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Royals' Wilson Betemit Hoping to Build Upon Success

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Wilson Betemit will hope to continue his production at the plate, as the Kansas City Royals wait on Mike Moustakas to arrive.

After trading Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last summer, Wilson Betemit really came on offensively in the later half of the season when his playing time increased at third base. Going into the 2011 season, Betemit now looks like the man, though he will be challenged by second basemen Mike Aviles who was previously discussed here. The landscape will likely be changing in June though, when Royals all-everything prospect Mike Moustakas will probably be called up to Kansas City and given the starting job. There is a chance Moustakas breaks camp with the big league club after spring training in Arizona, however the Royals are likely to hold back on starting Moustakas' big league service clock until the summer.

Betemit is 29 years old and spent the first ten years of his professional baseball career with the Atlanta Braves, before spending the next three seasons with various teams before settling in with the Kansas City Royals in 2010. He also carries the trivial distinction of having once been traded for current Royals teammate Kanekoa Texeira. Betemit is also a former top 100 prospect, having made it all the way to #8 on Baseball America's Top 100 prospects before the 2002 season (#7 that season was Joe Mauer).

Betemit had 13 home runs and 36 RBI last season in just 276 at bats. It was as much production at the plate as many other Royals had last year with a full season of at bats. Last season's .415 OBP with 2 outs and runners in scoring position while also having a .478 slugging percentage was a pleasant surprise. It would not be out of the question for Betemit to aim for nearly 20 home runs and 75 RBI this season (think Emil Brown circa 2005), but I don't think the playing time will be there once June rolls around. While Betemit has shown he was a liability at third last season (His UZR was -10.4), his bat offset much of the troubles he had fielding (overall WAR was still 1.3). At that time he will likely shift back to once again being a backup as Moustakas takes over at third, hopefully for a very long time.