Mailbag: Robertson, Closers, Betances, Wandy


I know the mailbag usually goes up Monday morning, but Mariano Rivera‘s injury dominated the headlines yesterday. Here are five questions a day late, which is better than never. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us mailbag questions or anything else you wanna share.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Steven asks: Before I write this, I want to preface it by saying that a) one month does not define a pitcher at all, and b) I know starters are more valuable than relievers, but with how well David Robertson is doing, if he kept it up (I doubt he could keep up the 0.00 ERA), could he elicit some Cy Young consideration or would his lack of “saves” turn him off to voters?

Well, Robertson is going to get some saves now, but let’s pretend for a moment that he’s still setting up a healthy Rivera. Robertson did get one fifth place vote in the Cy Young voting last year, but you usually don’t see many non-closer relievers get love for the award. I mean, middle relievers don’t get any better than Robertson was last year, and yet he still only got one measly vote despite having the New York hype machine behind him. For a reliever to get serious consideration, I think it would take a Mo circa 1996 effort, an elite two-inning setup guy.

Patrick asks: What is the fundamental differences between a good closer and a starter? Is it simply longevity? Is David Robertson, whose stuff is as good as anybody out there, not a starter because he simply can’t last long enough? As opposed to say, Justin Verlander. And would CC Sabathia be the greatest closer ever? What defines these roles for pitchers apart from the ability to hang in there for 90 pitches?

Most relievers are starters who failed for whatever reason, could be lack of command, stuff, injuries, stamina, a whole bunch of things. Robertson’s problem is his control and general inability to record three outs with fewer than 20 pitches. He’s also on the small side and may not be able to maintain his stuff for 100+ pitches every five days for six or seven months. Most starters would be good relievers, and guys like Verlander and Sabathia would be among the very best relievers. Could you imagine Verlander in one inning bursts? He might throw 110.

As for defining roles, it’s all about performance. Most pitchers who end up in the bullpen are there because they couldn’t cut it in the rotation at some point. Sometimes that becomes clear in the minors, sometimes it takes a few years in the majors. A few clubs have shown a tendency to put some of their best arms in the bullpen right away, which I don’t agree with at all.

Evan asks: Are the Yankees the team poised to make the biggest jump in organizational prospect rankings? They have a lot of prospects in the low minors who are beginning to show some results to go with their potential. Could they jump into the top 5 or even top 3 clubs during the next offseason?

(Brian Bissell/Future Star Photos)

I don’t know if the Yankees are poised to make the biggest jump — the upcoming draft will have a lot to say about next year’s organizational rankings — but I do think they can make a big jump. First and foremost, they’re very unlikely to graduate any of their top prospects to the big leagues. Manny Banuelos, Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez, et al will still be on prospect lists next year, so that’s a nice head start.

Secondly, guys like Williams, Tyler Austin, and Jose Campos are off to huge starts in their first crack at a full season league. They might not keep up their current pace all season, but a full 140 games worth of production will definitely make them more prospect shiny. Sanchez is repeating Low-A Charleston but should get promoted to High-A Tampa relatively soon. Dante Bichette Jr. is off to a bit of a slow start but has plenty of time to turn things around. Rafael DePaula also got a visa finally, which is a rather significant addition. Obviously not everyone is going to work out, but I do think the Yankees have the pieces in place to threaten a top-five spot in next year’s farm system rankings.

Mike asks: Dellin Betances has been in the Yankee organization for a long time now. I’m not sure if he is running out of option years. Will he have to remain on the 25 man roster in 2013?

It has been a while, they drafted him way back in 2006. The Yankees added Betances to the 40-man roster after the 2010 season, so they’ve used up two options years (2011 and 2012) already. They have one more option year to burn in 2013, but after that he’ll have to stick on the 25-man roster or clear waivers before going to the minors. Dellin’s days as a starter are numbered, though a transition to the bullpen should make him a legit big league option in relatively short order. You don’t need pristine command to succeed in relief, just ask Robertson.

Mike asks: Is Wandy Rodriguez starting to look a viable option at this point? He pitched another good game [on Wednesday], brought his ERA down to 1.64. Just wondering what the pros and cons are.

I don’t consider Wandy a viable option personally, but it’s not the craziest idea. Joe listed the pros and cons prior to the trade deadline last summer, and all of that stuff still holds true. My biggest issue with Rodriguez is his contract, which will pay him $10M this season and $13M next season with a $13M club option for 2014. That club option becomes a player option if traded, so you’re talking about a three-year, $36M commitment by trading for the guy. That’s a bit pricey even without considering the 2014 payroll plan.

If the Yankees do venture into the trade market for a starting pitcher, they’re more likely to pursue short-term stopgaps like Brandon McCarthy or Bartolo Colon. They haven’t traded for a starting pitching with multiple guaranteed years left on their contract since Kevin Brown, and I doubt they’ll start with Wandy.

