Betancourt is not a one-pitch pitcher. Against lefties, he throws a fastball, a change, and a slider. But while Betancourt is able to mix up his pitches, he doesn’t exactly mix up his pitch locations. While he does vary height, everything — almost literally everything — is away. Nearly every single pitch he’s thrown to a lefty this year has been over or beyond the outer half. Some pitchers try to live on both the edges. Against lefties, Betancourt lives on just one of them. . . .
I haven’t checked, but I can’t imagine there are many pitchers who leave areas of the zone as unexplored as Betancourt does, if there are any of them. Strangely, Betancourt still shows absurdly large career platoon splits. Betancourt has held righties to a .243 wOBA, while he’s allowed a .313 wOBA to lefties. Against lefties, his strikeout rate has gone down and his walk rate has nearly tripled. But he’s also generated grounders and done just as good a job of limiting dingers, and maybe that’s the idea. Lefties have had success against Rafael Betancourt, but they haven’t had success knocking him out of the park.
I’m going to miss that, all of that, and I’m very sad about it. But this is the opportunity to go beyond just trying to analyze prospects and talking about their future. This is the opportunity to actually see if I’m right. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating and brings back weird and wonderful feelings in the back of my brain that haven’t been triggered since my technology days working for start-ups. I’m going to take some time off, recharge the batteries, and get going with Houston just in time for the offseason. I’m not going away, as I’ll still be reading Baseball Prospectus every day, and watching and learning from and laughing at all of your tweets. I’ll just be doing it silently while putting everything I have into this new and thrilling endeavor.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!