Everyday until the end of February, we’re going to analyze each player on the 40-man roster, discussing what they did last season (majors or minors), and what we can expect from them during the 2015 season. The 40-man roster is subject to change, but we’ll start with the players that are a lock to make the 25-man roster and then we’ll go from there.
Today, we’ll begin with a player who didn’t have any minor league options when he entered Spring Training last season, vying for a job. Not only did he land a job, he dominated in the pen and is now being considered or the closer role. So what can we expect from Dellin Betances?
Before the 2014 season, Dellin Betances was a failed starter. He was one of the proclaimed ‘Killer B’s’ the Yankees highly touted but his numbers didn’t live up to the hype. In fact, he was literally one foot out the door when he came into Spring Training last year since he ran out of minor league options. But, Betances wasn’t coming into camp as a starter; the Yankees wanted him to audition as a reliever. Not only did Betances excel in that role during Spring Training, but he made the team as a member of the Yankees bullpen.
While Betances impressed out of the bullpen during the Spring, there were still question marks on whether he could continue his dominant performance all season long. Betances silenced the critics and put up All-Star numbers in his rookie season, pitching to a 1.40 ERA and a 0.778 WHIP in 70 games. Betances quickly became the set-up man and was part of the 1-2 punch with David Robertson, who took over the closer role for the retiring Mariano Rivera following the 2013 season.
A year removed from his stellar 2014 season, Betances comes to camp as a reliever in the Yankees pen, but Betances might not have the same role as he did last year. With Robertson going to the Chicago White Sox on a four-year deal, Betances has the chance to take over the closer role, a move that was mimicked following the 1996 season when the Yankees didn’t re-sign John Wetteland and Rivera became the closer the following year.
While it would be fantastic for Betances to repeat his stellar 2014 season, it doesn’t seem likely he would. I’m not saying he’s going to have a bad year, but I am saying we can’t expect him to pitch to a 1.40 ERA every season and he might slightly regress. Another debate is whether Betances or Andrew Miller should get a chance at the closing position. One of the main competitions in Spring Training this year will be who is the closer, and many people are banking on it to be Betances. Could this be history in the remaking? It’s possible–or it’s just a coincidence the Yankees are in the same boat as in 1996.
Tomorrow: We look at what Chris Capuano did for the Yankees (and Red Sox) last season and what the Yankees should expect from Capuano this season.