Categories : Mailbag


  1. Kosmo says:

    Right now I don´t think NY needs another SP but having said that who knows what happens injury-wise to the current SP. I like Wandy but I agree the money could be an obstacle. If he´s trade mid-season the cost would be more like 31 million over 2 1/2 years. I´m sure Houston would eat some of Wandy´s contract, I´m guessing here but maybe 5 million which would bring the total down to something like 26 million.
    Wandy is probably getting dealt sometime this season.

    • RetroRob says:

      The $13 million player option in 2014 that vests on trade is the the issue. I think the rest can be worked.

      There might be a solution. Can a player waive his option without the Players’ Union throwing a fit? I think yes, since it’s there to protect the player, so if he wants to waive it, all well and fine.

      The option right now is useless to Wandy beyond leverage. Houston will never pick up the last season, and no acquiring team will want Wandy with that extra-year at that price, so it’s actually working to trap him in Houston, not exactly a good thing these days. Is he going to refuse a trade to the Yankees or some other contender for money he’s never going to see? He probably can use it to get some team (either Houston or the acquring team) to give him a trade bonus to waive the option; otherwise, he’s trapped himself on the worst team in baseball right now, which doesn’t help him at all.

  2. Pounder says:

    I think Hughes will have to go to the pen sometime soon,so an additional starter will be necessary.Could do much worse than Wandy,contract be damned.

  3. jjyank says:

    I like Wandy, though not his contract. I would imagine that Houston would eat some of that contract if they want anything remotely useful back in a trade though, no?

  4. CC says:

    Jake Peavy should be their trade target, IMO.

  5. murakami says:

    Betances should not be converted to relief. Huge waste of his arm.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      You could say that about every starter that was ever converted to a reliever because of inefficiency, and this is coming from one of the biggest Betances defenders on here.

      • murakami says:

        You’re talking about a guy with a heavy, heavy heater, two other fastballs, and truly nasty secondary offerings. Leave him alone for the rest of this year, and see where a season under Aldred takes him.

        • jjyank says:

          Sure, for the rest of the year. But if he can’t put it together in 2012, the Yankees need to start considering other way to maximize their investment on Betances. I like him as a prospect, but you can’t walk 5+ guys per 9 and expect to stay a starter forever.

    • Gonzo says:

      What’s the alternative?

      • Kosmo says:

        trade or like Brackman cutting bait.

        • Gonzo says:

          Yeah, wouldn’t you rather see what he’s got in the bullpen rather than cut bait?

          • Kosmo says:

            I want Betances to succeed in pinstripes and would rather wait until the 11th hour before he is converted to a reliever.

            • murakami says:

              Kosmo is right.

            • I think that 11th hour is fast approaching.

              • Kosmo says:

                I think Yankee FO are set on letting him start for the remainder of this season.

                • I’d be okay with that.

                • Gonzo says:

                  Based on?

                  • RetroRob says:

                    They have him through 2013, so why would they convert him to a minor league reliever now?

                    • Gonzo says:

                      I never said they should convert him now, but if they did, I wouldn’t fault them either because they have a lot of data on him.

                      Also, they might think he may need some experience in the BP. What if they convert him in 2013 to the bullpen, and he sucks. Worse, he sucks and gets the needed bullpen experience with another team and turns out to be a lights out closer.

                    • RetroRob says:

                      I was at the beginning of the discussion when I posted that.

                      As I read through I saw a lot of debate, but I didn’t get the impression there was a big gap in the disagreement. Murakami is the most enthusiastic supporter of Betances, and I understand his position, even though I’m probably more in your camp.

                      If I read tomorrow that the Yankees moved Betances to the pen, then I would conclude the team thinks there’s zero chance he’ll work out his mechanics. The fact they haven’t done that yet means they haven’t reached that conclusion.

                      Betances scores high on scouting reports because of his stuff. Potential front-end starters are rare and he has that potential. Yet the same scouts note that he’s not a good athlete, and that will impact his ability to fix his delivery considering his size. Mariano Rivera is reguarly called one of the best athletes on the team. Probably no surprise that he has the best, and most repeatable delivery on the team. He’s the anti-Betances.

                      If the Yankees think there’s a five percent chance they can eventually fix Betances’ delivery then they should pretty much go down to the last second, meaning have him pitch out of the rotation through next year. They can always put him in the pen starting in 2014. If it doesn’t work, it’s probably not going to matter. His delivery gets so out of whack at times that I don’t think he’d even be useful in the pen.

                      Yet I’ll defer to the experts on that, and I’m that’s the Yankees!

                    • jjyank says:

                      Agreed RetroRob. I noted myself somewhere in this clusterfuck of a thread that I didn’t really understand what we were arguing about. At the end of the day, this is all worthless speculation. We have no idea if the Yankees feel like they can correct Betances’ command issues and we have no idea what Betances’ 2012 season will looks like. That’s the real wildcard. He could put it all together for the next several months and leapfrog Manny as our best prospect, or he could walk 6 per 9 and the bullpen discussions. I’m guessing that this debate won’t be important until at least next offseason.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      I agree Bob. My point was that if the Yankees move him to the BP, they have a good amount of data on him to make that decision. The Joba = Dellin canard is tired IMO.

