Yankees News: No Need to Worry About Dellin Betances


The Yankees, perhaps copying the 2014 Royals’ model, loaded up on bullpen depth in hopes of offsetting a mediocre offense and injury risk in the rotation. Signing Andrew Miller, trading for David Carpenter and Justin Wilson, and drafting Jacob Lindgren (who should be up at some point) improved the relief corps even after losing David Robertson. Holdover Dellin Betances is one of the most important pieces in this parade of high-quality relievers. However, his performance to this point (4 1/3 IP, 5 K, 6 BB) has been undeniably sub-par and a far cry from the Betances we saw in 2014. The more troubling measure is the decreased velocity. In addition to the incredibly small sample size caveats, Dave Cameron reassures not to worry too much about velocity at this early point in the season.

Cameron notes that velocity tends to be down early in the season due to the temperature. Some pitchers are still building up arm strength, too. Cameron’s chart does, in fact, show that Betances’ velocity ticked up each month last season from a low of 96.3 MPH in April to a high of 98.3 in August before slipping slightly to 98.1 in September. Betances’ April 2015 velocity, 95.3, pales in comparison to the 98 he was throwing at the end of last year. However, the correct comparison for Betances’ current velocity is April of last season and not the entire 2014 season. 96.3 vs 95.3 is a much less cause for concern. Cameron reasons that 95 or 96 when the calendar flips to May could be cause for concern (of injury, possibly). Until then, Betances’ velocity is not an issue. A larger problem control, as the strike zone has bounced around on Betances in the past. Again, Cameron presents a list of relievers who couldn’t buy a strike in April but ended up having great seasons. The velocity and control should both come back with time.

As a run prevention team, the Yankees greatly need Betances to be lights out. While he will likely regress slightly from last year (it’s incredibly hard to repeat at that performance level), his early diminished velocity shouldn’t preclude him from dominating in high-leverage situations late in games this year.

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