Comparing Dellin Betances and Wade Davis: The Two Best Set-up Men in Baseball

Two of the most dominant relievers and set-up men in the game are Wade Davis and Dellin Betances. Wade Davis was one of the reasons why the Royals made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series in 2014. He’s also the best reliever on the Royals this year. Dellin Betances has been essential to the Yankees, pitching the most out of the pen and being completely dominant. Using major statistics, I compare Davis and Betances to find out who is truly the more dominant set-up man. All stats were retrieved from ESPN and are accurate as of Sunday, August 2, 2015.
Category/Pitcher
Betances (NYY)
Davis (KC)
Appearances
48
46
Record
6-2
7-1
Holds
16
16
Save/Save Opportunities
7/10
9/10
Innings Pitched
54.2
44.2
Earned Runs Allowed
8
3
HRs Allowed
2
1
WHIP
0.82
0.81
ERA
1.32
0.60
Strikeouts
87
50
Strikeout/9 IP
14.32
10.07
Walks
23
13
Strikeout/Walk
3.78
3.85
Opponent Batting Avg
.120
.148
Opponent Slugging
.174
.232
Opponent On Base Percentage
.224
.214
Opponent Batting Avg with None On
.120 (12-100. 12 BB)
.172 (17-99, 8 BB)
Opponent Batting Avg with Runners On
.119 (10-84, 11 BB)
.107 (6-56, 5 BB)
Opponent Batting Avg with RISP
.127 (7-55, 8 BB)
.135 (5-37, 3 BB)
Opponent with Bases Loaded
.167 (1-6, 1 BB)
.000 (0-5, 0 BB)
Opponent with RISP, 2 Out
.038 (1-26, 5 BB)
.100 (2-20, 1 BB)
Opponent’s Batting Avg After 0-1 Count
.077 (8-104, 5 BB)
.114 (9-79, 3 BB)
Opponent’s Batting Avg After 0-2 Count
.056 (3-54, 1 BB)
.176 (6-34, 2 BB)
Opponent’s Batting Avg After 2-0 Count
.227 (5-22, 11 BB)
.095 (2-21, 6 BB)
Opponent’s Batting Avg After 3-0 Count
.333 (1-3, 8 BB)
.000 (0-5, 4 BB)
Opponent’s Batting Avg At 3-2 Count
.150 (3-20, 15 BB)
.211 (4-19, 9 BB)
Batting Average of Left Handed Batters
.111 (9-81, 10 BB)
.138 (12-87, 9 BB)
Batting Average of Right Handed Batters
.126 (13-103, 13 BB)
.162 (11-68, 4 BB)

How ridiculously equal are Davis and Betances in terms of statistics?
       Both set-up men have the same number of holds.
       Betances strikes out more batters but Davis walks less.
       Betances has the higher K/9 IP ratio but Davis has a higher K/BB ratio.
       Betances owns the lower opponent batting average but Davis owns the lower opponent on-base percentage.
       Betances owns the lower opponent batting average when there are no runners on but Davis owns the lower opponent batting average when there are runners on.
       Betances owns the lower opponent batting average after getting ahead on 0-1 or 0-2 counts, but Davis owns the lower opponent batting average after falling behind 2-0 or 3-0.
       Both pitchers have nearly identical WHIPs (Betances, 0.82 & Davis, 0.81)

       Left handed batters have a lower batting average against both Betances and Davis than right handed batters do.

CONCLUSION
It was extremely difficult to pick out who the dominant set-up man is. In situations with a blank slate and no runners on, Betances performs better. However, when runners reach base, Davis does a better job of getting out of the jam. Betances also does better when he gets ahead but Davis does a better job of recovering after falling behind. Betances has allowed 1 hit all year when there are RISP with 2 out while Davis has allowed 2 hits. Betances strikes out more but Davis walks less. If I had both Betances and Davis on the same team, I would send Betances out to start an inning and Davis out when there are runners on. Additionally, when outs are the absolute necessity, I would send out Davis. However, when there is a power hitter such as Mike Trout or Giancarlo Stanton, I’d send out Betances with his 95+ mph fastball and knuckle curve. Both pitchers are extremely dominant and are major assets to each team. Good luck to both as they finish off the year. Go Yankees!

Article by: Bryan Peng
Twitter: @bpeng1111     

Blog Twitter: @BronxBomberBlog

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