Roenicke: Yuni starts for his defense

Yuniesky Betancourt’s .236 on-base percentage was the lowest in the Major Leagues entering Saturday for hitters with at least 300 plate appearances, and his -1.8 WAR (via’s measure) was third-worst. Ron Roenicke explained the decision to start Betancourt at first base like this:

“[Johnny] Hellweg pitching has a lot to do with it,” Roenicke said, referring to the Brewers rookie with a knack for inducing ground balls. “I want our best defense out there. Yuni is in there some because [Ramirez] isn’t in there, so we have to cover both spots. And you know, he’s played really good defense all year, and lately he’s been swinging the bat well again. He was so good early, then we had that long stretch when he didn’t do much, and now he’s swinging the bat pretty good, I think. …

“He’s in like 125 games or something. When we signed him, we didn’t think he’d be in 125 games. He’s done a nice job for us for us for what we needed. I think the defense is important. I talk about it all the time, the value that players have is not just offensively. For those numbers, you subtract or you add because of his defense and what they mean to a team. For Yuni, you add to his offense. With some other guys, you subtract, and with some guys, you subtract a lot.”


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