Everybody knows the story of Dellin Betances. A tall kid from Manhattan, went to high school in Brooklyn, drafted by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2006 draft, became a top prospect, and then flopped.
Except Betances’ story wasn’t finished even after a 6.44 ERA and a 6.8 BB/9 in 131.1 innings last season. He still had the imposing figure that got him drafted and the raw tools that made him a top prospect so the Yankees didn’t give up on him; they simply made him a reliever.
Now they probably did that because he’s out of options after this season. That means that the Yankees will risk losing him if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training next season. So, in reality, this was a last ditch effort type of thing. But guess what? So far it’s working.
As a reliever, he’s thrived with a 3.27 ERA, a 9.8 K/9, and just eight walks in 22 innings (which is extremely good for him). Now that he doesn’t have to worry about pacing himself for a long start, he’s been able to let those raw tools take over and, perhaps more importantly, he is able to maintain his mechanics.
It’s only been 11 appearances as a reliever, but the Yankees have to be thrilled. Now his bad outings are more of an aberration than the norm and he’s showing the skills that made Baseball America rank him as the 43rd best prospect in baseball before the 2011 season.
Don’t expect Betances to suddenly get promoted to the Bronx just yet though. He showed extreme nervousness in his short stints in the show so it’s probably best he get as comfortable in his role and gain as much confidence as possible. The Yankees bullpen has been so good that they don’t need help right now either. If he keeps this up he may get a real chance to crack the pen next season though.
NEWS & NOTES
• It’s been about two weeks since reports said it would be about two weeks until MLB suspended nearly 20 players including possibly Alex Rodriguez, Francisco Cervelli, and maybe even Robinson Cano. Despite the fact that suspensions haven’t come down yet, a report on Wednesday said that MLB is still interviewing players and when they are done suspensions are still likely.
• There have been a few minor league promotions, but the Yankees top prospect Gary Sanchez will not be among them because the Yankees want him to work with Single-A Tampa’s hard throwers. His bat is probably ready though.
• A few new draft signings: First round pick Ian Clarkin (33rd overall) passed his physical and has officially signed with the Yankees. Second round pick Gosuke Katoh also signed for slot and ninth round pick Conner Kendrick signed for slightly less than slot, saving the Yankees $25.2K.
• Buy Yankees tickets to check out the Tampa Rays, who come into town this weekend.
Photo credit: (March 21, 2012 - Source: J. Meric/Getty Images North America).