Sept 2, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis (35) reacts as he leaves the mound in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Chad Bettis has been sent back to minor league camp, but it’s not for lack of effort or results on his part this spring. After being converted from a starter, to a reliever, and back to a starter, his big league career has been a struggle since bursting onto the scene straight from AA in 2013.
But now, after two years of being shuttled back and forth to the minors and between the rotation and the bullpen, we may be seeing a new and more mature Chad Bettis. Andrew Dill reported a few days ago about Bettis’ improved mechanics, and Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post discussed Bettis’ improved command and secondary pitches after a recent Cactus League outing.
Call to the Pen
Lots of Rockies fans have been disappointed in Bettis recently, especially after he regressed last year in his second big league campaign, and I’ll admit that I, too, started to discount whether he’d ever stick in Denver.
But we all have to remember how quickly Bettis jumped to the big leagues. After being drafted in 2010, Bettis threw in just 52 minor league games before making his big league debut, logged only 63 innings at AA Tulsa and skipped AAA altogether in favor of the big league promotion.
Not only that, he’s been downright dominant in the minor leagues, logging more than a strikeout per inning and walking only 2.3 batters per nine innings across his minor league career. Clearly, he’s got stuff beyond the minors; it’s simply a matter of learning how to apply it to facing big league hitters.
And that’s the fun part: the third time’s always the charm, right? It appears Bettis isn’t going to break camp with the Rockies unless something completely unforeseen happens in the next ten days, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we will see a completely different pitcher in 2015 than we have in the past two seasons. Between improved mechanics and pitch selection, we’re seeing a thrower with a great arm turn into a pitcher with an improving arsenal.
Regardless of how the rotation shakes out, the Rockies will certainly need more starting pitchers at some point across a 162-game season. Like I’ve written about before, no team should turn down starting pitching depth. And in Bettis, the Rockies have a quality arm in waiting, who we should still feel good about.
If he blows up again this year, well, come to me in September and see if I’m being as generous. But as of now, I think Rockies fans should feel good about Bettis being an option to start a handful of games at some point this season if someone goes down with injury or ineffectiveness.
Expect Chad Bettis to pitch well in Albuquerque to start the year, and we’ll see him back in the big leagues soon enough.