2016 Yankees Report Card: Dellin Betances

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With the 2016 season behind us, it’s time to start handing out end of the year report cards to our players on the 25-man roster. Every day, I’ll write about a player and evaluate their season before giving them a letter grade from A to F . I’ll start with pitching, then the catchers, infielders, outfielders and so forth. Today, we’ll start with Dellin Betances, who was once again an All-Star but had a disastrous September due to his ineffectiveness as the Yankees closer.

Ever since the Yankees turned Dellin Betances into a reliever, he’s had success with the Yankees. And while Betances had a good start to his 2016 campaign, earning him an All-Star nod, he struggled down the stretch when the Yankees traded away Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman which made him the Yankees closer.

Overall, Betances had decent numbers for the Bronx Bombers: he went 3-6 with a 3.08 ERA in 73 games, but he blew five saves in 17 tries, lowring his save percentage to 70.6%. On the bright side, he held 54 games and walked 28, which was 12 less than the 40 he walked a year prior. It also is worth mentioning Betances’s K/9 was 15.5, which was up from his 14.0 K/9 in 2015.

Now let’s break down Betances’ numbers by month:.

April: Other than a clunker outing against the Boston Red Sox, Betances had a good start to the season, notching a 2.38 ERA in 11 games.

May: He had another clunker outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in the month of May, but he threw 23 strikeouts in 13 innings, giving him a 2.77 ERA for the month.

June: If you took out September (which we’ll get to in a moment), June would have been Betances’s worst month. He still had a high strikeout to inning rate, but he struggled in three straight outings which ballooned his June ERA to 3.21. It wasn’t a terrible month for Betances because the worst was yet to come.

July: The Yankees saw the real Dellin Betances, as he only gave up two runs in 12 innings, bringing his July ERA to 1.50.

August: August was clearly Betances’s best month, as he only allowed one measly run in 13.1 innings. With the way the second half was going for Betances, you would think he’d finish the season out on a high note.

September: Dellin Betances started the month with an overall 2.08 ERA. He ended the month with an overall 3.11 ERA due to allowing 10 runs on 12 hits in 8.1 innings. His strikeouts were ridiculously down as he only struck out 13 and his ERA for the month was 10.80, making it the worst month of the season.

October: Betances had one outing in October, pitched an inning and retired all three batters he faced. He ended the year with a 3.08 ERA.

The Verdict: Betances had a rare September drop, which was of Chasen Shreve via 2015 proportions. However, it’s safe to say his struggles occurred after he became the Yankees closer. He’s slated to be the Yankees closer in 2017 unless the Yankees can sign someone else to close the games. But given the September he had, it’s safe to say the Yankees will sign a closer this offseason.

So what would be Betances’s final grade?

FINAL GRADE: B

Tomorrow: I’ll move on and grade reliever/starter Luis Cessa, who stepped into the rotation following the injury to Nathan Eovaldi and the trade of Ivan Nova.

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12 Responses to 2016 Yankees Report Card: Dellin Betances

  1. tom says:

    2014: 15 pitches per inning over 90 innings; 47% fastball to 47% breaking balls
    2015: 16 over 84; 42 to 51
    2016: 17 over 73; 40 to 56

    He needs to learn how to use his freaking heater.

  2. Dellin Betances through September 5th — 2.05 ERA, batters hit .181/.248/.276 off of him with 114 strikeouts and 20 walks in 66 innings.
    Dellin Betances after Sept 5 — 12.86 ERA, batters hit .333/.455/.444 off of him with 12 strikeouts and 8 walks in 7 innings.
    Dellin Betances as the closer from Aug 1 through Sept 5 — 0.57 ERA, batters hit .143/.232/.245 off of him with 25 strikeouts and 5 walks in 15.2 innings.

    So he was great for most of the season, he was great as the closer for over a month, and then got tired. Don’t let 7 innings trick you into thinking that Betances isn’t one nasty pitcher. This was the first time in Betances career when he didn’t lead all relievers in innings pitched and pitches thrown (and he was still near the top of the league). He has been the hardest working reliever in baseball over three seasons. He got tired. It happens. Honestly, I’ve always been very nervous about his workload, never had any doubts about his skill.

  3. Eric says:

    If we had more starters who could go 7 or 8 innings once in a while, then he wouldn't have to be overused. We also have a manager that abuses the hell out of him. With that being said he needs to work on a number of things. His mechanics are very hard to maintain, he must learn to hold on runners, and most important the coaches must work with him throwing to all bases. He seems to have developed a case of Chuck Knoblach's mental issues of throwing to bases.

  4. Balt Yank says:

    I think three games in Boston shouldn't overly distract us, as others note above. He was otherwise great, again. Girardi certainly made three bad decisions during the season, two of which were pitching KILLER B so much in that Boston series when he was clearly tired, and second, not playing Refsnyder more. I have to say even in rebuilding mode, keeping Miller and Killer B together would have been a tandem for the history books.

    • boybasset says:

      thank you–if Miller had been around to protect Betances, his meltdown likely would not have happened–another good reason not to have traded Miller…

  5. buckeyeballs says:

    he struggled last september as well. Need starters to pitch longer and we need help in the pen-65 innings a year is ideal, 70 tops-he's been over every year but at least they are coming down

  6. Terry says:

    I'm a huge DBets fan and thought he had another fantastic year. Every player has struggles during the season but a "B" grade is about right. We, and the rest of the league, saw two glaring potential problems. The fielding and throwing needs to drastically improve. Plus, struggling holding runners is a late inning problem in a close game. The eighth inning/ set up role may be more of a solution until he raises his game up .I believe he will but these days you need much more than a couple good arms in the pen. Look at Cleveland this year and KC recently.Building a pen with a guy like DBets in the eighth inning role ain't a bad thing

  7. mosc says:

    Small sample size should be the name of this article. Relievers don't pitch much as it is but breaking it down month by month makes it even more brutal.

    Here's Betances FIP the past 3 years:
    1.64, 2.48, 1.78 averaging 1.97. 2016 was above his ridiculously spectacular average
    Here's Betances K/9 the past 3 years:
    13.5, 14.0, 15.5 averaging 14.3. 2016 was above his ridiculously spectacular average
    His HR/9 and BB/9 were also right in line with his past 3 years.

    If you look at any kind of sample size for Betances bigger than a dozen innings, you stop seeing any regression at all. He's still, and has been, a top 5 pitcher in all of baseball per inning.

    • mosc says:

      If I were to grade Betances pitching in 2016, it would have to be A+.

      It is fair to note though that Betances proved unable to field his position on several occasions, has a slow delivery to the plate, and has no pickoff move or ability to control the running game. He rarely even throws to first base letting runners steal with impunity. This is so bad it's showing up in his ERA.

      Betanches the player I give a B+ overall. F in all categories other than throwing to the catcher.

  8. Balt Yank says:

    It is easy to second chair, but I am in favor now of keeping Miller & Killer B. I understand the moment, yes. Still, Miler is A+ reliever and those two lock it down 2016-2017-2018. The prospect return to replace that…we'll see.

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