Dellin Betances: The Next Elite Closer

Sep 17, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

 

Dellin Betances was considered one of the top prospects of the New York Yankees for the past few years.  In 2014, there is no question that he arrived to the Big Apple and earned his pinstripes.

In his 90 innings pitched this season, Betances primarily served as the set-up man to David Robertson.  Furthermore, there is no question that Dellin Betances was the best arm in their pen this season and one of the best in all of baseball.

Betances may have only notched one save in 2014, but David Robertson is going to be a free agent who earned $5.2 million in 2014 and pitched fairly well.  My assumption is that the New York Yankees let Robertson walk and let Dellin Betances attempt to be the next great closer.

In 2014, Betances only made $500,000 on a one-year deal, which is less than 10% of Robertson’s salary.  While I expect him to make more next year due to a full year of experience and more bargaining power after his great season, David Robertson will still command a much higher salary.  In my opinion, Brian Cashman will likely choose to save a couple million here.

The 6’8” 260 pound pitcher is both an imposing figure on the mound and in the box score.  In 2014, Dellin Betances posted a gaudy 135 K’s, 13.50 K/9, 1.40 ERA, and a .78 WHIP.

Those types of numbers compare favorably with any relief pitcher in baseball.  Plus, Betances has everything you are looking for in a top shelf closer assuming David Robertson walks.

  • Elite strikeout rate
  • Excellent ERA and WHIP
  • Two plus pitches (fastball and slider)
  • Pitches for a team that will win a decent number of games
  • Pitches for a team that may have a struggling offense

The last two are about how the New York Yankees are perfect breeding grounds for a great closer.  Despite rumors of their demise, the Yankees still won a very respectable 84 games.

In addition, their offense was below average due to the fact that they only scored 684 runs in 2014 (20th best in MLB).  A below-average offense is more likely to win closer and lower scoring games that will present itself with more save opportunities.

David Robertson finished the season with 39 saves himself and even spent a couple weeks on the DL.  His 39 saves were good enough to find himself tied for eighth among the league leaders in saves.

While David Robertson was a very good fantasy baseball closer in 2014, I fully anticipate Dellin Betances being an elite option because he had an ERA of under half of Robertson’s ERA, despite the fact that Robertson graded out as an upper tier fantasy option.

Dellin Betances is one of my top five closers in 2015 assuming he gets the ball in the ninth inning this season.