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Yuni vs. the playoffs October 1, 2007

Posted by Brad in stats.
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First off, a one-game playoff that turns into a 13-inning event capped by a play at the plate? This is the only time I’ve ever wanted to be a Rockies fan.

Now that the playoff teams are set, I thought I’d compare the Mariners’ beloved Yuniesky Betancourt to his 8 counterparts who get to keep playing. Who’s the best, and who’d I rather have than Yuni? (These spots are based on Baseball Reference, which tracks by innings played at a position)

Bachelor #1:
Yuniesky Betancourt: AVG .289, OBP .308, SLG .418, 2007 Salary $727,500

Boston: Julio Lugo: .237, .294, .349, $8.25
I should rely on statistical analysis, but I’ll throw out Lugo, for the shady way his previous marriage ended. There’s just some players it becomes hard to root for. (And the Mariners have had their share, with Julio Mateo and Carl Everett on the team within the past two years)

Los Angeles (of Anaheim): Orlando Cabrera: .301, .345, .397, $8.5 million
Cabrera’s 8 years older, almost $8 million more costly, but gets you 40 more on base points, but with a lower slugging percentage. He’s good defensively, but I’d still rather have Yuni.

Cleveland (of Cleveland): Jhonny Peralta: .270, .341, .430, $1 million
He’s Yuni’s peer–they have similarly goofy names and ages. However, Jhonny does seem to be a better player right now. He’s a much better hitter (doubling Yuni in homers this year, and more than tripling him in walks), though his defense is a bit worse (judging by Revised Zone ratings). So, much as it pains me to say, someone is better than Yuniesky.

New York Yankees: Derek Jeter: .322, .388, .452, $21.6 million
He makes $21 million. There’s no comparison. Still, if the Mariners made a straight up Betancourt-for-Jeter trade, I’d be upset, for purely personal reasons. Would Derek Jeter ever run around the bases when his teammate hit a home run? No. He would dive into the stands occasionally and win batting titles, but those have less to do with emotion and more to do with winning ball games. Heartlessly.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Stephen Drew: .238, .313, .370, $1.5 million
Bad signs: His middle name is Oris. He hit .238. He’s related to J.D. Drew. He’s been in the majors just over a year, and he already makes twice Yuni’s salary. Still, he could be great, a Hall of Famer like the above-mentioned Yankee. So yes, I’d want him on my team over Betancourt.

Chicago Cubs: Ryan Theriot: .266, .326, .346, $390,000
Following an AL team means I often am completely ignorant of NL players, like young Mr. Theriot. Looking at his stats, he doesn’t seem to be that impressive. A 27-year-old who can’t hit for average or power, and doesn’t stand out defensively. Well, at least the Cubs aren’t overpaying for him.

Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins: .296, .344, .531, $8 million
He has mad at bats. He had a 30/40 season (more impressive than 30/30), and led the NL in runs and triples. Somehow, he delivered on a guarantee to win the NL East. There’s no way I could win an argument for Betancourt over Rollins. Jimmy even has better hair than Yuni (a title he wins by default over the bald Betancourt).

Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki: .287, .357, .472, $381,000
Another no contest bout. Tulo has a great nickname and might be the Rookie of the Year. Plus, a bunch of people raved about his play in the game tonight.

Final standings: If I had my druthers, I’d take Rollins, Tulo, Peralta, Drew, and (begrudgingly) Jeter over Betancourt, who trumps Lugo, Cabrera, and Theri-what’s-his-face.

The other main conclusion is that shortstop’s a good position for teams to build around. The top three offensive shortstops (according to FanGraphs, which somehow ranks Hanley Ramirez #4) all made the playoffs, and two other teams spent $8 million trying to get a good shortstop. So, once Peralta, Drew, Tulowitzki, and Yuni get to arbitration and free agency, they’ll probably be hansomely rewarded.

And, lastly, I think I am going to root for the Rockies in the playoffs.

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