              • murakami says:

                I don’t think 49.1 innings in AAA is remotely close to the “11th hour.” LOL.

                • Talking about the total MiL picture here.

                • Gonzo says:

                  What is then? There are plenty of pitchers that were converted with less than 49.1 ip in AAA? Some were converted with no AAA experience. Weird, I know.

                • Kosmo says:

                  I think 150 innings for this season is enough to determine what NY wants to do going forward. Betances is 24. NY could keep him starting at Scranton next season if there isn´t a significant turnaround this season.

                • Steve (different one) says:

                  Did you not read the post? He only has one option left. It’s not the 11th hour yet, but it’s getting close. At some point they have to consider alternatives because he will HAVE to be in the bigs.

                  • murakami says:

                    That still gives him the rest of this season and into next to take a big step.

                  • Sweet Dick Willie says:

                    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that last option just mean that 2012 is the last year the Yanks can call him up and send him down without exposing him to waivers?

                    If he doesn’t make the team out of spring training in 2013, can’t he spend the entire year at AAA w/o being exposed to waivers (Rule 5 doesn’t apply because he’s already on the 40 man roster)?

                    • CP says:

                      His last option will be used in 2013. Even if he spends the entire year in AAA he uses an option.

                • Havok9120 says:

                  Dude, we’re down to one option left. He’ll have to be in the bigs soon, and he’s shown no ability to do so as a guy worth a rotation spot. We’re not there yet, but it is fast approaching.

                  • jjyank says:

                    This. What’s funny is I’m pretty sure just about everyone here is in agreement.

                    Betances has crazy good potential. Betances has walk problems. Betances should/will be given 2012 to try to improve. If he does not improve, he might end up in the bullpen.

                    Am I right? I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what we’re arguing about. Nobody wants Betances in the bullpen right now. But if he doesn’t show improvement this year, he is about out of time. Once he’s out of options, he needs to stick at the MLB level.

                    • Bernard says:

                      There’s nothing like a good street fight! Look, can’t you see what Betances is doing here? He is deliberately trying to drive everyone crazy. Don’t fall for it. Think Nik Turley! Viva la somebody else! Just sit back, open a cold one and enjoy your CINCO DE MAYO!! We can’t allow one of our own to drive us all nuts and divide us amongst ourselves. You can’t do it! It can’t be done! Right? Right?

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    Two years away is not fast approaching. The 11th hour is spring training 2014. They don’t have to wait that long to convert him if they don’t want, but that’s when it is.

                    • jjyank says:

                      I would imagine they would want more than spring training stats to see how he does out of the bullpen. If Betances doesn’t take a step forward, my guess is around the all star break 2013.

                      The point is, 2012 is huge for him. If he doesn’t make improvements, I’m not sure how big his 2013 window is.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Disagree. The Yankees brass talk all the time about how pitching is pitching, starting or relief. They move guys like Noesi and Phelps and Mitchell from the AAA rotation to the BP all the time.

                      Plus, if they’re concerned about passing him through waivers it’s got to mean he progresses a bit. If he keeps this awfulness up for the next two years you don’t have to worry about someone claiming him.

                    • jjyank says:

                      I dunno about that last part, he’d still be somewhat young and have the shiny potential a team like the Pirates or something would take a waiver-gamble on.

                      2013 will be 8th year in the minor leagues. If he’s not showing even decent control by then, I don’t see why the bullpen is such a bad decision.

            • Gonzo says:

              I understand but he has over 450ip in the minors. Let’s not act like this is a Joba situation. There is plenty of data for the FO to make the decision on Dellin.

              I’m not saying they will, but if they do, it won’t be an uninformed one.

              • murakami says:


              • OldYanksFan says:

                Yes… 454 to be exact. And that includes 232 BB, or 4.6 BB/9 and 10.14 K/9. That profiles as a dynamic reliever.

                I don’t have historic stats, and guys can improve their control, but facing much better bats in MLB could have that walk rate go up.

                Like everyone else, I’d like to see him finish his year in AAA and see if there is at least some improvement. But my guess is he ends up in the BP.

                Which ain’t horrible. As we have seen so far, a shut down BP is a huge asset. We are 2 games over .500 even with a SR with an ERA over 6 and a slumping offense. I think some our our ‘success’ this year is because of the BP.

          • murakami says:

            Joba says hello. Been there, done that.

            • Gonzo says:

              Joba = 88.1 ip in the minors
              Dellin = 454.1 ip in the minors

              But hey, who cares about facts, right?

              • murakami says:

                He doesn’t even have 50 innings in AAA.

                What’s your point? You’ve reached your personal fan threshold for not hearing about him any more?

                I’ve seen him pitch live in Trenton for his time there in 2010 and all of 2011. I’ve seen two starts in Allentown already this year. Quoting his walk rates is a little facile for someone like me, when I’m very familiar with what goes wrong when it goes wrong, and what goes right for him.

                He’s worth saving, despite the knee-jerk, visceral cries of people with short attention spans who feel personally persecuted by hearing about his BB rates.

