New York Yankees pitching prospect Dellin Betances was once one of the top prospects in baseball. However, Betances struggled, especially when it came to finding the strike zone. The Yankees were faced with no choice but to move Betances to the bullpen to hopefully resurrect Betances career and it looks to be paying off.
Through 13 games and 25.1 innings a reliever this season Betances has posted a very respectable 2.84 ERA and a 302 record. More importantly, Betances has struck out 29 batters and walked only nine since becoming a reliever while holding opponents to a .178 average. As a starter, Betances posted an ugly 6.00 ERA across six games and only 24 innings. He walked 16 and struck out 25 while giving up 16 earned runs.
The move to the bullpen looks to have reinvigorated Betances where he no longer has time to psyche himself out before a start, letting the troubles of past performances creep into his mind before taking the mound. Now, Betances gets the call, warms up, and comes in to a game and can let it fly.
At 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, Betances, 25, is a big man with a big-time fastball that can reach 97 at times and generally sits in the mid-90s. He had an outstanding curveball that seemed to lose its effectiveness as a starter as he tended to have trouble locating it. Since becoming a reliever he has been able to use his curveball sparingly which leads it to be more of a weapon than it was when he was a starter.
One of the big problems with Betances was his mechanics. As with many pitchers his size mechanics can be a real issue as finding a repeatable delivery is something that can often evade them and cause major injury or wildness. Betances has already had major surgery in 2009 and has not been the same pitcher, at least as a starter, since that time due to his wildness.
The move to the bullpen looks like it has breathed new life into the pitcher and has given him hope of making the Major Leagues for the long run instead of just a cup of coffee. His turnaround comes not a moment too soon as his 40-man roster spot was in jeopardy but now looks like he might be an interesting piece in the Yankees bullpen moving forward.