Yankees Prospect Profile: Dellin Betances

A year ago Dellin Betances had trouble making anybody’s prospects list. Today he’s no. 3 on Baseball America’s Yankees prospects lists and probably less than a year away from his major league debut.

Yes, 2010 was a great year for Betances.

Betances, 6’8″ and 22-years-old, he has already had to deal with quite a few injuries during his career. In 2009 he had no apparent damage, but was dealing with constant elbow pain. So he had ligament reinforcement surgery which is similar to Tommy John surgery and came away pain free in 2010.

Consistency is hard to achieve for most players coming off of surgery, but Betances took off in 2010 in an amazing way. In 14 games at High-A Tampa he threw 71 innings with 88 strikeouts, 19 walks, and a 1.77 ERA. It doesn’t get much better than that.

That performance earned him a late season promotion to Double-A Trenton where he pitched three times. His 3.77 ERA in those starts wasn’t as impressive as his time in Tampa, but his 20 strikeouts and three walks in 14.1 innings was.

Throughout his minor league career Betances always had a lot of potential because of a strong fastball and a good curve, but his lack of a plus third pitch and consistent mechanics seemed to limit his ceiling. Since coming back from surgery his changeup has really stood out and his impressive 2.3 BB/9 rate indicates his mechanics are much improved too.

Here is what former scout Frankie Piliere wrote about him this past August:

Given some real similarities in their deliveries, as well as having highly similar arsenals and approaches, the best modern-day comparison for Dellin Betances is Josh Beckett. Obviously, Beckett may not still be that dominant pitcher, so this comparison goes more for the Beckett of old. Betances obviously is taller than Beckett, but other than that they are comparable in just about every other way, including the powerful mid-90s fastball, their deliveries, and the hard 12-6 hooks.

That’s an impressive report considering that Beckett played huge roles in leading the 2003 Marlins and 2007 Red Sox to become World Series champions.

He’ll be 23 by the start of the next season and he’s not on the 40-man roster now, but he is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft so it’s likely he’ll be added soon. That means he could potentially be a September call-up this season. First he’s likely going to start 2011 in Double-A, but if he dominates there the way he did in High-A last year he won’t stay there long.

By 2012 he should have an outside chance of winning a spot in the Yankees rotation. He’ll certainly be on the short list for replacements and if he can adapt to the major leagues he could be in the rotation for good by 2013.

Here are his minor league stats:

Year Lev W L ERA G IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2006 Rk 0 1 1.16 7 23.1 14 5 3 7 27 0.900 5.4 0.4 2.7 10.4
2007 A- 1 2 3.60 6 25.0 24 11 10 17 29 1.640 8.6 0.0 6.1 10.4
2008 A-Rk 9 5 3.92 25 121.2 100 64 53 62 141 1.332 7.4 0.7 4.6 10.4
2008 Rk 0 1 8.53 3 6.1 13 7 6 3 6 2.526 18.5 0.0 4.3 8.5
2008 A 9 4 3.67 22 115.1 87 57 47 59 135 1.266 6.8 0.7 4.6 10.5
2009 A+ 2 5 5.48 11 44.1 48 29 27 27 44 1.692 9.7 0.4 5.5 8.9
2010 A+-AA 8 1 2.11 17 85.1 53 25 20 22 108 0.879 5.6 0.4 2.3 11.4
2010 A+ 8 1 1.77 14 71.0 43 18 14 19 88 0.873 5.5 0.1 2.4 11.2
2010 AA 0 0 3.77 3 14.1 10 7 6 3 20 0.907 6.3 1.9 1.9 12.6
5 Seasons 20 14 3.39 66 299.2 239 134 113 135 349 1.248 7.2 0.5 4.1 10.5
Rk (2 seasons) 0 2 2.73 10 29.2 27 12 9 10 33 1.247 8.2 0.3 3.0 10.0
A+ (2 seasons) 10 6 3.20 25 115.1 91 47 41 46 132 1.188 7.1 0.2 3.6 10.3
A (1 season) 9 4 3.67 22 115.1 87 57 47 59 135 1.266 6.8 0.7 4.6 10.5
AA (1 season) 0 0 3.77 3 14.1 10 7 6 3 20 0.907 6.3 1.9 1.9 12.6
A- (1 season) 1 2 3.60 6 25.0 24 11 10 17 29 1.640 8.6 0.0 6.1 10.4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/21/2010.
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