With the state of the New York Yankees‘ current pitching staff, there has been a lot of patch work done by Joe Girardi. Constant injuries and poor performances have given cause for concern, even though the Yankees have a record of 22-19 after Saturday afternoon’s victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. One thing fans have been clamoring for is the insertion of Dellin Betances into the starting rotation. So far the Yankees have resisted the urge to do so, and should continue using Betances out of the bullpen.
Betances has been a weapon for the Yankees out of the bullpen all season long. He has only begun getting notoriety because of a dominant performance against the New York Mets, when he struck out six-straight batters to finish out his appearance. But he has been effective all season long, pitching to a 1.85 ERA.
He can be a weapon because of the different situations he can handle. He can pitch more than an inning, something he has done in 11 of his 17 appearances this season and something of a rarity among relief pitchers these days. He also gives the Yankees another legitimate option at the end of games if they wish to move David Robertson back to the set-up role he succeeded in so much in front of Mariano Rivera.
Another reason he needs to stay in the bullpen is because of his struggles as a starting pitcher. As he moved up the Yankees farm system, his effectiveness as a starter waned. He had an ugly 5.10 ERA between Double- and Triple-A, making 51 of his 52 appearances over that stretch as a starter. Struggles like that in the minor leagues will not translate into success in the major leagues.
Fans should look back in recent Yankee history and want Betances to stay in the bullpen. Remembering Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, former top picks who were expected to be strong pitchers in the starting rotation, should give people more than enough reason to keep Betances in the bullpen.
Coming out of the bullpen, you do not need to save yourself for certain situations later in the game. Instead you can come in firing and giving it your all, something Betances seems to understand well, evident from his 42 strikeouts in 24.1 innings pitched. His devastating breaking ball is more effective in this role, as he can toss his mid-to-high 90-mph fastball without much worrying for how it will affect him and the team innings later.
With Betances on the role he is on now, there is no reason to turn him back into a starter, a process that would take weeks to stretch him back out. It is funny how things turn out sometimes in baseball, as this was actually a last ditch effort to get something out of a former high draft pick.