Sept 2, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis (35) prepares to deliver a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Chad Bettis.
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After being taken out of Texas Tech in the second round in 2010, Chad Bettis worked through the ranks of the Colorado Rockies pretty quickly, debuting in the big leagues in 2013 as a starter, and then as a reliever. Then, after relieving again in 2014 – and doing very poorly – Bettis is now back to starting (at least, for now?).
This year, Bettis finds himself in Albuquerque to start the season, but considering the Rockies’ difficulties in finding success throwing the ball, it’s not a stretch to believe he’ll be back in Denver relatively soon to help the club at the big league level.
Here’s what the projections believe, and what we think, about Chad Bettis’ 2015 season.
What The Numbers Say
FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.
Steamer and Depth Charts projections interestingly believe Bettis will relieve more than he’ll start this season, currently only pegging him to get four starts against 18 relief appearances. That’d be… something, considering the Rockies appear, at least for now, to be committed to using him as a starter after building him up during Spring Training and now in Albuquerque.
Either way, the projections think he’ll actually have a decent year – and by far the best of his career – when (if?) he makes the big league club, throwing to an ERA and FIP both under 4.50, allowing a big league career low batting average against, and striking out 7.24 per nine innings versus just 3 walks per nine frames.
All of that would be quite nice from Bettis, though I can’t imagine him going back to relief over being used as a starter, unless the Rockies (and the projections) know something far different about his plan at this point than I do.
Call to the Pen
A best-case scenario for Bettis would have him repeat the player we thought he could become after A+, AA, and AAA in 2011, 2013, and 2014, respectively. That Chad Bettis struck out more than a batter per inning, allowed less than three walks per nine innings, and dominated the minor leagues with a hard two-seam fastball and a power slider.
Rockies fans may be skeptical of ever seeing that version of Chad Bettis at the big league level, however, considering the struggles he’s had acclimating to Major League hitters after two extended periods where he’s thrown a combined 69.1 innings for the Rockies.
Bettis’ worst-case scenario is a little different from perhaps other arms in Albuquerque right now. Whereas Jair Jurrjens, for example, is certainly not a prospect and instead a veteran depth piece, and Jon Gray will stay a prospect even if he spends the entire year in AAA because he’s young, Bettis falls squarely in the middle of the two in a weird predicament.
He’s now 26, with a poor big league track record, making him a fringe prospect (if even one any more), and a third failure at the big league level this year (or, really, any significant struggles in AAA) would completely knock him off the Rockies’ radar. It’s probably not an overstatement to say Bettis’ career hangs in the balance this summer.
I’m pessimistic that Bettis can ever get it together, if only because he’s already appeared in 37 big league games (including eight starts), and has shown to be very, very hittable. He’s done well in the minor leagues throughout his career, but it’s never translated to the big leagues, and he may be that stereotypical AAAA player that so many clubs run through every season.
I sincerely hope Bettis gets one more shot to prove himself in an extended look for the Rockies this summer, after they’ve yo-yo’d him back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, but I’m not very optimistic that he’ll be able to grab a long-lasting gig with the Rockies.
Give us your predictions!