Pinstripe Preview: Dellin Betances
After a long, cold winter, Yankees pitchers and catchers finally report to spring training today, and the chase for 28 has officially begun. While this season’s starting rotation is in question, the Yankees remain well-stocked in the back end of their bullpen, even after the trade of Andrew Miller during the past trade deadline. Manager Joe Girardi will have the privilege of being able to use two-time All-Star Tyler Clippard in the seventh and homegrown three-time All-Star Dellin Betances in the eighth, with newly re-acquired fireballer Aroldis Chapman serving as the closer once again. With all eyes on Chapman after recently signing a monster five-year, $86 million contract, this is a fine opportunity to look at the star setup man, Dellin Betances.
Betances found more success in his third full season, posting a 3.08 earned run average in 73 innings pitched en route to his third consecutive All-Star selection. While he spent a large part of 2016 as the seventh inning man pitching before closer Aroldis Chapman and setup man Andrew Miller, Betances finally got his opportunity to close games out following their trades. As the closer, Betances saved 12 of 17 of his opportunities, with his 70% save percentage being the highest of his career thus far. (albeit, not an overly impressive mark). Though he does not have much experience closing games out, Betances has still proven to a dominant force in the back end of New York’s bullpen, showing the ability to save games if needed. However, his most comfortable role has clearly been as the setup man, which is where he is primed to pitch for the foreseeable future.
Baseball experts and statisticians project that Betances will have another stellar season in the setup role this year. FanGraphs projects Betances to pitch 65 innings in 2017, less than his 73 innings posted in 2016. He is projected to post a 2.42 ERA and 13.5 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9), which would be about two less K/9 than last year. Despite this, Betances’ projected ERA would be a major improvement over his disappointing 3.08 in 2016, which was much lower than his 1.50 and 1.40 ERA's posted in the previous two seasons.. To this point in his career with the Yankees, Betances has showed no signs of slowing down. If his last three seasons are any indication, Betances should be heading to his fourth consecutive All-Star game in 2017.
Article by: Matthew SmithFollow @matts118