                Sorry, don’t mean to be a dick, but I’ve read all the so-called “scouting” of this guy, and half the time they are off base. Readings for fastball velocity for instance, where tomes are written about inconsistencies when they’re getting 2-seam and cutter readings and mixing them up with his heater. People like Law saying his curveball is the pitch that will keep him from an ML career.

                There’s too much misleading info on this guy. Quoting BB rates and deciding he belongs in the bullpen is a massive leap. Not very interesting reading, also.

                • Gonzo says:

                  What are your credentials?

                  • To be fair, is there an answer to that question that would satisfy you? I don’t think observing baseball players is too similar to becoming a doctor or lawyer or something, it’s not like the guy needed to go to graduate school and pass professional credentialing exams in order to watch a kid pitch and report on it.

                    The guy’s seen Betances pitch a bunch, and he has opinions about the kid’s future. Disagree with him all you want, but don’t disregard his observations just because he doesn’t write for BA or something.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      That was a serious question because right now he is coming of as a huge fan that really likes the kid. I don’t know if he knows how subjective he’s coming off.

                      Now, if he was professionally employed by some team or college in the past in a baseball capacity, I would have to consider that he is able to look at this objectively.


                    • murakami says:

                      Hey, exactly. Don’t take my word for it; go see him for yourself.

                      If there’s been one constant in the whole Betances conversation, I’ve found the people who have actually gone to see him often are the ones who are loath to brand him a reliever. Seeing is believing, because they have a real grasp of what would be lost if the Yankees cave on him prematurely.

                      Go see him yourself!

                    • Gonzo says:

                      I guess I can’t beat the you had to have been there argument.

                    • Maybe if you once worked for another team you could.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      Yeah, I never saw Jack Morris in person which is why I’ll never know why he belongs in the HOF either.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      Didn’t you quit this bitch like 10 times already?

                    • Don’t know that I quit so much as lost the motivation to deal with the stupidity. Which has just happened again, so I’ll say farewell for now.

                    • Gonzo says:


                  • murakami says:

                    My credentials?

                    Am I getting paid for this? That would be swell!

                    What are yours for doubting mine? See, this is a fun game.

                    Actually, I am not invested in the “witness” vs. “stats” thing. But if that’s what every observation related here comes down to for you (a chance to wave your flag of choice), then have at, but I’m not particularly interested.

                    I was interested in making a point that it’s way too early to fold on Dellin Betances. Whether I’ve made a good one or not, others can decide.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      I am not trying to be a dick. I was really interested on where you are coming from. If you’re a fan, and you believe in Dellin, that’s actually really cool. I just wanted to understand the why you are taking your stance.

                • This isn’t about 50 innings at AAA. It’s about the fact that he’s struggled with control, command, and health for his entire time in the minors. I’m not saying he needs to be made a reliever tomorrow or anything; he should definitely get the longest look possible, but guys who struggle w/the things he’s struggled with tend to get turned into relievers.

                  • murakami says:


                    He was a project when they drafted him. You realize that, don’t you?

                    He had the ligament surgery, and during rehab developed a devastating changeup. Did you watch him use it against Ortiz in ST? I’ve seen that pitch over and over again in Trenton. It’s nuts.

                    And I agree, he should get the longest look possible. Just too much gold in his arm. If he fails? Oh, well! Life’s a risk. They don’t “need” him in the bullpen of the future. They’ve got plenty of good two-pitch guys in the system who profile great as relievers. This guy needs to start until he proves beyond a doubt that he can’t get to the good stuff because he can’t get his release point consistent.

                    He’s still a project; the problem is, the stuff makes people impatient.

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      No, HE’S made people impatient. You’re acting like he hasn’t been in the organization for almost 6 years. The Yankees have taken the time with the project, but not all projects pan out in the best way possible. That’s why they’re called projects.

                      I’m not saying “convert him now!” and either is anyone else. But 6 years and 450 innings paint a very consistent picture in his young career. Can he turn it around and be a very good starter? Sure. Can we reasonably expect that at this point? No. The organization isn’t a charity and he doesn’t get a blank check for time because “he’s a project.” This isn’t a Joba situation. Its not a thing that requires immediate action, but its something to keep in mind. He is almost out of development time because the rules of baseball say that he’s almost out of development time. After that, we’re letting him be “a project” at the MLB level based on nothing but his name and his “stuff,” and that just doesn’t fly for a starting pitcher. Unless you think the Phil Hughes Problem is being well handled right now.

                • jjyank says:

                  I really don’t think quoting his walk rates are a massive leap. Look, we all know the guy has a ridiculous ceiling but he was drafted six years ago and is 24 already. The walk problems are based on a pretty large sample.

                  Not being able to get the walks under control is the main reason that many guys end up in the bullpen, I’m not sure how you see that as a stretch. I don’t think anyone here wants Dellin in the bullpen for 2012, but if he can’t start to correct that this year, it might be time for a change.

                  • murakami says:


                    I’m not sure we all do know about his ceiling.

