Discussion

Time to pick up Yuniesky Betancourt?

Updated: May 2, 2013, 3:57 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
Let's be clear right off the top: It's not outrageous that Milwaukee Brewers infielder Yuniesky Betancourt is one of the most added players in ESPN leagues, as he is improbably mashing one home run after another and stunning the fantasy world. But don't start believing this is in any way legitimate.

Betancourt is a well-traveled, 31-year-old, much-maligned (for good reason) hacker with one of the worst walk rates anyone has ever seen, and he's not suddenly blossoming into a valuable fantasy option. Yes, he started May as fantasy's No. 10 middle infielder on the Player Rater and hit another home run to start the month, but he is going to regress, soon.

I've been asked myriad times over the past week or so why I hadn't covered Betancourt's ascension to fantasy relevance, and to be honest, it's because I thought the mere notion of discussing it was just so foolish that it wasn't necessary. Well, public demands aside, things changed with four home runs and eight RBIs from him over the past week, including homers in each of the past three games. Betancourt is not hitting many fly balls, but a startling fifth of the fly balls he has hit (20.6 percent) have left the ballpark. That's a ridiculous rate that nobody could sustain.

He's not a new player, just a guy hitting some home runs. He's not drawing walks, as his .297 OBP shows. His track record is dubious at best, though he does have proven mid-teens homer potential with enough playing time. Betancourt was in Philadelphia Phillies camp this spring and ultimately didn't want to report to the minors. Hey, good for him. The Brewers snatched him up, and he's playing first and third base for them, hitting enough in a small sample size to justify it.

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