With their season on the line tonight the Rays will be facing a rookie who was called up a week ago and has never started a big-league game before, as the Yankees announced that they’ll go with 23-year-old right-hander Dellin Betances in Game 162.
Betances is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, but his first and only MLB appearance involved giving up two runs and walking four batters in two-thirds of an inning as a reliever last week.
Prior to being called up Betances split the season between Double-A and Triple-A, throwing 126 innings with a 3.70 ERA and 142/70 K/BB ratio. He has excellent raw stuff and a very bright future, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Betances struggle with his control tonight. And he’ll probably be a limited pitch count too.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.