Thursday, May 03, 2007

Struggling Wilson Betemit Still Has His Admirers

After seeing the Braves acquire fine players such as Edgar Renteria and Danys Baez in trades for under-perfomers like Wilson Betemit and Andy Marte, one begins to wonder whether Betemint and Marte are not so much budding stars as mere products of empty Braves hyperbole.

Marte, now with the Indians, is on the disabled list with a .147 batting average and Betemit is hitting .132 for the Dodgers. But while Marte finds himself in danger of losing his starting third base job to Casey Blake, Betemit will be given every chance to continue to develop.

For one thing, Marte has never hit better than .226 in limited big-league play, while Betemit has hit .305 and .281 in parts of two seasons. Moreover, Marte has four errors on just 70 chances this year while Betemit has none in more than 130 chances.

Though Betemit would be the weakest link when the Dodgers look to make room for the return of reliever Yhency Brazoban from a Las Vegas rehabilitation assignment sometime over the next week, Betemit need not fear. He will stay right where he is.

The reason is obvious: any number of teams would step up to claim Betemit if the Dodgers attempted to send him down. Also, Betemit is the Dodgers prime power source with a projected 25-30 homers, difficult though it may be to imagine. Betemit is also virtually the Dodgers sole true option at third base.