Scouting Yankees Prospect #4: Dellin Betances

Betances' entire game is coming together

The New York Yankees drafted towering right-handed pitcher Dellin Betances in the 8th round of the 2006 MLB Draft out of Grand Street High School in New York. While he has some of the best raw potential in the entire farm system, the Yankees have taken their time with him so he can work on his mechanics, command, and other aspects of the position.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Dellin Betances
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: March 23, 1988
Height: 6'9"
Weight: 245
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"I thought everything went well as planned," Betances said. "It was a very long year but I just got through it and I'm glad I did pretty well.

"I gave my team a chance to win every time I went out and I gave it my all. Aside from the one month where I didn't pitch, I felt the rest of my year was good and I finished strong."

He had another solid season statistically, going 9-4 with a 3.67 ERA and 135 strikeouts in just 115 innings for the Charleston Riverdogs.

Possessing three big league plus pitches already, frankly, the numbers should have been there. So while the numbers were good, it was the development in the other phases of his game that were more impressive.

"I felt working during the offseason doing my dry-sides that my delivery got better, especially with my head," he said. "I felt like it was going to the right side as my arm angle, it was where I wanted it to be."

Once prone to wagging his head during his throwing motion and having that lead to inconsistent command problems, he made major steps in improving that area by season's end.

Standing 6-foot-9, the other areas that needed major improvement was getting to home plate quicker in his motion and holding runners on base better to help limit teams from running wild on him, and fielding his position better on slow-rollers, covering first base, etc.

"I felt that was a big part of this year's success," he opined. "I was able to hold runners and field my position real well this year. I'm still trying to improve it but I felt like I was quicker to home plate.

"It helped me a lot because as you move the base runners are smarter. That was a key part of my game this year. Coming off of Instructs I feel I'm real good doing those parts. I got to field my position and pick a guy off.

"I feel like I20still need to work on stuff. You can always work on stuff, but I felt like I was pretty good at that."

Able to hit as high as 98 MPH with his fastball and already armed with a knockout curveball, the further development of his changeup was the only thing stuff-wise that could help bring his game together.

"I feel like that's always a pitch you need to be successful at each level," he said. "I was working on the changeup because I was inconsistent throughout the year. It would be good one game and then another game it wouldn't be so good.

"To get consistency with the changeup, that was a key part to Instructs. Getting a better grip and being consistent with it, that's what I was working on."

He finally found the confidence to throw it more often in critical situations by the end of the season instead of going to his two main staples, and now it has made his entire arsenal that much better.

"I felt like that was a big step, just going out there and keep on throwing it, even if I was behind in the count," Betances said.

"I felt like I could throw it behind in the count, ahead in the count, or even for a first-pitch changeup. That's a pitch I really need to focus on to get guys out."

Numbers notwithstanding, the goods news for Betances in 2008 was his entire game coming together and morphing from a raw hurler into a more complete pitcher.

"Oh he was outstanding," Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said. "He's a different person as a pitcher now. In Instructs he picked off a guy at first base on a tremendously quick move. He's learned to pitch with his quick-step to home, not at that 1.6-1.8 times he was before.

"Dellin is coming. The fastball is there, the delivery is getting better and better. It's not exactly where I'd like to be at. If it were he would be close to being ready for the big leagues. He's got the curveball and the changeup. We knew he had the curveball so he worked on his changeup.

"In Instructs he worked predominantly with his changeup. His curveball is there, the velocity is there, so we're making sure his delivery and changeup continue to develop, and with the progress he made defensively and his ability to hold runners, it's like he's a different pitcher."


















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Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Betances is a true power arm, one that has been able to hit as high as 98 MPH on the gun. His velocity has fluctuated in his short career, however, sitting anywhere from 92-94 MPH at times and then going up to 94-96 MPH in other stretches. His inconsistent mechanics have been the main reason for the speed variances, as well as his up and down command. He has just started to correct those mechanical flaws more consistently as of late, cutting his walks by half in the second-half of the season, and when he's going right he has the type of fastball that can dominate.

Other Pitches . What hasn't changed since he first signed is his plus curveball that is one of the best in the organization. It's a true power knuckle-curveball that gets wicked 12-6 movement and it is a big-time strikeout pitch. He has always had a plus changeup at his disposal from a movement and arm speed standpoint, but has only recent found the confidence to throw it more often in critical situations. The ever-improving command of it is the final piece in the puzzle to make it a legitimate plus pitch overall.

Pitching. Betances has great big league stuff already, but he's just now harnessing his game by improving the repetition in his mechanics and thus improving the consistency of his command. He has vastly improved his quick-step to home, fielding his position, and holding runners, and that makes him less of a liability when runners get on-base. He has a tremendous work ethic too, evidenced by his ability to add on nearly 60 pounds since he first signed and drastically improve his mechanics. Betances is one of the quieter players around, but ironically few have his confidence or killer instinct.

Projection. Betances has the great stuff to be a frontline starting pitcher at the big league level. However, reaching his vast potential is squarely in the hands of his ability to repeat his mechanics, show consistent command, limit the running game, and field his position. He has gotten much better in all phases of the game, but those areas will remain the focal point of his development throughout his time in the minor leagues. If he can't ultimately become consistent in those aspects, he projects at worst as a Daniel Cabrera type who could dominate at any time but also be plagued by inconsistencies. If he can hone his overall game though, the sky is the limit for him.

ETA. 2011. Betances is headed for the Florida State League in 2009. His game might need a little more seasoning to jump a level in the immediate future, but once his game comes together he'll then have the ability to move quickly.

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