Outside of Friday and Saturday night’s blowups, the New York Yankees‘ bullpen has performed surprisingly well this season. At the beginning of the year, relief pitching was a big question mark for the club. But, so far in 2014, several of the team’s young arms have stepped up and pitched well in important late-game situations for the Yankees.
One of those young bullpen arms who has performed extremely well early on is Dellin Betances. The 26-year-old righty has appeared in seven games this season, has two holds and has yet to give up an earned run.
Betances has struck out an impressive 14 batters in eight innings this year. He has also given up just one hit all season.
Once a highly-regarded prospect in the Yankees’ farm system, Betances seems as if he is finally ready to make a big impact with the club on the major-league level.
But, the one thing that the rookie right-hander still is struggling with is control issues. Betances has already issued six walks this season, which ties him for the team high with starters Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.
Sure Betances may be able to get away with walking a few batters at the start of an inning, when he has a strikeout per nine innings rate of 15.75 to help bail him out. But, when he is brought into games with men already on base, it is difficult to trust him.
This was the case in Saturday night’s game when Betances was brought in to clean up reliever Matt Daley’s messy inning. He eventually ended up walking in a run with the bases loaded.
He also ended up throwing 41 pitches over just an inning and two-thirds in Saturday’s contest. Betances cannot be one of the team’s go-to relievers if his high pitch totals prevent him from throwing back-to-back games.
Betances has shown a great deal of potential so far this season, and has good enough stuff to possibly take over as the club’s seventh- or eighth-inning man. But, until he gets his walk total down, Joe Girardi will not be able to trust him in critical late-game situations.