Dellin Betances was battered on the New York Mets’ last spring training game, on Thursday. He threw 23 pitches and allowed a three-run blast to Ryan Zimmerman. He could only get two outs.
For Betances, 2018 was his last excellent year back when he was with the Yankees. He had a 2.70 ERA and a 2.47 FIP, with 15.53 strikeouts per nine frames. Then, he suffered a series of injuries in 2019 that culminated in an Achilles tear in September.
He couldn’t have a normal offseason due to the injury, and COVID-19 and the late start disrupted everybody’s routine in 2020. Last year, his first with the Mets, he showed diminished velocity by this point in the year, and couldn’t quite recover his best version en route to a 7.71 ERA in 11.2 frames.
Yet, with a normal offseason, Betances is already touching 93 miles per hour with his fastball, and the Mets are extremely pleased about that number because at this point in 2020, he has sitting in the 89-90 range.
The Mets need the best version of Betances
If the Mets are going to have an elite bullpen (which is entirely possible since they signed Trevor May, Aaron Loup and they already have the injured Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz) they need Betances to recover at least some of the form that made him one of the best relievers from 2014 to 2018.
According to MLB.com, Betances spend the winter training at a biomechanics facility in New Jersey, trying to regain some of the lost velocity.
Last season, he averaged 93.6 mph and touched 96.7. He is already at a more advanced stage, velocity-wise, than in 2020, so there is hope he can go back to living in the high-90s.
“I feel tremendously better now than I did last year,” Betances said recently, confirming that the Achilles is no longer an issue. “I feel like I finally had a full offseason to get ready for coming to camp.”