Rafael Betancourt, underrated Rockies and Indians reliever, retires

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Right-hander Rafael Betancourt, who made it back from Tommy John elbow surgery at age 40 last season, has announced his retirement after a dozen years in the big leagues.

Betancourt got a very late start, debuting for the Indians in 2003 as a 28-year-old, but he was immediately one of the league’s top setup men and later transitioned to being an effective closer for the Rockies. In all he made 371 appearances for the Indians and 309 appearances for the Rockies, posting a combined 3.36 ERA with an incredible 724/164 K/BB ratio in 686 innings.

His ratio of 4.41 strikeouts per walk is the second-best in MLB history among all pitchers to make at least 600 career appearances:

                      K/BB
Jonathan Papelbon     4.54
RAFAEL BETANCOURT     4.41
Mariano Rivera        4.10
Billy Wagner          3.99
Huston Street         3.81

Helluva career for a pitcher who had to grind his way to the majors just to get a chance at age 28.