Dick Kaegel is a pretty optimistic guy — he’s predicting the Royals will take the AL Central with 88 wins — but that might not be the craziest thing he wrote in his “10 questions” piece for MLB.com:
Which player will be the biggest surprise of the 2010 season?
I’m picking Betancourt, who’ll find new life under the guidance of
coaches Eddie Rodriguez and Dave Owen. The shortstop seems to be
catching on to nuances of the game that eluded him in his rapid rise to
the Majors after leaving Cuba.
Apparently those nuances don’t include taking pitches or fielding the baseball with any degree of competence. Betancourt is a near-lock to make contact (88.3% for his career),
but that doesn’t make the results any less frustrating. The best
surprise for Royals fans would be if Mike Aviles works his way back
from Tommy John surgery to take the starting shortstop job back from this
sort of mediocrity.
The Padres are set to recall top infield prospect Luis Urías from Triple-A El Paso, according to a report from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’ll be the second such stint for the club’s no. 2 prospect, and one they hope to extend through the end of the season. A corresponding roster move will be announced later this weekend.
Urías, 22, struggled in his first promotion to the majors this April. Touted as “one of the Minors’ better pure hitters” with “innate bat-to-ball skills” and “plus on-base skills,” he found it difficult to adjust to big league pitching and slashed a lackluster .083/.241/.125 with just two hits and four walks over 11 games with the Padres.
Upon his return to Triple-A, however, the young middle infielder has delivered nothing short of spectacular results, batting .315/.398/.600 with 19 home runs, seven stolen bases (in nine chances), and a .998 OPS across 339 plate appearances. Given the additional measures he’s taken to improve his mechanics — something, Acee says, the Padres are far more interested in than his results at the plate — it seems he may be ready to handle the competition at the highest level on a long-term basis.
Urías is expected to be recalled in time for the Padres’ game against the Cubs on Saturday, where he’ll likely share the middle infield with fellow top prospect Fernando Tatís. The game is set for 2:20 PM EDT.