Evaluating the Talent: Rafael Betancourt

All right folks, it’s time to dive back into the Rockies’ current roster and consider who should stay on it and who should be shipped to the highest bidder post-haste. Today’s player to be considered is relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt.

Up until late last season, Betancourt was mostly known for his s-l-o-w 8th innings. But he (nearly) always got the job done, so no one was really complaining about his lack of speed. He really got a chance to shine, though, when Huston Street went on the disabled list in August. Betancourt had 3 save opportunities up to that point and blew all of them. On August 9th, he got his 4th chance, and he pitched a perfect 9th inning. From that point forward, he was the Rockies’ official closer, and he converted all but one of his save opportunities. He also recorded 73 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings pitched, with a ridiculous 16.55 K/9 rate in July.

So should the Rockies hold onto Betancourt? Absolutely yes. He only has one year left on his contract, and I think the Rockies should be working on getting him an extension as soon as possible. He’s making less than $4 million a year, more than affordable for a closer, and he proved this season that he has what it takes to fill that role. The nearly-twice-as-expensive Huston Street gives up more home runs and just generally creates too much drama for me. He is worth quite a bit as trade bait, and since Betancourt has morphed into such a quality pitcher, we can let Street go. It’s time people.

Where should Betancourt be in 2012? Colorado.

Where will Betancourt be in 2012? Colorado, unless something horribly unforeseen occurs.

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