38-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Working as the Rockies' closer once again to begin 2013, Betancourt seemed to be humming along just fine until a rash of injuries disrupted both his season and, potentially, the remainder of his caree...
Rafael Betancourt Contract Information:
Signed a two-year contract extension with the Rockies with an option for a third in January 2012. It's an $8.5 million, two-year extension that guarantees him an additional $4.25 million.
Betancourt (elbow) extended his long toss out to 150 feet Monday, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports.
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|2009 (Multiple Teams)||34||MAJ||CLE/COL||61||0||0||56.0||42||17||4||61||20||4||3||2||–||–||2.73||1.11|
|Career (View All)||MAJ||635||0||0||646.3||553||229||67||684||152||36||33||74||–||–||3.19||1.09|
Rafael Betancourt Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
|Year||Age||Lg||Tm||G||GS||IP||K/9||BB/9||K/BB||HR/9||GB/FB Ratio||Strand %||Fastball||ERA||FIP||BABIP|
|2009 (Multiple Teams)||34||MAJ||CLE/COL||61||0||56.0||9.80||3.21||3.05||0.64||0.57||77.6%||92.4 MPH||2.73||3.06||.282|
Career Pitcher vs. Batter Stats (View All Matchup Data)
Worst Matchups for Rafael Betancourt (by OPS against, min 7 AB)
Best Matchups for Rafael Betancourt (by OPS against, min 7 AB)
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||PHI||9||1||0||1||0||3||1||.111||.111||.222|
Rafael Betancourt: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After proving quietly effective in middle relief for years, the 37-year-old Betancourt finally got his chance as a full-time closer and succeeded, notching 31 saves in 38 chances. Although Betancourt's flyball tendencies were some source of concern heading into the season, he actually saw his groundball percentage climb by five points while striking out a batter per inning and maintaining his sterling walk rate. While Betancourt will open 2013 as the Rockies' closer, there is a risk Betancourt could be traded if the Rockies fall out of playoff contention since he's in the final year of his contract. That could lower his fantasy value since there's a decent chance he'd be used in a setup role with a new team.
Betancourt has always displayed the skills that would make him an excellent closer, but that opportunity evaded him until the Rockies gave him a look in the ninth inning down the stretch last season. After taking over the job in August, Betancourt converted 8-of-9 save opportunities as part of a dominant second half, where he carried a 39:1 K:BB in 27 innings. The Rockies will enter the season with him as their closer after trading Huston Street to San Diego. Although he's a flyball pitcher prone to surrendering his share of long balls, Betancourt's miniscule walk rate mitigates the damage. He'll turn 37 in April, but there's reason to believe that he'll succeed and be undervalued on draft day in his new role.
Last year was Betancourt's most dominant season to date. He raised his strikeout rate to a career high 12.9 K/9IP, while lowering his walk rate to 1.2 BB/9IP. If it hadn't been for a .331 BABIP, he probably would have posted career lows in ERA and WHIP as well. Success is nothing new for Betancourt as he has posted a sub-3.00 ERA and sub-1.100 WHIP multiple times in his career. Moving forward, he should continue to excel as a setup man and provide great value to owners should he ever find himself closing games.
Although the Rockies declined the $5 million option on Betancourt for 2010, they still consider him a fit and offered him salary arbitration, which he accepted. He posted a 1.78 ERA in 32 appearances for the Rockies in 2009, including a 15-game scoreless streak in August. Perhaps most impressive, though, was the 29:5 K:BB ratio Betancourt accumulated during his stay in Colorado. He's shown flashes of brilliance in years past, notching four seasons with a sub-three ERA since emerging in 2003, and would be a solid fantasy addition if he were ever able to take hold of the full-time closer's role.
Betancourt wasn't likely to repeat his dominant 2007 season, but he jumped off a cliff and barely got the ripcord pulled before he met "terra firma" as he came crashing back to earth. The strikeout rate (64 in 71 innings) dropped off slightly but the big issues were with the long ball (11 last year versus four in 2007) and a loss of control (25 walks versus nine walks in 2007). He'll rebound some, but it's hard to imagine that he'll ever get a real shot to close out games again with Jensen Lewis around to take over if anything happens to new closer Kerry Wood.
Betancourt was quite possibly the second best reliever in baseball last season, trailing only Seattle's J.J. Putz. Betancourt owners had the Borowski Voodoo Dolls out all season but he never was able to grab hold of the closer's role, finishing the season with just three saves. Borowski's been brought back at $4 million, so it'll be more of the same for Betancourt in 2008. Masahide Kobayashi figures to see some late-inning work as well and presents a possible hurdle for Betancourt if Borowski were to spit the bit. It should be noted that he's tested positive for a banned substance before, so another infraction would be costly and he's had his problems staying healthy in the past. He's coming off a career high in both appearances and innings pitched but the Indians' medical staff is among the best in baseball. He's an excellent staff filler behind a shaky closer, but almost a sure bet to take a small step back.
On the surface, Betancourt was so-so in his third season in the big leagues (3.81 ERA in 56.2 innings), but he was stellar after the All-Star break. After struggling to an 0-3 4.73 first half, Betancourt ramped up to a 3-1 with three saves and a 3.00 ERA after the break. With the Tribe's bullpen in a state of flux, it's hard not to see Betancourt in at least a setup role; with a distinct shot at closing. A nice sleeper to tuck away.
Take away Betancourt's July and he might have been one of the best relievers not closing games in the big leagues. A 10-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug and a bum shoulder gave him a rough month, but outside of that, he pitched 62 innings allowing 49 hits while striking out 61. The tougher drug policy makes Betancourt a bit risky, but three-straight strong and similar seasons shows what this former position player can do on the mound.
Betancourt had a good rookie year in the Indians' bullpen. A former shortstop in the Red Sox system, he displayed fine control of three slightly above-average pitches. Betancourt is not closer material, but he could be a good set-up man for quite a while. As a relative newcomer to pitching, he should have a "fresh" arm despite missing all of 2002 to elbow surgery. His success in 2005 will depend on how much help the Indians can assemble around him.
At 29, Betancourt's opportunities are beginning to wane, but he pitched well in 2003 and could be a major part of Cleveland's bullpen.