Right off the top I’ll make a confession – this review will likely only truly apply to those of you are in an NL-only leagues. It’s not that Rafael Betancourt doesn’t have the skills to help in a mixed league, he without question does, it’s just that as a middle reliever there is little chance that he will “break through” in 2011 because he isn’t likely to get a chance to rack up saves even if Huston Street goes down with an injury for the Rockies. Still, I hope you’ll read the piece even if you only play in mixed leagues as I’m sure you will be shocked by the historical nature of Rafael’s work.
Let’s start at the end.
As I mentioned, Betancourt isn’t likely to get too many chances to close games for the Rockies. Not only do they have a 9th inning ace in Huston Street, there is also the fact that, historically, few have been worse in the 9th inning than Betancourt. It’s almost like he’s Superman and the 9th inning is his Kryptonite. The numbers are a bit skewed because blown saves can obviously be picked up before the 9th inning, but in his career Betancourt has 19 saves and 29 blown saves, and that’s ugly. There is also the fact that the club has Matt Belisle, Matt Lindstrom and Franklin Morales to take over the 9th if something happens to Street. This is the main reason Betancourt isn’t a sexy option in mixed leagues.
However, when we talk about skills, few can better what this Venezuelan born hurler can bring to the dinner table.
Career: 3.22 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 9.53 K/9, 4.36 K/BB
Dominating marks, especially the more than one K per inning thing and the double the big league average K/BB ratio which is fantabulistic. Actually, Betancourt’s career performance is so good that it is historic in nature, and when I say historic I mean he is on the cusp of doing something that no pitcher in the history of the game has been able to accomplish.
I look at his career GB/FB ratio of 0.57 and it causes me to be as nervous as a bikini at the thought of being worn by someone on The Biggest Loser, but Betancourt continues to be able to keep his HR/F ratio 20 percent below the big league average at 7.7 percent, and that helps to offset his fly ball tendencies. Plus, there are also two other factors that seem to mitigate against that concern.
First, the guy has been dynamic since he joined the Rockies. Here are his numbers over 104 appearances:
3.09 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 12.11 K/9, 9.08 K/BB in 87.2 innings
You put up numbers like that for a decade and they make a plaque for you in Cooperstown.
Second, Betancourt has been a stud hurler even when pitching in Colorado.
4.05 ERA, 1,09 WHIP, 11.19 K/9, 8.29 K/BB in 46.2 innings
The guy is just locked in right now and operating at an elite level.
As I said at the start, all of this and bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch will get you a bowl of CTC and a moderate performer in mixed leagues. But if your weapon of choice is an NL-only league, then you’ve found a bullpen ace to target in Betancourt.
By Ray Flowers