                    I think there’s a general perception that Betances is a thrower. A big guy with a big fastball who can’t command it.

                    What’s not known is how deep the arsenal really is, nor that he knows how to set up hitters very well with it. If you get a chance to see him, you’ll come away very impressed with how he attacks LHB, for instance.

                    The part that’s frustrating is the physical mechanics that he has trouble repeating. He may always have to break it down for himself; check his head tilt, his elbow, make sure he’s not leaning away from the plate and collapsing, etc. But who’s to say that won’t eventually become muscle memory?

                    • jjyank says:

                      His ceiling isn’t in question, we know that. And maybe it can become muscle memory. All I’m saying is that this is his 7th year in the minors and he is now about two years older than a college senior draft pick.

                      By season 8 (2013) I think it might be time to try the bullpen if there isn’t improvement. If he starts improving his command in the bullpen, they can always transition him back.

                    • Sweet Dick Willie says:


                      Just for some perspective, it took Randy Johnson until his 5th ML season (his age 29 season) to get his walks under control.

                      All pitchers don’t progress along the same path.

                    • jjyank says:

                      I know that, but after 2013 Betances must be on the MLB roster. If he shows no improvement this year, then what? It they switch him to the bullpen and Betances’ control rounds into form in his late 20′s, then transition him back!

                      I don’t understand what you guys want the Yankees to do. Betances must stick on the MLB roster by 2014, or he will likely be out of the organization entirely. They can’t just let him sit in AAA until he’s 29, it’s not possible. And if he still has these control issues, do you really want to throw him in the MLB rotation?

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      No doubt they don’t. And no doubt we’d all love to sit Betances out as a starter until forever (I know I would, I like lottery tickets).

                      The problem is we can’t. Not in the minors. And watching a guy trying to figure it out (with “it” being effectiveness, not stardom), for years in many cases, in the majors is not something anyone here has patience for unless its for their pet prospect. We’ll be short on time after this season. If he can’t improve, not fix it, just improve, as a starter, might a stint as a reliever might be better for both the team and his development than just saying either “screw it, bullpen,” or “damn the torpedos, the dudes a starter”?

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      JJ and Havok,

                      I generally really like your guys’ comments. However, here I think you’re being ridiculous. No one is saying wait forever. People are saying 2 full seasons is a LONG time. Your comments are coming across like 2014 is tomorrow. They are coming across as impatient.

                    • jjyank says:

                      I don’t think I’m being impatient. All I’ve been saying is that in the scenario where Betances shows know improvement in 2012, in 2013 discussions about the bullpen should arise. I don’t think that’s a ridiculous statement.

        • murakami says:

          Outside of the BBs, he’s nothing like Brackman. Brackman did not have a big league change up that gets awkward swings. Brackman did not have his curveball. THis guy has so much sink and run, you can BB on him but you can’t get anywhere with him. Let him get to midseason. I’ll bet he’s getting his usual grounballs and feeble pop ups and striking people out. I’d much rather have a somewhat inefficient starter with his kind of stuff, then have him have his weapons taken and just show up for an inning here and there. Total waste of an arm.

          • Kosmo says:

            Betances just needs to harness his ´´´filthy“ talent.

            • murakami says:

              Right, and if he can’t do it to a reasonable degree, then I’ll agree he can’t be a starter. We’re not near that point with him, and I don’t think it’s coming to that. JTO of someone who has watched him quite a bit live over the last two years. I agree: give him time to harness what is crazy ability.

              • Monterowasnotdinero says:

                All this talk about watching with your own eyes as a keen fan reminds me of my watching a 21 year old catcher at SWB the last two years. I’m with you Murakami.

                • murakami says:

                  Do you mean that catcher who can’t catch who is catching and batting cleanup? I suddenly have an intense headache, wherefore I know not…

                  • jjyank says:

                    He’s caught like, 1/4 to 1/3 of the games. He also has a sub-.300 OBP. Can we stop it with the Montero stuff please?

                    • Midland TX says:

                      Now, you can’t put Montero’s PAs and performance all on him. By all accounts he is stuck with a manager obsessed with “gritty veteran presents.” It literally took an injury to get Miguel Olivo (OPS+ 63 with league-leading 4 PBs) out of the lineup.


                      Montero has to share PAs with Kyle Seager and Mike Carp, while John Jaso also rots on the bench.

                  • Havok9120 says:

                    Stop it. Just….stop it. You’re acting like he’s raking and catching every day. He’s not doing either.

              • Gonzo says:

                I guess I had to have been there.

                • murakami says:


                  You kind of gave yourself away with the “guess I can’t beat you” sarcasm.

                  You’re trying to “beat” me, as per your comment. I was trying to make a point as someone who has perhaps seen the pitcher more than others here.

                  How presumptuous of me.

                  You win.

  6. JobaWockeeZ says:

    DRob getting even one vote is extraordinary. The starters that are in the running triple his WAR amount so getting one “measly” vote is kinda a big deal.

