I had a brief conversation on Twitter with Katie Sharp last night. I asked her (since she is so good at such things) if the Royals had been struck out in order in any inning this season. Her reply was, "You mean, how many times have they been Betances'd?" I laughed and said exactly. She later came back and said that it did not appear to have happened to them before Dellin Betances put them away in order last night on fourteen pitches. Betances has become must see TV.
There are several players that I would pay more to watch play baseball. Mike Trout comes to mind, Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw. Dellin Betances has become in that company for me. As soon as he comes in the game, adrenalin kicks in, the heart rate rises, anticipation becomes overwhelming and then awe once the inning (or two) is over. His outings are mesmerizing.
I am not sure even those of us who watch baseball every day understand what we are seeing. Only 23 starting pitchers have a higher fWAR than Dellin Betances has as a relief pitcher. During last night's appearance against the Royals, he retired his 27th straight batter--like a perfect game. Only he and Wade Davis have not given up a run this season. We are talking about 22 appearances without allowing a run!
The reason I asked Katie that question is because of what kind of offense the Royals have. The Royals put the ball in play. They have the lowest strikeout rate in baseball at 14.7% and it is not even close. The next closest team is the Red Sox at 16.9%. In this day and age of strikeouts, the Royals are are averaging 5.4 strikeouts a game this season. Through 46 games, they have 248 K's as an offense. The next closest team (the Braves) have 292.
And yet, Dellin Betances blew them away on fourteen pitches.
We were all worried about Dellin Betances after Spring Training. Admit it. You were. I was. This site was. And when the season started, he walked six batters in his first three and a third innings. Uh oh. He's not the same. What's wrong with Dellin Betances!? His velocity is down. Panic!
Since those first three games, he has walked four batters. Four! Since those first three games, Betances has struck out 35 batters. That's a tidy little 8.5 strikeout to walk ratio. He finished at 5.63 K/BB last season. His strikeout rate is higher than last year.
Everywhere you look, there is an amazing number with Betances. He has allowed 2.9 hits per nine innings. His WHIP is .720 and if you toss out the first three games, that WHIP is just silly. When a team actually hits the ball, their BABIP is .182. His ground ball rate is up from last year. He has been spectacular.
Dellin Betances will not stay perfect all season. Sooner or later, he will give up a run or blow a game or two. It happens even to the best of relief pitchers. To this point though? He has been amazing to watch. His success has just been stupid.
Dellin Betances is must see television. He is one of the few players in baseball that when he arrives on the baseball stage, you can't help inching a little further in your seat and once his inning (or two) is over, you just whistle and say, "Man! That was fun to watch!"