Looking at RHP Chad Bettis and his potential fit with the Baltimore Orioles.
The 2019 season was one to forget for Chad Bettis, but there are some positives we can take away from his injury-shortened season. Formerly a starter for much of his career, Bettis was moved to the bullpen after just three starts last season, where he appeared in 39 total games (63.2 IP) and went 1-6 with a 6.08 ERA and 1.55 WHIP.
Bettis found himself on the injured list in mid-August with a hip impingement and would be shut down shortly after for the remainder of the season after having hip surgery. He’s now reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery and likely destined for a minor league prove-it deal this winter.
Despite the injuries and unsightly pitching line, there are a few positive numbers we can look at that make Bettis an intriguing option. Despite averaging less than six strikeouts per game (15.4% or lower each of the last three seasons), Bettis lowered his walk rate from 9.1% to 7.3%, the second-lowest mark of his seven MLB seasons in Colorado.
Bettis also recorded a 60.8% groundball rate (previous career-high was 51%) and had an xFIP nearly a run and half lower than his ERA (4.49 xFIP/6.08 ERA). Baltimore isn’t likely to have a defense that will help many pitchers, but those numbers are promising.
According to Baseball Savant, Bettis added more than 2.5 mph on both his four-seamer (93 mph) and cutter (88.7 mph) in shorter stints in 2019. Both pitches also saw a significant spike in spin rate. The 4.1 inches of horizontal movement Bettis puts on his cutter is 107% higher than the average major league cutter. With the right plan in place, Bettis could have a solid rebound season in 2020.