    • Kosmo says:

      DRob also in 2011 finished 22nd in the MVP voting and of course was selected to the all-star team. He´s a VERY special talent.

    • Havok9120 says:

      I agree, its huge for him. But it also kinda proves the point being addressed up there: middle relievers just can’t get the attention or the stats to generate that attention.

  7. Reggie C. says:

    One thing we can’t forget regarding a change in Betances’s duties from starting to relieving …

    It doesn’t have to be a permanent change.

    Look at Daniel Bard. The man had significant enough control (i.e. BB issues) in the minors to change him from a starter to reliever. Clearly Bard displayed and executed his pitches at a very high level for the past couple seasons. I’m not exactly sure if Bard is starting at this moment, but he’s had some success this year as a STARTER.

    Bard honed his control as a reliever and thru need the RS decided to give Bard a second chance of starting. The returns look promising enough that RS fans should hope that Bard stays in the rotation and isnt returned to closing simply to fulfill an immediate need.

    I’m just trying to point out that Betances could experience success and work on his control/locating the FB while in the majors. He’s just got to bring the work ethic to make it happen and hope that a 5th starter spot is open down the line.

  8. murakami says:

    Daniel Bard just does not have his stuff. He just does not come close.

    There’s a reason why people actually familiar with Betances don’t want to see him Joba’d. I’d rather see him traded to Arizona and have Kevin Towers give him a chance than have him waste his career in the Yankee bullpen.

    Joba is an excellent comparison, because the one guy who seemed able to reach and tweak Joba mechanically was Aldred. The fact that he never was sent back to him says a lot about how poorly the Yankees handled Chamberlain. He’s a goo comp also because he has a starter’s arsenal. But I’ll match Betances’ FB/CB against Joba’s FB/slider combo, and although it’s fine, Joba doesn’t have anywhere near Betances’ changeup.

    I want Joba starting next season and I want to see Betances get some quality time with Scott Aldred. I trust him above all pitching coaches in the system. I think Rothschild would also be helpful to Betances, but let’s get to first base first.

    • Kosmo says:

      Do you see Betances as a SP in NY come 2013 ?

      • murakami says:

        If he can repeat for a whole season what he did in 2010. Even if he falls a bit short of that, I’d say he’d survive fine, because the stuff is so good.

        • Steve (different one) says:

          I don’t think anyone WANTS to see Betances put in the bullpen. In a perfect world the Yankees could give him all the time in the world to put it together. But the point of the post was that there will be EXTERNAL forces that might push them into such a decision. If he is still walking 5 per 9, the Yankees can’t really hand him a rotation spot in 2014. Agree they should give him as long as they possibly can, but you can’t ignore the roster issues, they are real.

          • OldYanksFan says:

            I understand where you’re coming from, but we shouldn’t be talking about BBs, as much as WHIP. You can BB 5/9 if your Hits allowed is the same.

            As it turns out, Betances WHIP in the Minors (1.38) is about 10% better than R.Johnson’s (1.50) Minor League WHIP.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Bard is showing he can stick in the rotation. Whether Bard’s stuff grades out better than what Betances currently has is a conversation im not prepared to have bc frankly it doesnt matter since Betances can’t locate the strike zone right now.

      If Betances’ work ethic is indeed laudable, then it might be slightly easier for him down the line to return to startin. Betances simply has to hone his control and command to the point where he can contribute to our ‘pen. That means he sticks in the majors with a shot at starting if the opportunity presents itself.

  9. murakami says:

    Reggie C,

    Betances’ work ethic has been heralded by Cashman constantly. I heard him bragging to scouts about this at Trenton last year, in fact, as I happened to be sitting behind them. This was during the Ubaldo stuff heating up; place was crawling with clipboards and radar guns. Cashman was rhapsodizing about Betances, how smart he is, how willing he is to learn, etc. By the way, he said: “He’s nothing like Brackman,” so make of that what you will. This was just chat with scouts he knows; wasn’t for public consumption.

    • jjyank says:

      Work ethic doesn’t necessarily translate into better command though. That’s the issue here. Betances has had many years to work on that, and he’s still walking more than 5 per 9. That’s not a knock on his work ethic or his determination, some guys just struggle with it. There’s no same in having him in the bullpen if it doesn’t get better after this season.

      And I really don’t like the Joba comparisons. Joba was rushed through the system hardcore, Betances has had years to develop.

      • murakami says:

        Well, this is true. It doesn’t, but in his case, I’ve seen him make in-game adjustments after being wild for an inning.

        He missed an entire year, and they remade his delivery. He hasn’t been on a linear path in the system, so I have to throw that out. Like I said, give him a season under Scott Aldred. Talking about relegating him to a life in the pen after a few starts, when he doesn’t even have full arm strength yet, is just so premature.

        • jjyank says:

          Nobody is saying to throw him in the pen after a few starts. I think pretty much everyone in this thread is in agreement that he should be given the entire 2012 season to see what happens. In 2013 though, I think the bullpen becomes a serious conversation unless he shows some real improvement this year.

          • murakami says:

            Right, and part of my objection is based on not buying that what’s going on right now will be representative of his year at AAA.

