The pipeline of players between the Colorado Rockies and the New York Yankees remains strong with the addition of Chad Bettis to the Yankees Spring Training camp. A long-time part of the Colorado rotation, Bettis was shifted to a relief role through out 2019, making just three starts.
The Yankees have yet to confirm the signing of Bettis, but multiple reporters have sighted a locker with Bettis’s name on it in Tampa. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports Bettis is taking his physical today and would make $1.5 million if he makes the team with $2 million in incentives.
Bettis turned in three seasons of league average or above work from 2015 to 2017, with a 4.64 ERA (4.21 FIP), a 4.33 SIERA, 6.89 strikeouts per nine innings and a 50.2% groundball rate. That graded out to a 104 ERA+ (meaning 4% above league average), according to Baseball-Reference’s catch-all pitching stat. That stat, of course, adjusts for Bettis making many of his starts at Coors Field.
The stats took a bit of a nosedive for Bettis after 2017, where he began making more apperances out of the bullpen and battled hip injuries. In 184 innings from 2018 to 2019, Bettis’s stats ballooned to a 5.38 ERA (5.10 FIP), 4.78 SIERA, 5.97 strikeouts per nine innings and a 53.4% groundball rate. That graded to a 91 ERA+.
Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December 2016, and was able to return to the mound in 2017 after having surgery. He dealt the previously stated hip injury as well as a blister on his pitching hand. In 2019, Bettis relied on five pitches: four-seamer (35.8%), changeup (32.2%), cutter (17.4%), curve (12%) and sinker (2.5%).
The Yankees apparently view Bettis as a candidate to jump into the rotation, or serve as a multi-inning reliever. The one constant of Bettis’s repertoire is that he remains excellent at inducing ground balls. With James Paxton expected to miss three to four months, Bettis brings significant versatility and major-league experience into the pitching mix.