2018 Pinstripe Preview: Dellin Betances

Today's installment of the BBB's Pinstripe Previews focuses on fifth-year reliever, Dellin Betances. Dellin will look to put a rocky 2017 behind him and once again be relied on as a key cog in the New York bullpen in 2018. 

Since his rookie season in 2014, Betances has been one of the games best relievers, earning an All-Star nod in each of his first four seasons along the way.  He began his journey setting up David Robertson in 2014, Andrew Miller in 2015 and 2016 before Miller was traded and Betances assumed the closer role, and he played various roles out of the 'pen for the Yankees last season.  Betances hopes to put last year’s spat with Yankees’ President Randy Levine behind him as he enters his age-30 season.
Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

2017 Review:
Following the histrionics that played out during the arbitration process over the offseason, 2017 started out like any other season for Dellin Betances.  The tall right-hander was nothing short of his dominant self early in the year, commanding both his triple-digits fastball and his backbreaking curveball to baffle opposing batters.  After being tagged with an earned run and blown save in just his second appearance of the season at Baltimore, Betances was nearly perfect over his next 22 games, allowing no earned runs and just seven hits, also earning three wins and five saves, over 21.3 innings pitched.  He did walk 13 batters, but also struck out 42 (!) over that same time. Simply put, he was near untouchable.

From there, however, the wheels began to fall off, and Dellin would become a completely different pitcher, lacking both command of his fastball as well as overall confidence in his stuff.

By the time the Postseason rolled around, Betances had fallen so far that he had no clear place in manager Joe Girardi’s bullpen, being used only in mop-up duty or in a last-man-out-of-the bullpen roll in ALDS Game Two when New York had burned through the rest of the bullpen and had no choice but to roll with Dellin. Ultimately, he would take the loss in that game and not see meaningful innings the rest of the season.

2018 Preview:
Dellin enters Spring Training this year with a chip on his shoulder, needing to prove he’s closer to the pitcher we saw in the first half of last season, rather than the one who was a mess down the stretch.  As of now, he is behind Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson on the bullpen depth chart.

To start, Dellin dropped close to 15 pounds this offseason after hiring a personal chef while he spent the Winter months in the Dominican Republic.  Ideally, Betances’ narrower frame will help him maintain his strength throughout the season while also stabilizing his sometimes rocky delivery.

The biggest key to success for Dellin in 2018 will be his consistency – both in being able to repeat his delivery over and over, as well as consistency in locating his fastball.  All too often last season we saw Betances rely much too heavily on his curveball when he was unable to throw his heater for a strike.  As a result, hitters would wait on a mistake breaking ball over the middle they could hit, or simply not swing the bat at all and take a walk.

Another key to success this season, and again, something that has haunted the big right-hander his entire career, is being able to hold runners on base.  In past years baserunners have generally run wild with Betances on the mound, and that cannot be the case this season if he is to again become the lockdown reliever we’ve seen spurts of in each of his first four Major League season.

Article by: Andrew Natalizio


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