Yankees Dellin Betances: Reasons For Fantasy Concern in 2017?

Dellin Betances surprisingly looked human for the Yankees this season. After his late season struggles, should fantasy owners be concerned about his 2017 fantasy value?

If the Yankees do not win the World Series, they deem their season as a failure. Even though they failed to do so in 2016, they admirably defied expectations and stayed in the playoff race nearly the entire year with a pretty underwhelming roster. But, would they have made the playoffs if not for the late season struggles from Dellin Betances?

There is no way that the Yankees, nor anyone for what it is worth, can blame New York’s shortcomings on Betances. He simply started to struggle at the worst possible time. He finished the season with a, 3.08 ERA/12 SV/28 HLD/1.12 WHIP/126 K line, over 73 innings. All in all, a solid line from a RP, but fantasy owners have become so used to Betances hardly never giving up any runs, that we have to examine what went wrong and changed last season.

There has been a widespread change in baseball, especially in scouting departments, where the “eye test” evaluation method has become obsolete thanks to sabermetrics. While this change has surely brought improvements to the game, there are still some cases where you can just see what a player is doing right or wrong. Dellin Betances is one of those cases.

It is no secret that Betances is a huge human being. He height provides a distinct advantage, but also has its drawbacks. Betances’ issues late last season were thanks to his pitching mechanics going all out of whack. His front shoulder began to fly open, and he could not harness his command.

Through the first five months of the season, Betances was in cruise control, not posting an ERA highers than 3.21 in any month. He had at least 20 K per month, and only surrendered 15 Runs over his first 63 innings. Once handed the closing role in August, he was terrific, converting his first nine SV chances.

Once the calendar turned to September though, the wheels came off. Starting on Sep. 6, he would go on to give up 10 ER over the rest of the season. His command was shot, and hitters could either draw a walk, or sit on whatever one pitch he had working that night. His stuff was still fast, and had a ton of movement, but he had no idea where it was going to go out of his hand.

That leads us to this next season. If we dig deeper into his batted ball data, things are still encouraging. His fastball velocity was actually better last season, as he averaged nearly 98 mph. His slurve showed the same devastating break as it had the last two seasons, and its velocity stayed around 84 mph.

One reason for optimism, is that he surrendered a career high .353 BABIP this season. Yet, somehow he dropped his LD rate to 19%, and dropped his FB rate by four points to, 27%. The only batted ball uptick was a 7% in his GB rate, to nearly a 54% clip. Which leads us to believe, that he fell victim to more hard grounders finding holes. Once he gets his mechanics back in line, there is no reason to think that he will not be just as good as ever next season, as his batted ball rates will fall back in line with his career norms.

In terms of his fantasy value, there are few fluid factors that owners will have to monitor. The Yankees will definitely be in the mix for either Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman in free agency. They will more than likely net one or the other, moving Betances back into his customary set-up role. But, there is always the possibility that the Yankees get outbid this offseason, trust me when I say everyone in MLB has money to spend, making Betances the defacto closer once again.

Dellin Betances should be drafted in every league next spring, whether Holds are rewarded or not. His ridiculous weekly rates can mask starting pitching deficiencies in fantasy rotations. He is an elite Holds supplier, and if he is somehow the Yanks’ closer next season, he is easily a top-5 RP selection.

Do not overthink things when it comes to Dellin Betances next season. Fatigue, and mechanical issue were his downfall last season, but his peripherals were as good as ever. There is no reason to be concerned here, move along.