With the New York Yankees making several offseason moves to bolster their roster, some of their current talents are primed for big years in 2019. One such name is Dellin Betances, who turned in yet another outstanding season in 2018. Despite a shaky start that resulted in his four-year all-star streak snap, he returned to being one of the most dominant setup men in the league.
2018 Stats (New York Yankees):
66 Games, 4-6, 2.70 ERA, 115 SO, 66.2 IP, 1.050 WHIP, 1.7 WAR
Betances struggled at the end of 2017, and it looked to continue in 2018, as he pitched to 4.91 ERA in March/April. May saw his numbers improve significantly, with a more respectable 3.75 ERA. June saw him return to his dominant self, allowing only a single run through the end of July.
2018 was a milestone year for Betances, as he would set an American League record for most consecutive appearances with a strikeout with 44 games. The 6-foot-8 righty was one such appearance shy of tying the major league record, set by Brewers reliever Corey Knebel. He also became the only reliever in MLB history to strike out at least 100 batters in four consecutive seasons.
Now, Betances joins probably one of MLB’s most powerful bullpens on paper, teaming with the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton, and Adam Ottovino among others.
There are two problems with Betances, and one is his streakiness. Due to being 6-foot-8, it’s difficult for him to keep his mechanics right throughout the year. This what led to him becoming a non-factor in the 2017 postseason. Another is his lack of ability to stop the running game. In 2018, he allowed 13 stolen bases, eight in 2017, and a career-high 21 in 2016. His slow approach to the plate makes it possible for even slower runners to steal, especially when he throws his breaking ball.
If the Yankees can minimize those two concerns, then Betances could easily rack up another 100+ strikeouts in 2019. If he can keep up his dominance the entire year, a World Series appearance is easily within the cards.
Along with center fielder Aaron Hicks and shortstop Didi Gregorius, Betances could become a free agent for the first time next offseason.