Betancourt with the Colorado Rockies
Born: April 29, 1975|
Cumaná, Sucre State, Venezuela
|July 13, 2003, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 22, 2015, for the Colorado Rockies|
|Earned run average||3.36|
Rafael Jose Betancourt (born April 29, 1975) is a Venezuelan former professional baseball relief pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies, as well as in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Yokohama BayStars.
Boston Red Sox
He was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Boston Red Sox in September 1999. The Red Sox released him following the 1999 season and then re-signed him as a free agent in December 2000 after he spent the 2000 season with the Yokohama BayStars. He was granted free agency again in October 2001, after serving the required time to acquire free agency.
After sitting out the 2002 season he signed with the Cleveland Indians as a minor league free agent and made his Major League debut for the Indians on July 13, 2003 against the Chicago White Sox. He pitched in 33 games for the Indians, registering an ERA of 2.13.
In 2004, Betancourt went 5-6, his first full season in the Majors.
On July 8, 2005 he became the sixth Major League player to be suspended for testing positive in steroids testing. He went on to appear in 54 games.
In 2006, Betancourt's ERA grew a full run higher than his previous season. Betancourt's best season was in 2007, as he registered career bests in ERA, Innings pitched and walks allowed.
On July 22, 2009, Betancourt was traded to the Colorado Rockies for minor league pitcher Connor Graham. His $5.4 million club option was declined at the end of the season, making him a free agent. Betancourt qualified as a Type A free agent, and was offered arbitration by the Rockies.
After numerous seasons being a set up man, Betancourt was given the closer role in 2012, saving 31 games for the Rockies.
Betancourt announced his retirement from baseball on February 26, 2016.
His best pitches are a 90–94 MPH four-seam fastball, and slider which is often mistakenly called a slurve. He also throws a changeup. Although he's not classified as a strikeout pitcher, Betancourt gets more than his share by throwing a significant number of strikes. He is a converted shortstop with a metal plate and six screws in his pitching elbow.
Betancourt is known in some circles for his odd windup. He constantly taps his foot on the rubber before coming set with a runner on base. He will constantly move his hands around and then tug on his baseball cap (sometimes doing it nine times) prior to throwing the next pitch. This is among the longest windups in the league. There is a rule to avoid unnecessary delays which states that if a pitcher takes at least 12 seconds to deliver a pitch, the pitch is automatically ruled a ball. Betancourt is one of the few pitchers who have had this rule enforced while pitching.
- "Players suspended under baseball's steroids policy". espn.com. June 7, 2006. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
- Castrovince, Anthony (January 23, 2008). "Betancourt earns raise from Tribe Reliever tied for American League lead in holds in 2007". MLB.com. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- Renck, Troy. Betancourt accepts Rockies’ arbitration offer, Denver Post. Published December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- Harding, Thomas. Betancourt accepts arbitration from Rockies, MLB.com. Published December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- Todd, Jeff (January 30, 2015). "Rockies Sign Rafael Betancourt, Omar Quintanilla". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
- http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_28689496/rafael-betancourt-designated-assignment-rockies-retool-bullpen. Missing or empty
- Castrovince, Anthony (July 4, 2007). "Notes: Betancourt methodical on mound". MLB.com. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rafael Betancourt.|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Weak-hitting shortstop found new life in bullpen