Archive for Dellin Betances
Perpetual prospect Dellin Betances threw a scoreless inning on the road against the Astros this afternoon, and to quote Houston’s announcers, he was “scary wild.” That’s pretty typical for the right-hander, who had a nightmare season a year ago and has struggled to harness his admittedly impressive stuff over the last six years. The 25-year-old ranked 23rd on my preseason top 30 prospects list, and today he walked two, struck out two, hit a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch. We’ll start with the good stuff, like the big fastball in the .GIF above. More to follow — click to embiggen — after the jump.
Via Chad Jennings: Brian Cashman confirmed that prospect/suspect Dellin Betances will open the season as a starter for Tripe-A Scranton, just like last season. He’s expected to join Adam Warren, Brett Marshall, Vidal Nuno, and Shaeffer Hall in the rotation. Hall could get stuck spending a third year with Double-A Trenton if the Yankees sign a veteran depth starter.
Betances, 24, was so awful as a starter for Scranton last year (6.39 ERA and 5.88 FIP) that he had to be demoted to Double-A, where he was slightly less awful (6.51 ERA and 4.15 FIP). Betances pitched in relief during the Arizona Fall League and it seemed like he would continue to pitch out of the bullpen going forward since his command and mechanics have shown negligible improvement during his 6+ year pro career. The Yankees will burn Dellin’s final minor league option this year, meaning he’ll have to pass through waivers to go to the minors starting in 2014. It’s make or break time, if he doesn’t show any improvement early in the season they should stick him in the bullpen quickly and salvage whatever value they can.
Friday: McDaniel following up with a part four looking at a number of secondary pitching prospects — including an interesting 18-year-old right-hander just brought up from the Dominican Summer League — as well as OF Slade Heathcott, SS Cito Culver, and SS Austin Aune. So yeah, get on that.
Tuesday: Over at FanGraphs, Kiley McDaniel put together some scouting notes on various Yankees prospects he saw in Instructional League the last few weeks (part one, part two, part three). Among those covered were OF Tyler Austin, 2B Angelo Gumbs, RHP Hayden Sharp, 3B Dante Bichette Jr., RHP Dellin Betances, 3B Miguel Andujar, C Peter O’Brien, and C Gary Sanchez. Some of the reports are good, others not so much. They’re all worth the read though, so make sure you head over to check all of them out.
Via Anthony McCarron, the Yankees have designated right-hander Cory Wade for assignment. The move clears a 40-man roster spot for Dellin Betances, who was activated off the 60-day DL so he could pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
It was quite a fall from grace for the 29-year-old Wade, who gave the Yankees about 55 great innings before falling apart in late-May. He was an important part of the bullpen in the second half last year and for the first six weeks of 2012, but for whatever reason he just lost the ability to locate. That’s a recipe for disaster given his pure finesse approach. All told, his Yankees career featured a 4.23 ERA (4.13 FIP) in 78.2 innings after being plucked off the scrap heap. For shame, I liked Wade.
Betances, 24, was placed on the minor league DL with shoulder tendinitis in late-August, but the Yankees recalled him and stuck him on the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man spot for Andy Pettitte last month. He had a nightmare season that included a demotion from Triple-A to Double-A. The AzFL season begins tomorrow, and Betances is one of seven Yankees prospects heading to the desert.
As expected, the Yankees have activated Andy Pettitte off the 60-day DL in time for this afternoon’s game. To clear room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Dellin Betances was recalled from Double-A and placed on the 60-day DL. He missed the end of the minor league season with shoulder tendinitis but is expected to be healthy in time for the Arizona Fall League next month.
Via Josh Norris, the Yankees are sending right-handers Dellin Betances, Mark Montgomery, Danny Burawa, and Zach Nuding to the Arizona Fall League this year. Austin Romine, Slade Heathcott, and David Adams have already been confirmed on the position player side.
Betances had a nightmare season that ended with shoulder tendinitis, but apparently he’ll be healthy enough to pitch in the desert. He has a long way to go to rebuild his prospect value, and it’ll be interesting to see if he starts or relieves out there. Montgomery is the club’s best bullpen prospect and Burawa isn’t far behind, though he missed the entire season with oblique and rib problems. Nuding is a bit of a sleeper and might have the biggest arm in the organization, though he missed time with a shoulder injury this year as well. That’s the common theme here, everyone ticketed for the AzFL other than Montgomery had injury problems in 2012.
8:28pm: VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman confirmed to Norris that Betances had an MRI and has been diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis, so at least there’s nothing structurally wrong in there.
5:30pm: The year of the pitching prospect injuries continues. Josh Norris reports that right-hander Dellin Betances has been placed on the Double-A disabled list with a sore right shoulder following last night’s four-inning, 82-pitch outing. With both Manny Banuelos and Jose Campos missing most of the season with elbow trouble, the top three pitchers on my Preseason Top 30 Prospects List have now spent time on the shelf with an arm injury this year.
