Yankees’ hard-throwing reliever Dellin Betances has chosen to represent the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Betances was born and raised in New York. However, he was given a choice of Team Dominican Republic or Team USA. His decision to commit to the DR was influenced by his parents, who are from there.
“That is where my family is from, and I want to make them proud,” Betances told the New York Post. One of the most dominant relievers in the game, Dellin adds a huge boost to the reigning champs’ bullpen. Last season it was Fernando Rodney shooting his imaginary arrow into the air, but this tournament could be Betances’ to close out.
The 28-year-old has made the All-Star team the last three seasons and is currently the Yankees closer after the departure of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Betances was 3-6 with a 3.08 ERA in 73 appearances last season. Nearly all of his numbers were a drop from the last two seasons. However both his K/9 and BB/9 were both significant improvements at 15.5 and 3.5 respectively.
While the Yankees are allowing him to play in the tournament, there may be an inning limit, as Betances has been one of the most overworked relievers the past couple of seasons. He appeared to tire in September, as he was often used for an inning plus on a regular basis. He has pitched 247 innings over 227 games the past three seasons.
Dellin Betances is the second major leaguer to commit to Team DR, joining Orioles’ third baseman Manny Machado. The reigning champs will likely have a roster filled with major leaguers once again as they will look to repeat. Even without many formal commitments, they are widely regarded as one of the favorites when play begins on March 9th.