            Another part of this whole prospect thing is, there are games where they don’t want you to throw anything but your fastball. Or they want you to throw mostly changeups. It’s part of the “development” process. So, you really do need to qualify pitching statistics on given outings as guys make their way through the system.

            The main thing with Betances is that he’s very hard to square up and has true, front-end weapons. He’s a groundball pitcher who can strike guys out on any of his pitches; they’re all K weapons. Those guys are very hard to find.

            • jjyank says:

              While this is all true, the fact is the rules of baseball say that he is running out of time. I know that he’s developing, but you can’t just completely write off his peripheral statistics because of that. After 2013, Betances must either be on the MLB roster or another team. So if he doesn’t improve in 2012, the Yankees need to see if he can be successful in the bullpen, or they risk getting nothing out of their investment.

              • murakami says:

                He’s got effectively two full seasons left of AAA. That’s a fair amount of rope.

                Repeatability is the final frontier for him. He’s not a guy who has “3rd pitch” issues. But like I said, getting back to those checkpoints he used so well in 2010, and at times, last season, is what should keep him on top of self correcting. Probably will deal with that throughout his career, to some degree.

                We’ll see what he does under Aldred this season.

            • Havok9120 says:

              He’s a great talent. No one is denying that. I’m just not sure what you would want the organization to do with regards to next year if he shows no improvement.

              And are you also asking us to ignore this year if he shows no improvement because “he’s working on things in the games”?

              • murakami says:

                Um, no, I don’t think I’m asking that all.

                I’m pointing out that a few AAA starts into this jumped a level thing isn’t something to rely on. He doesn’t even have his fastball yet. Arm strength isn’t there yet. Just saying hold the piss a while longer before you go down the bullpen path.

                • jjyank says:

                  Nobody here is discussing the bullpen for 2012. I think you’re missing that point. Control/command has never been his strong suit, so if he continues to not show improvement, the bullpen is a possibility for 2013. That’s all anyone is saying.

                  • murakami says:

                    Actually, take a look at his 2010 numbers. He had an excellent K/BB rate, and GB/FO. It wasn’t a full season, but it was a convincing stretch owhere he had everything together and allowed one to actually see, rather than just project, what his stuff plus control would look like and what kind of results he could get.

                    • jjyank says:

                      One year out of 6. It is far more likely that Betances never reaches his ceiling than it is for him to hit it. You know that right? If he doesn’t show improvement, 2013 will begin bullpen discussions. I’m not really sure why you disagree so much. I admire your passion though, you are putting Monterowasdinero’s hugging of Montero to absolute shame in this thread.

      • Steve (different one) says:

        Joba WAS rushed, but you still can’t compare him to Betances. Joba was drafted out of a div 1 college program. Betances out of high school. By definition, Betances was going to get several more years in the minors.

        • jjyank says:

          Right, but that point just makes the comparison even more of a stretch. They’re different.

          This will be Betances’ 7th year in the minors and he’s a couple of years older than a college senior.

        • Gonzo says:

          Just adding a fact here.

          Joba’s starts in the minors + college = 47
          Dellin’s starts in minors = 96

  10. toad says:

    It’s nice to know that the Yankees have a strong set of prospects in the minors, but is it possible the ranking is a little deceptive?

    A team which is reluctant to take chances by bringing up minor leaguers, or is well-staffed at the major-league level, rates to have a better set of prospects than teams that make more promotions. Maybe some of the Yankees’s best prospects would be in the big leagues in other organizations.

    Just a thought.

    • Kosmo says:

      they are in other orgs. IPK,the catcher-DH for that team in the pacific-northwest,A-jax for example.

    • jjyank says:

      I think that this is negated by the fact that the Yankees don’t have access to top draft picks. Sure, maybe guys like Phelps/Warren/Mitchell end up hanging around the minors for an extra year or something, but I think that ranking boost is generally cancelled out by the lack of a Bryce Harper/Strasburg/Price type prospects.

      • Kosmo says:

        Yanks have elite prospects in Banuelos and Sanchez as well as a few others who were international signings.

        • jjyank says:

          Right but any team can access those. My point is that other teams can sign a Cespedes, a Chapman, and several of the big name Latin American names that I forget right now, as well as draft higher.

          The Yankees don’t really outspend everyone in the international market, so I’d call that a fairly even playing field. I’m just saying that I think the inability to ever draft higher than #30 negates the possible boost from current prospects staying in the system longer, as far as the rankings go.

  11. Monterowasnotdinero says:

    Wonder if DRob will ever throw his changeup now that the spotlight has been turned up. His fb and curve are elite (due to various mechanical things such as release point and leg drive etc) but a change would have been nice to add to the 9th inning repertoire. I know at this point he doesn’t need it but so many successful relievers around the league have one. Imagine if he could throw that pitch!

    • RetroRob says:

      Just the opposite. As a closer going one inning at a clip, he’ll stick with his two main pitches. Change-up is a feel pitch. He won’t want to get beat in the 9th inning on his third-best pitch he now rarely throws. Joba had a decent change too when he was a starter in the minors.

