Yankees Twin Towers, Betances and Brackman, are Back!

Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances stand at 6’10” and 6’8″ respectively and it is their size and their high ceilings that have earned them the nickname the “Twin Towers.”

Entering the 2009 season they were among the elite starting pitching prospects in the Yankees system, but by the end of that season Brackman had been demoted to the bullpen and Betances was on ice after undergoing season ending surgery. Coming into this season things were not looking good for either one of the duo. However here in the middle of June things seem to have taken a turn for the better for the pair.

In 2009 Brackman, now 24, started his season in the Low-A Charleston rotation, but wildness took over and he was eventually demoted to the bullpen. He got his rotation spot back entering this year, but when he returned he didn’t have his normal high-90’s fastball that the Yankees drafted him for and instead was throwing in the 89-92 mph range.

There seems to have been a plan behind that though. Force him to work a little slower while focusing on his mechanics and location. If that was the plan, it seems to be working perfectly. Brackman hasn’t walked more than two batters in any start this season and his velocity has slowly been creeping up while his performances just get better and better.

In his last five starts Brackman has been said to be throwing 93-96 mph to go along with a 4-0 record, a 1.55 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 4 walks over 29 innings. It’s a small sample size to be sure, but it looks like Brackman is finally starting to fulfill his untapped potential. If he can keep this up, he’ll shoot up to the top of the Yankees prospect lists again in no time.

Betances, 22, is another story. He’s also had great stuff ever since the Yankees drafted him, but it feels like he’s always dealt with elbow issues. His best season was 2008, but last year he just looked lost. Finally he went down with an elbow injury that caused him to need a ligament reinforcement procedure to fix. Between that and his mixed results throughout his minor league career it was really hard to count on him as a prospect entering this season.

Well if his first two starts back from surgery are any indication Betances is back and he’s a prospect again. The sample size is small, but Betances has been throwing 95 mph and touching 98 in those starts. He went six innings in each, he allowed just one run (in his first start) and has 13 strikeouts to go with just one walk. His ERA is currently 0.75.

It’s too early to tell for sure if these guys have really turned their careers around, but they certainly seem to be on the right path. Both are pitching for the High-A Tampa Yankees and are realistically at least two years away from the majors, but if they continue on this trend the Yankees have regained two high ceiling pitching prospects once thought lost.

What’s important now is that they both stay healthy and pitching every fifth day. If they can do that and keep demonstrating the control they’ve displayed lately the Yankees have two pitchers with bright futures.

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6 Responses to Yankees Twin Towers, Betances and Brackman, are Back!

  1. Brian Burkhart says:

    Obviously they still have a long way to go, but this shows how much patience you need with pitching prospects. Seems like we've been hearing about these 2 for quite some time, yet Brackman is only 24 and Betances just turned 22 (!). They still have time to grow, though considering that Brackman is older and on a major league deal, the Yankees would probably like to see him move up pretty quickly.

  2. I don't think we'll see either until 2012 and they probably won't be up for rotation spots until 2013. Think about it, the Yankees have McAllister, Kontos, Noesi, and Phelps ahead of them. Ivan Nova could even be included in that list. Those guy will be keeping either Brackman or Betances from coming close in 2011.

  3. dutchsailor says:

    The byword on tall pitchers is because of all the extra movement, you really have to be patient with their development. HIstorically the Yankees have not been very patient with prospects, and it is nice to see that they have stuck with B&B even when they stunk.

    • Matt says:

      They remind me of Bobby Munoz way back when. He threw so hard in AAA but with that height never really got it over the plate in the najors. I think he had a good year or two with the Phillies, but never became the pitcher the Yanks wanted when he first came up.

  4. McAllister hasn't been that bad, he's really had a few terrible starts surrounded by a lot of quality starts. The problem with him is going to be spoiled Yankee fans. I'm sure a lot of organizations would love to have him.

    Kontos is working his way back and I've read that his velocity is already back in the mid-90's occasionally up to 97 mph.

    Those guys are next in line. I doubt very highly that either Brackman or Betances would be options before them. Brackman would have to get promoted and absolutely dominate the next level right away to even be close to leapfrogging one or both of those guys.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    They need to do this type of work day-in, day-out before we can get too excited, but adding two high-end starter prospects to the system would probably move the Yankees farm system up to the top 10.

    Rob, the way McAllister is going and with Kontos’ injury problems, they aren’t blocking anyone from the majors, especially two high ceiling guys in which the Yankees have a lot more invested.