Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.
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No. 31, Chad Bettis (-0.1 rWAR)
Late in the season Rockies fans heard a lot about how the five starters in the Opening Day rotation were all injured. It was true! Those five starters were Kyle Freeland, German Márquez, Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, and the subject of this post, Chad Bettis.
Bettis, in fact, is the one of those that is not like the others. That’s because Chad Bettis was removed from starting duties after just three very bad attempts. As a starter, Bettis allowed 20 hits and 13 runs in 13 1⁄3 innings pitched. He walked 8 and struck out 9 batters in those innings. So, technically when Bettis was placed on the IL in mid-August, he was a member of the Opening Day rotation to end up there. But it was a while since he last started a game anyhow.
As a bullpen arm Bettis was okay. Over 50 1⁄3 he posted a 5.36 ERA. Ultimately, Bettis was in the middle of the pack for Rockies’ relievers. Bettis’s season came to an end on August 25, when the team announced that he would undergo bilateral hip surgery.
Bettis’s future with the Rockies is in serious question. Bettis earned $3.35 million in 2019, according to Rockies Roster, and he’d be headed into his final round of arbitration in 2020 before hitting free agency in 2021. In other words, Bettis will be due millions of dollars in 2021. But he’s clearly not going to start anymore, and his production as a reliever isn’t any better than the many other pre-arbitration players already on the 40-man roster. Due to service time, Bettis can reject being optioned to Triple-A. To all that add the fact that Bettis is currently on the 60-day IL, and it will require removing someone on the 40-man roster to keep him. All signs point to Bettis as a prime non-tender candidate.
Bettis’s bout with cancer, chemotherapy, and his subsequent return to effectiveness is one of the great individual stories of recent years. He so thoroughly returned to quality major leaguer that his overcoming cancer isn’t even a part of considering his 2019 season. Now, however, it looks like Bettis will succumb to the offseason roster crunch and end his career elsewhere.