about a bazillion Betemit rookie cards (and boy was he skinny). But, in my opinion, the only thing stopping Betemit from being a top 10 third baseman is playing time (and Mike Moustakas). A final Betemit line will look a lot like .290/.350/.440 with 13-15 HRs. What a long strange trip it’s been.

Jeremy Guthrie – In 2002, the Cleveland Indians made Guthrie the 22nd pick of the draft. He’d dominate AA and earn a quick promotion to AAA, where things didn’t go so well. He started the next season in AA hoping to rekindle the previous year’s promise. It didn’t work, nor did his promotion to AAA. In 2005, he spent the entire year at AAA and did nothing (5.08 ERA and 1.47 WHIP). Still he had a not completely miserable 2.04 K/BB ratio.

Finally, in 2006, at 27 years old, Guthrie would show promise at AAA: 3.14 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. However, he had little success with the major league club in very few innings and the Orioles plucked him off waivers. This might have been one of the smartest things that club has done in a decade.

In 2007, Guthrie showed all the promise of a late first rounder. He had a 2.07 K/BB rate, a 3.70 ERA, and 6.31 K/9 rate. While he has averaged 12 loses per year in his four full seasons with the Orioles, he also has a 2.20 K/BB rate, 4.06 ERA and 5.5 K/9 rate.

He has actually improved on those numbers, so far, in 2011, posting a 5.85 K/9 rate and 3.71 K/BB rate. For the first time in his career Guthrie is walking less than two batters per nine innings – significantly less.

What is most surprising is that batters are making more and better contact on strikes. His line drive rate is up and his ground ball rate is down. However, his BABIP is about where it has been for his career.

I’d be mildly surprised if Guthrie, all of a sudden, stopped walking guys. However, it isn’t a total mirage. By the end of the year, Guthrie will pitch 200+ innings with an ERA in the 3.80 – 4.00 range, 140 Ks and a very nice 1.25 WHIP. Can anyone say Tim Hudson? He’d look real good in an Indians uniform right about now.

Phil Humber – I’m not sure what Earl Weaver would say about a 6-man rotation, however it’s not as if one White Sox pitcher is discernibly better than another.

In fact, Humber might have one of the better pedigrees on the entire staff. He was the 3rd overall pick by the New York Mets in 2004. After the draft, Humber was immediately ranked the #50 prospect in all of baseball.

Unfortunately, he injured his elbow in his first start in AA in 2005 and was out of baseball recuperating for 377 days.

In 2008, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins as part of the Johan Santana deal. He didn’t show much promise for the Twins in AAA, walking over three batters per nine in his two seasons and allowing a ton of hits. Still, he did post a 7 and 6.5 K/9-rate, so there was some promise. However, not enough for the Twins to keep him around as he was granted his free agency

The Royals signed him in 2009 and on August 5, 2010 he earned a promotion. Twenty days later, Humber got his first major league win.

While he pitched reasonably well for the Royals, it was only 21.2 innings and he was placed on waivers. The Athletics took a run at him before, ultimately, the White Sox plucked him off the wire.

This year, Humber has pitched 67.2 innings for the Sox, posting a 3.06 ERA, 4.08 xFIP, 5.05 K/9 and 1.86 BB/9. Any way you slice it, he’s been good in a real world sense.

Humber is getting a decent swinging strike percentage (8.3%) and a pretty low contact rate (82.2%). In addition, batters don’t seem to be making great contact against him (16.1% line drive rate). Still, that .224 BABIP is not going to continue.

I really like the Humber story. I’m very happy for him. Not only did he overcome the surgery and journeyman waiver process, but he was also struck in the face by a line drive. I just can’t really advocate his fantasy ownership. At some point, he won’t be a full time starter, and, even if he continues to start, we’re looking at a 4.50 ERA at best, 5.4 K/9 and maybe 165 total innings.

AL-only seems like the only place for him. Still, if he could end up on a National League squad at some point, things could get more interesting.

31 Responses

  1. Sean says:
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    So i have to ask (because well that is what everyone else on this website does!)

    I have Mini Donkey in my keeper league (no bench and the DL spots are taken by trout and roberts)

    Should I drop Pedro, who i could keep for life, or pick up betemit? I would just hate to have Alvarez come back and hit like he did the last half of 2010. He is just eating my 3b position.

    Or should I jump and grab chisenhall? Who could be just as good and healthier……….

  2. I would actually drop Brian Roberts – no time table on him coming back – hasnt been healthy for a loooooong time.

    Unless you are super close to winning, dropping Alvarez now is a little dangerous. he will hit eventually and if you can keep for life with no penalty you will regret it (until he turns into a 1b).

    I’d drop Roberts for Betemit now, then Chisenhall when he gets the call

  3. Stormin' Norman says:
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    @Sean:

    I basically had the same dilemma in RCL 5 and I just have both Roberts/Alvarez on the bench while starting Betemit when I can. It doesn’t make sense to drop those guys because the moment they come back, they’ll hurt cha.

    But ya, if you HAVE to, drop Roberts. Sunken costs, every year.

  4. Sean says:
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    @Albert, thanks- its an odd league once you put him on DL he stays there until he comes off, cant drop him. And the only way to drop them in this league is if they do go on dl, so you have a choice, hold onto him or put him back on waivers. Pedro is on the dl but not taking up a dl spot.

