The Colorado Rockies have traditionally had a difficult time developing successful pitchers. This has partly been luck in drafting, and partly because of the inability of many pitchers to adapt to the atmosphere in Denver. Regardless, the Rockies continue to try and find as much pitching talent as possible, and have some intriguing young arms coming up through their minor league system.
One of Colorado’s most highly anticipated pitching prospects is right-handed starter Chad Bettis. He was originally drafted by the Astros out of high school in the 8th round of the 2007 MLB draft, but chose to attend Texas Tech, which ended up being an excellent decision.
Bettis started some games with the Red Raiders, but was most effective as their closer. In 2010, his senior year, he went 7-4 with 10 saves, striking out 102 of the 344 batters he faced. Despite his success in the bullpen, the Rockies pegged him as a starter when they selected him in the 2nd round of the 2010 MLB draft.
The reason the Rockies envision Bettis as a starter is because of his above average fastball, which can reach the mid to upper 90’s. He also has a good breaking ball and good control. So far he has not let the Rockies down, posting an 18-6 record with a 2.70 ERA over his first two professional seasons. He has also averaged a little better than a strikeout per inning, increasing his numbers with each level he has climbed. More information about his statistics is available here.
Now that the Rockies have traded Ubaldo Jimenez, their starting rotation is in dire need of an ace. Bettis is making an excellent case to be that pitcher, and could be in the majors by the end of next year if he continues to develop at such a rapid pace. His emergence could be the key to Colorado making it back to playoff contention, so he will continue to be closely monitored as he dominates minor league competition.
Chad Bettis Interview:
Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up, and why?: My favorite team was watching the Yankees play. They went about their business the right way. They expected greatness from their teammates and themselves.
I loved the mentality that Nolan Ryan had, and that’s definitely how I try to pitch today. Also, Cal Ripken Jr., one of the best players of all time. He went about his business the right way and never complained if he was hurt or sick; something we don’t see a lot these days.
What type of pitches do you throw?: I throw a four-seam and two-seam fastball; also a four-seam and two-seam changeup, a curveball, and cutter.
What made you decide to not sign in 2007, and go to school instead?: It’s a much longer story than this, but it’s because the Astros and myself could not come to terms.
How did you first become aware that the Rockies were interested in you?: I honestly didn’t think they were one of the teams that was going to pick me. I didn’t even know they were that interested until they picked me. But this is a great organization to be in and happy to be a part of the Rockies.
What was a fun thing you did for yourself or your family after you signed?: We had a little family party at my parents house. Then I was off to sign and get through the physicals, and head off for my first professional year.
What is the strangest thing you have seen a teammate do to keep from being bored on the bus rides between games?: I haven’t really seen anything too strange yet, but I’m sure I will one day.