  12. JohnnyC says:

    Tampa Bay starters:

    Niemann 273 IP in AAA alone (385 IP in minors)
    Davis 211 IP in AAA alone (767 IP in minors)
    Shields 554 IP in minors
    Moore 497 IP in minors
    Hellickson 580 IP in minors

    Developing a major league starter takes time and patience.

    • Need Pitching says:

      you mean like this:

      Hughes 344 minors/77 AAA
      Joba 88.1 minors/8 AAA

      (though in fairness, I should note Price – 144/34.1)

    • Voice of Reason says:

      Look at 2007 and 2008 Joba Chamberlain and explain to us why he needed to be in the minor leagues.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        He never accumulated enough innings in a single season and it led to the Yankees handling him in stupid ways.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Nice to have hindsight

        • Voice of Reason says:

          There’s a difference between being stretched out for a full season and just accumulating minor league innings out of the misplaced belief that it benefits the pitcher in some significant way.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Neimann and Davis have barely been MLB starters on their careers… They spent so long in AAA because it was seriously in question whether they’d make it in MLB. The others are HS guys who stayed pretty healthy. How many MiLB innings did Price get? How many guys accumulate that many MiLB innings and never make it? I don’t think that there’s a one size fits all approach.

  13. Steve (different one) says:

    Just checked in on Brackman this year. Wow. Somehow he’s managed to be significantly WORSE than last year. Poor guy, hopefully he invested his bonus well.

    • Kosmo says:

      I know batters are doing the cha-cha around the bases.

    • Gonzo says:

      Brackman: Got a huge bonus in August of 2007. The market is going bananas they said. No end in sight they said. Invest in Blue Chip financial companies like Citi, Bank of America, Fannie, Freddie, AIG they said. You can’t lose because of the dividends they said.

      • CS Yankee says:

        You hit the nail on the head.

        Read the Dellin thread above though and unless I’m missing something don’t they have almost two years (2012-13) left of keeping him the minors? If so, spend this year and a few months into 2013, and just maybe the lights come on…if not, convert him to MRP in June, 2013 and call him up later next year.

        Time is on our side.


        • Havok9120 says:

          As we said above, no one is saying convert him now, or even this year. Just that after this year the door opens to it (I’d personally do it about mid-way through next year if absolutely no sustained improvement takes place). The argument started after we were informed that any talk of moving him to the ‘pen was uncalled for and that moving him to the pen at all (ever?) would be a travesty.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I’ve read all the comments above, and I would point out to you that 2014 is about 2 full seasons away. That is not fast approaching. That’s a world of time.

  14. DERP says:

    OT, but Robertson has 0.7 WAR in 12 innings.

    I’d say that’s decent.

  15. Brian S. says:

    Montero has a 111 wRC+ now.

    /high school girlfriend’d

  16. Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection) says:

    Why on Earth would anyone but David Robertson and his family care if David Robertson will get a Cy Young Award?

  17. Eddie says:

    I think its time the yanks look to the future and move on from mo, its robertsons time to shine and i think he will be fine. I wrote all about it inmy blog so come read enjoy and comment!

  18. Ted Nelson says:

    Anecdotally (without checking the splits at all) Betances seems to be getting creamed the first inning or two out there and then settling in for several innings in a lot of his starts. If that’s the case moving to the pen might not help him at all. A lot of people are saying “I told you so” on Betances, but this doesn’t seem like simply a continuation of last season. He seems significantly worse than last season.

    • Bernard says:

      I think you’ve hit on something, Ted! Let’s start a relief pitcher then and bring Betances in to start the third inning! It’s brilliant! It’s genius!!! Happy CINCO DE MAYO, folks!!!!

    • RetroRob says:

      This relates to the note I posted above. Unless he can figure out a semi-consistent delivery/release point, I’m not sure he’s even a reliever. I know the bar is lower as a reliever, and maybe he can focus on his fastball and a second pitch, yet he gets so lost at times that I don’t know how he’d work out of the pen either.

      Drafting players like Brackman and Betances is not necessarily a bad idea. High-risk vs. potential high-reward. Yet the team, and its fans, have to accept that there is going to be a high failure rate. Betances may never amount to anything, starter or bullpen.

      For now, I say leave him as a starter. More reps to work on the motion. Not sure when they should pull the plug and put him in the pen, but it might very well be it should happen at 11:59:59.

    • murakami says:


      This absolutely was his pattern last season (this year, hasn’t rung true so far): first inning can’t find the plate, second inning on, just a different guy.

  19. Mike HC says:

    I gotta say that I was starting to lose faith in Betances as anything other than a reliever, but goddamn I’m pumped about his chances after this thread!

    Murakami has got me convinced, ha. I’m on the Betences bandwagon.

  20. dan scabet says:

    did any of you guys predict the following

    on may 6
    yankees one game over 500
    detroit at 500
    phillies 2 under
    boston 4 under
    angels 6 under
    if so give me your lottery #s

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