In 2007, Ryan Ludwick was little known; in 2008, Yuniesky Betancourt is very little known. Last September, Betancourt batted .343, and throughout the season he batted .318 home.
Betancourt used to live in Cuba, then escaped to Mexico, and then to the USA to play baseball. He signed with the Seattle Mariners and worked his way up the minor leagues before playing his first game on July 28, 2005.
In 2009, my expectations for Yuniesky Betancourt are somewhat jaw dropping for him; I think he could hit .320, 15 home runs, and steal 25 bases. That would significantly improve the Mariners' infield with Jose Lopez, Adrian Beltre, and whomever the first baseman will end up being.
In 2005, Yuniesky Betancourt showed speed, and an average. With only 7 home runs last season, it is almost impossible for him to reach 15 until the name Raul Ibanez is mentioned. Raul was the Mariners MVP last season. The two are training together down in Florida at Raul's home with his family.
I'm almost certain that Betancourts primary focus is going to be plate discipline.
It has been a few seasons since a shortstop has been the face of the Mariners franchise (last being Alex Rodriguez). With the possible departure of Raul Ibanez and Ichiro aging Betancourt very well could be.