Dellin Betances was the big signing the New York Mets made last offseason to bolster their struggling bullpen. In his first season in Queens, injuries and lack of spring training held him back from reclaiming his role as one of the best relievers in baseball.

After three scoreless and walkless outings to opening up his season, Betances struggled to complete entire innings. As usual, Betances still needed a few outings to regain his upper 90s velocity and reign in his breaking ball. Unfortunately, we never saw the consistent high velocity, and Betances had trouble finding the strike zone.

Betances made 10 more outings before heading to the injured list with a right lat injury. In those 8.1 innings, he allowed seven runs and seven walks. While he did not allow an extra-base hit, combining eight hits with those walks led to bad outings.

Betances stint on the IL lasted just under a month, and he returned to pitch twice before the season ended. Both outings were typical of his season, one scoreless with two walks and the other allowing three runs. Betances had more outings where he allowed a walk than ones without a free pass.

Reasons For Struggles

Throughout his career, Betances has been known for his lack of velocity early in the season. Combining the lack of outings he made in 2019 due to injury and the lack of a full, healthy spring camp was something Betances did not adjust to well. Betances had the worst strikeout and walk rates of his career six consecutive seasons of double-digit K/9 numbers.

A positive for Betances is continuing to limit the home runs against him (0). Finishing the season with a 7.71 ERA gave Betances no choice but to use his option year to return for 2021. After two seasons riddled with injuries and dealing with a wacky season, Betances should right himself with a fully healthy offseason and spring training.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

4-Seam Fastball: 45 (60), Lowest average velocity of his career and a 13.2% whiff rate, also the worst of his career.

Curveball: 40 (50), Used to be a major weapon for him and lagged as a strikeout pitch.

Slider: 55 (65), Only threw 24 of them but hitters only batted .231 against it. It should be interesting to see how he balances the curve and slider in 2021.

Command: 20 (50), Never been a control artist but is much better than he was in 2020.

Overall: 20 (55), Betances may not return to being an All-Star, but he still has plenty of good years left in him.

This article first appeared on Empire Sports Media and was syndicated with permission.

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