PORT ST. LUCIE — Dellin Betances has thrown just 12 ¹/₃ innings over the past two years, so he spent the offseason trying to learn more about the body that betrayed him.
The Mets reliever hopes it leads to a healthy bounce-back season in 2021, whether or not his velocity ever lights up the radar again the way it did during his All-Star seasons with the Yankees.
“I feel tremendously better than I did last year,” Betances said Wednesday at Clover Park.
“I definitely have something to prove. … I want to win the fan base over. I was able to do that with the Yankees, but I haven’t done near nothing with the Mets, so for me, I have to win the fan base over and just do my job.”
To try to get back to that level, Betances enlisted the help of Rockland Peak Performance (RPP), a biomechanics-focused baseball training facility in Paramus, N.J., over the offseason. He worked with RPP owner Nunzio Signore to get a clearer picture of his body — one that has sustained right shoulder impingement, a bone spur in his shoulder, a strained lat, a partially torn Achilles and more lat tightness since 2019.
Signore and RPP used technology — a 3D motion-capture system, four-camera video analysis and force plates testing power output — to put together a throwing program and mobility and strength training programs specifically designed for Betances.
“If we can’t get his body mobile enough to do it, the body cares very little about what the coach has to say,” Signore said in a phone interview.
They found that Betances’ tight lat and a lack of hip rotation were negatively affecting his delivery, so they used manual therapy on his arm and gave him a daily mobility protocol. They also increased his lean muscle mass to become more explosive on the mound.
Mechanically, RPP pitching coach Mike Lembo worked on Betances’ delivery and used Rapsodo to bring his spin efficiency up — from mid-80s last season to mid-90s now, Signore said. They also brought his vertical break back up after it had fallen off last season, with Betances wanting more carry and less cut on his fastball.
“I have to say, the guy got in here four days a week and really got after it,” Signore said. “He was diligent with his working out.”
Questions remain about his fastball velocity — which averaged 93.76 mph last year after averaging 98.2 mph in 2018 — but Betances believes a healthy body and improved mechanics can still make a difference.
“We’ll see where it goes,” said Betances, who gave up 10 runs in those 11 ²/₃ innings last season, his first in a Mets uniform. “If I can get some of those numbers that I had when I was healthy, even if the velocity is not there, but if I can get some of that ride, play that off of my breaking ball, I feel like I can definitely do a great job.”