    @Stormin- Yeah i agree, lucky for me my offense is pulling me through so i guess i will hold.

  5. @Sean:

    If that’s the case you’re kind of screwed. So yeah, might as well hold pat. Any small increase you’d make would be offset by future losses due to the Alvarez drop.

  6. sean says:
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    @Sean: welcome to the comments. Would you mind changing your username? I kind have a reputation to uphold/destroy around these parts…

  7. @sean:

    worlds are colliding?

    As sean said…welcome to the comments – anything thing is fair game, you post, i respond…just the way it works. Like of me as Jeffrey from Fresh Prince of Bel Air

  8. Sean says:
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    @sean But my name is capitalized, yours isnt………:)

  9. Matt B says:
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    I have ryan zimmerman, hanley ramirez, carlos gonzalez on my team. Are any of these guys going to heat up for the rest of the year?

  10. @Matt B:

    well two are injured, so that makes it difficult.

    CarGo is fine just needs a few more home games. I’d like to think Zimm/Hanley will be rearing to go once they’re off the DL, but it’s anybody’s guess

  11. bobbo says:
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    @Matt B: I feel your pain… I have CarGo, Hanley, Wright, Mauer, and Heyward…

  12. xopchipili says:
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    welp, Moose got the call. Care to update your Betemit projection?

  13. @bobbo:

    i’m in a 14-team league with no moves….have longo-wright-hanley-thome-soriano .. not so good

  14. @xopchipili:

    we’ll see….i dont think Moustakas will stick. I also think there are at bats for Betemit…we shall see.

  15. John says:
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    Hmm would Moustakas be getting every day at bats? and he seems like he has some power with 36 home runs last year. Any projections for him this year?

  16. @John:

    From what I’ve read, Moustakas has played in pretty favorable parks (especially for lefties).

    He hasnt walked a ton in the minors and does sport a near 20% K-rate.

    Just think it might be an adjustment period for him. That said, i dont think they brought him up to sit, so he’ll play. I dont think he’ll take off like a Hosmer did

  17. @John:

    That said, he does profile as a good power source. Maybe he’ll have a rough start like Alvarez did last year, but ultimately put up some good numbers.

  18. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    Leo Nunez’s back is barking. Who’s the one to pick up?

  19. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    @Albert Lang: I have Mujica, Contreras, and Alexi Casilla available to drop. I could go balls out for Florida vulture Saves by dropping both Contreras and Casilla for Dunn and Sanches!

  20. @Shmorgie S. Board:

    Seems like a deep league, so you might want to hang onto Cassila (even though he isnt so good). I cant see Contreras getting saves (although Madson did blow one spectacularly tonight). So i’d have no prob dropping Jose for Dunn.

    Are holds a category? I cant imagine Mujica being that high on the saves list for the Marlins, but it’s a jumble there.

  21. @grey
    please rank these catchers as you foresee them finishing up the year in standard 5×5 roto….

    lucroy
    soto
    napoli
    ramon hernandez
    olivo
    arencibia

  22. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    @Albert Lang: Wound up dropping Casilla and Mujica for Sanches and Dunn. I agree with you on Contreras, but I couldn’t convince myself to drop Contreras, as he still is the next in line for saves right now in their pen. We don’t count Holds but we are a deep league: 14 teams, 25 man active slots, 2 DL slots.

  23. @kR Express:

    Hope I can rank for you –

    Napoli (15 more HRs, not great average…will do it in less ABs than Arencibia so average wont hurt as much)
    Ramon Hernandez (6 more HRs good average, better line-up than Lucroy)
    Lucroy (6 more HRs, steady average)
    Arencibia (good for 15 more HRs, poor average)
    Soto (10 more HRs, poor average)
    Olivo – maybe 8 more HRs, poor average.

    All are similar options, and if a shallow league, it might make sense to simply grab the hot hand.

  24. @Shmorgie S. Board:

    I love Bastardo myself in that pen and worry about Lidge coming back. But you’re right that Contreras has a chance at saves. In a league that deep, you have to make leaps to get closers. I’m a fan of that move (Cassila isnt any good anyway)

  25. Alex says:
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    Good stuff, Albert.

    I did not see this Guthrie thing coming. But I just reverse-psychologized an owner with data found here to deal for him for basically peanuts.

    Give me more. You do all the heavy lifting. I do the swindling.

  26. @Alex:

    Thanks Alex….glad you read and enjoyed.

    People laughed when i said Guthrie would be a lot like Tim hudson…well hey now!

  27. I too have a Wilson Betemit RC from the Bowman 2001 set which I was considereing putting in the spokes of my sons bike…. until now of course. A couple more years of stats like these and it may net me around $4. Yes!

  28. @Albert: My Betemit card came autographed by him. At first I felt the autograph may actually DE-value the card. haha

  29. @Chris McBrien:

    I’m pretty sure autos can devalue cards, but whatever. When i was a kid my dad took me to a card show where Warren Spahn appeared. I got his auto on one of those new but old timey-looking cards. It’s pretty sweet.

    I’ve fallen out of getting auto cards. The last one was a Palmer on like an ’83 Fleer.

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