Betances, 24, is in the middle of a disastrous season split between Triple-A and Double-A. He’s pitched to a 6.44 ERA in 131.1 innings, with a walk rate (6.8 BB/9 and 15.7 BB%) that is far too high and a strikeout rate (8.5 K/9 and 19.6 K%) that is well-below his previous career norms. Arm injuries are nothing new for Betances, who had Tommy John surgery in 2009 and also missed about a month with a sore shoulder in 2008. The minor league season ends in less than two weeks, so he’s probably done for the year even if the Thunder make a deep playoff run.
This has been a very poor year for the farm system, mostly due to injuries. High-end prospects like OF Mason Williams (shoulder), LHP Manny Banuelos (elbow), and RHP Jose Campos (elbow) suffered season-ending injuries, the latter two before the calendar even flipped to June. OF Tyler Austin missed about a month with a concussion, and OF Slade Heathcott (shoulder) and C Austin Romine (back) didn’t get into their first games until June and July, respectively. Add in the usual array of miscellaneous injuries to lesser prospects, and you have one ugly season on the farm.
One player who has managed to avoid the injury bug this year is RHP Dellin Betances, which is somewhat ironic because he was spending time on the DL with arm-related injuries every year earlier in his career. Instead, Betances has seen his prospect stock take a hit because of his performance. Never known for his command, he walked 69 batters in 74.2 innings with Triple-A Empire State (8.3 BB/9 and 19.0 BB%) before being demoted down to Double-A Trenton. Betances has been better with the Thunder — 3.8 BB/9 and 9.6 BB% in 44.2 innings — but still has a long way to go in his development.
VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman told Mike Ashmore yesterday that Betances is likely to spend the rest of the season in Trenton, which makes sense. Newman reiterated that he, and presumably others in the organization believe the right-hander can start long-term, but that’s no surprise. Even if they don’t believe that at all, they wouldn’t say so. After a little back-and-forth with Ashmore, he mentioned that he believes the Yankees are just wasting time by not sticking Betances in the bullpen now, and that got me thinking a bit about the plan for the righty going forward.
First of all, we have to understand what the problem. Betances isn’t just having trouble with his command this year, he’s having trouble with basic strike-throwing ability, especially during his time in Triple-A. This isn’t a case of a guy being unable to hit the corners, Dellin hasn’t been hitting the strike zone at all. Is that something that will click with a move to the bullpen? It’s possible, but I believe that he’s going to need as many innings as possible to iron things out. As Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein recently explained, it’s a mechanical issue more than anything. Despite his size — listed at 6-foot-8, 260 lbs. — Betances is not all that athletic and has trouble repeating his delivery.
Secondly, the Yankees do have time on their side. Betances isn’t a kid anymore, he’ll turn 25 in Spring Training next year, but the club still holds one more minor league option for next season. They can send him down to Triple-A again to work on whatever he needs to work on, which apparently is a lot. The conversion from starting to relieving isn’t the most difficult thing in the world — guys often say the biggest adjustment they have to make is to their warm-up routine. With a little less than a month to go in the minor league regular season plus a potential playoff run (Trenton has an eight-game lead in the division and should have no problem qualifying for the postseason), Betances has at least another five starts left to make this summer, likely more. Those innings are valuable.
The Yankees have given Betances 113 minor league starts and nearly 500 minor league innings to improve his ability to hit the strike zone, and so far it hasn’t happened. He still misses bats (8.6 K/9 and 20.3 K% this year), throws hard, and actually has two very nice offspeed pitches in his curveball and changeup, but he has yet to harness that stuff. I think that unless some kind of light bulb clicks over the next few weeks, Dellin should go into next year as a regular old short reliever to see if he can make it work just by going out and letting it fly for one inning at a time. I respectfully disagree with Ashmore that they’ve been wasting time by not putting him the bullpen yet, but starting next spring they have to focus on extracting value from Betances however possible. A shift to relief is the next logical step.
In an Insider-only blog post, Keith Law ranked baseball’s best prospects on contending teams in terms of their trade value. SS Jurickson Profar of the Rangers tops the list, followed by RHP Gerrit Cole of the Pirates and OF Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals. The Yankees didn’t place anyone in the top ten, but C Gary Sanchez and OF Mason Williams rank 13th and 15th, respectively. They would have ranked higher had it not been for the whole Single-A thing — kids at the upper levels have more trade value because they’re closer to contributing.
On the other side of the coin, Kevin Goldstein posted an article (Insider req’d) looking at prospects who have lost trade value this season. Both LHP Manny Banuelos and RHP Dellin Betances made the list thanks to their disappointing seasons, the former due to an elbow injury and the latter due to control problems. The Yankees are kinda stuck in trade bait limbo right now, with their top chips in the lower minors and their upper level chips struggling.
Via Josh Norris, the White Sox are “zeroing in” on right-hander Dellin Betances after scouting his last three Double-A starts. No word on if the two sides are actually talking trade or anything like that, however. Betances does fit their style though, they grab big power arms and hope pitching coach Don Cooper can help them out. That part makes sense.
I’m not quite sure what the ChiSox realistically have to offer that can help the Yankees. Chicago’s contending so it’s not like they’re going to send over Matt Thornton or something, that would be ideal. Gordon Beckham would be a sweet change of scenery candidate, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.