Dellin Betances’ 2020 Better Than You Thought
When the New York Mets signed Dellin Betances, the hope was he would be the dominant reliever he was with the New York Yankees. That reliever was the best in all of baseball.
Unfortunately, Betances wasn’t close to that. In 15 appearances, he was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA, 2.057 WHIP, 9.3 BB/9, and an 8.5 K/9. He’d also spend nearly a month on the IL.
There’s no sugar coating how bad of a season it was. He never materialized to be the shut down eighth inning reliever he was supposed to be. Forget that. He was terrible and arguably one of the worst in baseball.
When looking at his season, we do need to take a more global view. Remember, he missed almost all of 2019 with a torn ACL. He also dealt with a shoulder problem.
Another significant issue was the 2020 season in and of itself. Pitchers had to ramp it up for Spring Training, and they were getting closer to being Opening Day ready.
They all went from that to essentially shutting it down before having to ramp it back up again. While they did have the ability to throw in some fashion, they didn’t really have the opportunity to work with trainers and coaches.
For a player like Betances, that was especially problematic. He was returning from not one but two injuries, and he really had not pitched in a Major League game since 2018. The disjointed season most likely affected pitchers like Betances all the more.
Taking that into account, you can certainly understand why Betances pitches very poorly. Despite that, there were some overwhelming positives to take from his season.
First and foremost, while Betances did hit the IL, his shoulder and ACL held up. There weren’t any reports of setbacks or issues. By and large, this made this a strong building block year for him.
Going to Baseball Savant, Betances did post some strong metrics. Notably, the exit velocity against him was the lowest in his career. Looking deeper, Betances was among the best in the majors in whiff%, exit velocity, hard hit%, barrel%, and fastball velocity.
That should’ve translated to Betances being filthy and absolutely dominant. As we know, he didn’t.
There are a few reasons why including his losing some spin on his fastball and slider. However, batters were still swinging and missing and couldn’t square it up.
Keep in mind for all his struggles, the only extra base hit he allowed was a double. In fact, opposing batters had a .289 SLG against him. That’s dominant.
In the end, the issue really was the walks. He walked more than a batter per inning. It’s what got him in trouble and led to horrible results.
Last year, in the seven appearances he didn’t walk a batter, he didn’t allow a run. In 10 of the 12 appearances where he walked one batter or fewer, he didn’t allow a run. Again, if batters couldn’t hit him, they couldn’t score against him.
Now, Betances never had sterling control, but it was never this bad. The key for him is to have a healthy and not disjointed offseason which will permit him to regain his mechanics and control. If so, the Mets will have a flat out dominant reliever.
This is why when you break it down, Betances’ 2020 was better than many thought it was. Yes, the final numbers were ugly, but behind those stats, we saw Betances is still capable of dominating.
He is now going to get the offseason to prepare to do it. We saw he still has the stuff. We just need to see him do it again.