Scouting Yanks Prospect #16: Dellin Betances

Betances needs to get, and stay, healthy

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. One of the most purely talented pitchers in the organization, he has battled mechanical issues and injury problems over the past two years, culminating in Tommy John surgery last season.

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

He went just 2-5 with a 5.48 ERA and walked 27 batters in a little more than 44 innings for the Tampa Yankees before going down with the surgery.

"I ended up having Tommy John [surgery]," Betances said. "I needed the surgery. The ligament wasn't completely torn so they repaired that one and then they added the one from the wrist. So I have two ligaments now."

He had dealt with shoulder and elbow soreness on off for a while, and he even tried to pitch through it last year by resting for a three week stretch in June.

"It was bothering me but they wanted to see if I took some time off if I would heal and come back, but every time I would try and come back I'd start throwing and everything would be good and then once I got into bullpens it would start bothering me," he revealed.

It took him a while to finally get that sense of relief, that there was some closure to the discomfort he had been feeling for all too long.

"At first I was kind of upset because I wanted to get it done earlier just knowing that it takes time to get back to throwing, but after the surgery Dr. Andrews said everything went well," he said. "I know I'm a hard worker and there's a good chance everything will come back stronger.

"I've been having problems with my elbow for a while and I just want everything to be healthy, feel good and be pain-free. Dr. Andrews did tell me that if I work hard that I could come back earlier than other guys so that made me feel better."

He wasn't even allowed to pick up a baseball until mid-December and the current plan has him possibly returning to the mound in game action at some point in the beginning of June.

"If I can pitch pain-free then I'll be happy," he admitted. "I'll have the chance to get back to where I was or even stronger, that's something I'd definitely like. I'm just going to work hard on my mechanics so I won't go back to the same problem."


























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Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Betances has had minor pains in his arm and shoulder for a while now, and it could be a reason why his velocity has fluctuated up and down over the past two years. He was sitting in the 94-96 mph range in his debut season in 2006, even topping out at 98 mph, but it dipped down to the 92-94 mph level in recent years. The other reason for the varying speed could be his inconsistent pitching mechanics. Either way though, his fastball is a plus pitch on the gun but his inconsistent command can make it less effective.

Other Pitches . Seemingly the only constant in his game since he first signed has been his plus curveball. It's a power knuckle-curveball that not only dives over the plate, but gets wicked movement. It is a big-time strikeout pitch and he can command it very well. His changeup has been a hit or miss pitch over the years. There are some days it is a true plus pitch because of the fade he gets with it and there are times where it is a below average pitch. His command of it is also very inconsistent. He seemed to have turned a corner with it in 2009, right until his elbow gave out.

Pitching. Betances has plus big league stuff and he can simply make batters look foolish a lot of the time. However, since day one, it was the other areas of his game that he has been trying to develop: smoother mechanics, eliminating a head tilt in his delivery, improving his quick-step to home to hold runners closer in the running game, his pickoff move, fielding his position, etc. Spending time on and off the field with nagging injuries has caused him to miss valuable time as a result and that has caused his development to be more slow than steady. The good news though is his confidence hasn't been shaken any and he has been able to add nearly 60 pounds to his once slender frame. Once he returns though, it will all be about his mechanics and the changeup.

Projection. If there's a silver lining to rehabbing back from Tommy John surgery it is that he will only be able to focus on the two biggest weaknesses in his game - his delivery and changeup. A lot of Tommy John recipients come back with a much better changeup since they aren't allowed to throw breaking pitches for a good portion of their rehab, and nearly all of them do extra dry-sides to focus on their mechanics since they spend months without being able to pick up a baseball. If he can improve those two areas of his game, with his power fastball and nasty curveball, his ceiling is among the best in the game. However, the road towards achieving that will be a long one.

ETA. 2013. Betances is going to miss at least half of the 2010 season and he's sure to spend the remaining portion of the year in Tampa, rehabbing with the Gulf Coast League Yankees before possibly getting a few starts in with the Tampa Yankees before the season is over.

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