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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.

8 thoughts on “Dellin Betances’ 2020 Better Than You Thought”

  1. LongTimeFan1 says:

    What you omit, or perhaps are unaware, is that he later admitted he kept a lat injury to himself for much of his 2020 season. That was the source of his problem, a good reason why his arm slot looked off and why he performed poorly.

    You’re trying to find silver lining in his performance when in essence, you had no idea he had lat injury and are trying to spin some happenstance into something good when that was unsustainable because of the injury he had and did not tell the team he had until late in season.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I included he dealt with an injury, and that injury was not related to his shoulder or ACL, but please needlessly and incorrectly condescend

  2. Jimmy P says:

    The headline itself is condescending, since it assumes that you know more than any reader who comes along. That might not be your intention, but that’s the tone from the outset.

    I had the opposite reaction to your conclusion that “we saw he still has the stuff.”

    To my eyes, along with the radar, he clearly lost some miles off the fastball. And his slider did not have the same bite. The stuff wasn’t there, not the way it used to be.

    Will he be better in 2021? It’s possible, surely. But the spate of injuries the last few years would suggest that it’s very unlikely he’ll be solid for a full season. But it’s January and I’ll hope for the best (though hope the Mets won’t plan on it).

    One other point you didn’t mention: the delay to the season was widely seen as beneficial, since he was in no way ready to start the season in late March. The extra time, it was hoped, gave him more opportunity to round into form.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Thank you for reading and your comment

  3. Longtimefan1 says:

    Quote:

    “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.”

    No mention in this article whatsoever about the lat injury he pitched with and that he concealed from the team for at least a month.

    Stipulating he went on the IL, without mentioning the reason and the issues around that, including hiding it from the team, and how it impacted his performance, is head scratcher. It was evident from the get-go he wasn’t pitching free and easy, there was something wrong with his arm slot, and that he looked like he was pushing the ball to the plate, not throwing through the ball.

    There’s no silver lining that can be carried over to 2021, nor garnered from Betances 2020 performance because in addition to returning from shoulder and achilles injury from 2019, he basically pitched almost all of 2020, with lat injury.

    The only way to assess Betances for 2021, is in real time, starting in spring training, provided he’s honest about his health, and that his health is good. If he’s healthy, we’ll see it in his arm slot and delivery, ease of motion, and follow through. The velocity should also follow as he nears opening day.

    There’s no way Betances would get a major league deal from any team on the open market after his 2019, 2020 seasons. Without the contract option he had with the Mets, his route to the majors in 2021 would be minor league deal with spring invite.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Oh, I get it. You don’t want to agree with what I posited, so you instead opt to just flat out ignore what I said.

      Got it.

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