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We at BSN Denver are running a series where we rank how valuable each of the Colorado Rockies’ 51 players was to the team in 2015. Value was calculated by statistics, viewing, and how memorable each player’s contributions were. The rankings will be from last to first, you may view the full rankings (here)
Player: Rafael Betancourt
Stats: 45 G, 39.1 IP, 2-4, 6.18 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, 3.34 FIP, 76 ERA+, 9.15 K/9, 2.75 BB/9, 8 Holds, 1/4 SVO, 0.6 WAR
Big Moment: Aug 5, the Rockies are at home in an extra-innings affair with the Seattle Mariners. The game is tied 5-5 in the 10th inning when manager Walt Weiss hands the ball off to the veteran Betancourt. The Righty inherits the winning run just 90 feet away while another runner is right behind him at second. With one out he’s on to face Ketel Marte, in a long eight-pitch battle the slow working 40-year old is able to strikeout the young shortstop. Next, Mariners star third basemen Kyle Seager comes up to the plate, and in just two pitches Betancourt retires him with a flyout. This led to a two-run walk-off 11th inning home run by catcher Michael McKenry giving the Rockies a 7-5 win.
Season Recap: After Tommy John surgery in 2013 Betancourt spent 2014 in the minors rehabbing. It was remarkable that the vet didn’t call it a career after the devasting injury, even more remarkable he found his way back to the big leagues at age 40 despite the injury when he broke camp with the big club this year. Betancourt was a big and surprise addition to the Rockies ‘pen. While he wasn’t the amazing reliever he used to be, he still was effective and got the job done on most nights. His ERA was highly over inflated this season, he still had great control and his patented ability to pitch away from batters with control.
What’s Ahead: His career is over, and he finishes as one of, if not the best reliever in franchise history. Betancourt played 13 years in the majors, six with the Rockies, he had a 15-15 record in 309 games. In the 275.2 innings he pitched in the purple pinstripes, he had 58 saves, which is among the best in Rockies history, a 3.53 ERA, and a 5.63 strikeout to walk ratio. He’ll long be remembered for the waiting game he played with batters coming when out of the stretch, the fact that he *almost never* hit a batter with a pitch and his ridiculous ability to keep the ball off the inside of the plate. Best of luck to Raffy.