Let me preface this by saying that Yuniesky Betancourt is not a good player. He’s been worth 2.8 WAR in 3475 plate appearances. That’s horrendous. In purely fantasy terms he’s never been particularly good either. He doesn’t hit for power, or run, or hit for a high average, or get on base. But, because he can play shortstop, not very well mind you, teams have given him over 500 plate appearances a season five years running.
He began this season just like any other, i.e. badly. In May he hit .176/.200/.289. Things started to come around in June as his OPS for the month ended at .690. Then it was summer time and Yuni was livin’ easy. He had a great July, for him, hitting .299 with a .752 OPS and 13 runs and 13 RBI. He’s carried that over into July as well as his .953 OPS would attest. To make it simple, over the last 30 days he’s hit .380 with 3 HR, 20 RBI and even 2 SB. Only four other shortstops have been better than Yuni over that time: Troy Tulowitzki, Jimmy Rollins, Asdrubal Cabrera and J.J. Hardy. Those four are owned in over 70 percent of leagues while our man Yuni sits at just 28 percent. He’s hit so well that even noted fantasy writer Jason Collette traded Jason Motte for him a few weeks ago.
We all know that the shortstop position is as shallow as a kiddie pool. Any unexpected production is welcomed with open arms. He’s not likely to keep this up until the rest of the season, but if you have a void at shortstop, or own a slumping player like Elvis Andrus or Alexei Ramirez, it’s worth overlooking the name and trying to cash in on the hot streak while you can. Another player in a similar situation to Yuni’s is Cliff Pennington. He’s owned in just seven percent of leagues but has hit .342/2HR/13RBI/2SB over the past month. Unlike Betancourt he’s been a good hitter relative to his position in his short career, so it may be more than a fluke.
Betancourt may not get many more hot streaks like this. Do him a favor and pick him up. He’s been a punching bag for so long that I’m sure he’d appreciate seeing his ownership percentage tick up over the 30% barrier.
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