Jul 26, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt (63) delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field. The Rockies won 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Least Valuable Player: Rafael Betancourt
Least Valuable Player would have to go to veteran reliever Rafael Betancourt; father time caught up to him quickly as he simply didn’t have enough left in the tank.
Rafael has been heavily relied upon during his six-year stint in Colorado, starting in 2009 in which they made the playoffs. Betancourt was acquired from the Cleveland Indians during the middle of the ’09 season in order to provide stability in the bullpen — he did just that.
Betancourt made 32 appearances for the Rockies that season, collecting a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 1.78. Raffy logged 25.1 innings during that stretch, allowing five runs on 17 hits while walking five and striking out 29 — good for 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Last season was one to forget for the veteran. During the final stretch of the 2013 season, Rafael tore his ulnar collateral ligament in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, opting for Tommy John surgery. That surgery would force him to sit out for the entire 2014 campaign as Colorado looked for answers in the backend of their bullpen.
Betancourt made his return from Tommy John in 2015 and didn’t look like the same pitcher one bit. Velocity was obviously down, but his hit-and-miss stuff wasn’t there. Raffy made 45 appearances for the Rockies this past season, registering a 2-4 record combined with an ERA of 6.18. Betancourt was still missing bats, registering 9.2 strikeouts per nine, yet he couldn’t prevent the big innings.
The 40-year-old gave up 27 runs on 43 hits, walking 12 batters in 39.1 innings pitched. Raffy also registered the worst WAR (Wins Above Replacement) for any Rockies’ pitcher this season (-0.6).
Betancourt will forever be one of my favorite relievers but this season was one to wash. I would elect to go with Kyle Kendrick here as well but we will save that for our Rockies’ Year in Review series, which is already covered.
Next: Cy Young