Get a gander at that right there. That’s Dellin Betances‘ pitch location plot from last night. In case you missed it and somehow started reading this post before any kind of game recap, Betances was brought in with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 5th inning. He got a groundball out to finish that inning and then proceeded to strike out the next 6 batters he faced in order to get through the 7th. It was downright murderous.
By the simple counting numbers, Betances’ 2.1 perfect innings worked out to 27 pitches, 20 strikes, and 8 swings and misses. Most of those were on the curveball, which Betances used to register all 6 of his strikeouts, and that location plot gives you an idea of how they were moving last night. The Mets hitters were so baffled by it that they almost couldn’t swing. 4 of the 6 Ks were looking. It was like Betances had the ball on a string. When he wanted to tighten it up and drop it across the plate at the knees, he could. When he wanted some extra bite to bury it down and out of the zone or in the dirt for a swing and miss, he had that too.
Pair that up with a 96.0 MPH fastball that Betances was basically daring guys to hit and they might as well have not even brought a bat with them to the plate. Look at the fastball locations. Almost nothing down in the zone. That’s not Betances trying to keep the ball down and get strikes at the knees. That’s Betances raring back, saying “try and hit this, suckers” and blazing the ball up in there. He threw a lot of early fastballs in fastball counts to the Mets’ best hitters in the 6th and 7th and they couldn’t do a thing with them. Couldn’t even put them in play.
Betances has a 1.61/0.81/1.22 tripleslash after last night’s mowdown, with 39 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched. That’s a 44.8% K rate. For the sake of comparison, late-2007 Joba Chamberlain was 0.38/1.82/2.33 with a 37.4% K rate in 24.0 IP. Yankee fans who’ve been paying attention to the first 40 games already knew about this guy. Anybody who was lagging behind got brought up to speed in a big way last night, as did more people nationally. He isn’t a household name yet, but when he starts to become one in a few months you can look back to this night as his coming out party.
So say hello to Dellin Betances, everybody. He’s big, he’s scary, and he’s going to strike you out.