Brewers GM thinks Yuniesky Betancourt is underrated

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Yuniesky Betancourt was horrible this season, batting .252 with a .271 on-base percentage and .381 slugging percentage to go along with his increasingly range-less defense at shortstop.

Alex Gonzalez was the only player in baseball to accumulate more plate appearances than Betancourt with a lower on-base percentage and only five players batted more often with a lower OPS.

Wins Above Replacement, which attempts to quantify a player’s all-around contributions offensively and defensively, pegged Betancourt as the fifth-worst regular in the entire National League.

Yet with the Brewers holding a $6 million option or $2 million buyout on Betancourt for next season general manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “I thought Yuni Betancourt was a better player than what the critics said.”

Those “critics” have followed Betancourt from Seattle to Kansas City to Milwaukee, and their opinion somehow ends up being the same at every stop. And my guess is when it comes time to decide on that $6 million option Melvin won’t be putting his money where his mouth is.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.