Bullpen Banter: Is Dellin Betances Losing His Chance At The Yankees’ Closer Role?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There was never any certainty surrounding the Yankees’ closer situation entering the season.  Fantasy owners all wanted to see Dellin Betances handed the job, though the money given to Andrew Miller clouded that outlook.  Their spring performances (through Tuesday) is also helping to further muddy the waters:

Dellin Betances5.05.401.6042
Andrew Miller6.01.500.8382

Betances has allowed a run in each of his past three outings, failing to register a strikeout in the process.  It’s obviously just a blip on the screen and not something we are going to push the panic button about, but it opens the door for the two to share the job at the very least.

That was always the fear from fantasy owners, and where this has always appeared to be headed.  A few days ago Chad Jennings of The Journal News published the following, including a quote from Joe Girardi:

“Girardi said picking a true closer simply isn’t a priority this spring. He said there’s a legitimate chance the Yankees could start the season without a go-to ninth-inning guy.

“It’s possible, yeah,” Girardi said. “I think it’s kind of on the backburner for us in a lot of our discussions. Discussions that have kind of taken over the conversation have been the fifth starter, backup catcher, those sort of things. We feel good about our bullpen.”

Fantasy owners will just have to wait and see how things play out, but with other lefties in the bullpen (i.e. Justin Wilson) the team has the flexibility to utilize Miller to close games out.  He showed last season that he can get both lefties (.161 BAA) and righties (.142 BAA) out, so there is little reason to consider him just a specialist.

Chances are it’ll be Betances, eventually, just be prepared and know the risks going in.  If you are drafting try to grab both to keep yourself covered.  Otherwise this could be a situation fantasy owners want to avoid.

Sources – Fangraphs, Journal News, MLB.com


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  1. Bryan Shisler says:

    in home leagues, why anti up the high draft pick for a ? (Betances) when there are others in the same Tieri with secure jobs? On the flip side, why not use a last pick on Miller for the extremely low cost chance of him getting the job and 40 saves?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Sounds about right! I’m not advocating actually rolling the dice on Betances, but if I had to guess I would expect him to ultimately be the more valuable. That said, Miller at his price is well worth it

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