It seems like a long time ago where the New York Mets biggest offseason signing was Dellin Betances. They were in their final offseason before Steve Cohen bought the team, and they were no other major moves that followed. With the brand new additions, Betances has become a forgotten man in the Mets bullpen.
Here's more Dellin Betances on how he's learning about how to pitch without his normal velocity: pic.twitter.com/tMffhjyk5L
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 24, 2021
Just two seasons ago, Betances was one of the premier relievers in all of baseball. He had five straight seasons over 100 strikeouts and four All-Star selections. An unfortunate combination of injuries and a shortened 2020 held Betances back from returning to a dominant form.
“I want to win the fan base over,” Betances said. “I was able to do that with the Yankees, but I haven’t done nothing here with the Mets.” With Seth Lugo out for at least the first month of the season, the Mets need a reliever to step up in his place.
Which Betances Shows?
The 6’8″ frame of Betances needs a full spring training and even part of April to reach full strength. In 2020 it showed because he had his lowest average fastball velocity (93.6 mph). Even with a usual spring training, it is very likely that Betances never throws triple digits again. Betances is heading into his age-33 season and has to become a complete pitcher.
He can still be successful with a mid-90s fastball, but his location is even more important now. Betances curveball/slider are still as sharp ever and serve as perfect strikeout pitches. Sometimes it even seems like his command with them is better than his fastball command. Betances is a tough at-bat because it seems like the ball is coming from 50 feet away. It becomes even scarier when there is always the possibility that Betances can lose the strike zone.
The Mets have at least four relievers they will use in the eighth and ninth innings before Betances. This allows him to settle in during the middle innings without the pressure of the late innings. Once Betances gets going, they can afford to move him to a role he is accustomed to. If the Mets can get him right, they have a potential comeback player of the year on their hands.