The New York Yankees have recalled pitching prospect Dellin Betances from Triple-A Scranton. Betances, who was once regarded as one of baseball’s elite starting pitching prospects, comes to the Yankees as a reliever.
After struggling to consistently throw strikes for much of the last two seasons, the Yankees brass decided it was in the best interest of both Betances and the organization to move him to the bullpen. So far, in a small sample size in Triple-A, the results have been encouraging.
The Yankees hope this transition has simplified things for the 6-foot-8, 260 pound right-hander. As a starter, Betances featured an array of pitches. He threw both a two and a four-seam fastball, a circle change and a sharp 12-to-6 knuckle curve. Out of the bullpen, Betances is most likely going to be forced to become a two-pitch pitcher. He’ll throw predominately his four-seam fastball and his knuckle-curve, which are his two best pitches.
This should allow the 25-year-old to pitch with more confidence and attack the strike zone, which is crucial for the often-wild Betances.
Attacking the strike zone is also a lot easier when you’re throwing as hard as I suspect Betances will be in his new role. Typically, when a player goes from the starting rotation to the bullpen, there is a noticeable increase in his fastball velocity. With Betances already featuring one of the most electric fastballs in all the minors as a starter, this pitch could become all the more devastating to hitters, even in the bigs.
With this being the case, it’ll be interesting to see how Yankees Manager Joe Girardi and the coaching staff decide to use Betances. Look for his first few appearances to be in low leverage situations. If he doesn’t show improved command in those spots, this could be a short stint in the Bronx.
However, if Betances is commanding his pitches with the electric stuff he possesses, Girardi may have no choice but to use him in the later innings. If this is the case, Betances has a chance to be not just a good reliever, but a great one.