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Betances has the stuff to be a dominant big league reliever.
It seems like just yesterday that the "Killer B's" were proclaimed to be the savior and future of the New York Yankees pitching staff: former first-round pick Andrew Brackman, tall and hard-throwing right-hander Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, who Mariano Rivera called the best pitching prospect he's ever seen.
Two seasons later, Betances was demoted to Double-A Trenton, Banuelos will miss all of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Brackman is no longer a Yankee farmhand after pitching last season in the minors for the Cincinnati Reds.
Betances has always had some of the best raw stuff in the minors, with a fastball that reaches the upper 90s at times and a hard power curve that has the potential to be a plus major league pitch. He has also recently started throwing a slider to add to his impressive arsenal.
However, like many tall pitchers with great stuff, control and consistency in mechanics eludes Betances, causing him trouble in Double-A and Triple-A when he should be dominating major league hitters. After walking 69 batters in 74.1 innings in Triple-A, Betances earned himself a demotion to Double-A to figure out his mechanics last season.
The demotion did not prove helpful. While he cut his walks down slightly (30 in 56.2 innings), he still walked an unacceptable number. The decrease in walks was probably attributable to Betances pumping the ball down the middle of the plate, a trend that resulted in a .319 opponent batting average.
Betances needs to learn to keep the ball in the strike zone, but also keep it on the corners so that hitters at any level don't crush him on a regular basis. He could be considered for a bullpen role as the impending retirement of Mariano Rivera leaves uncertainty in the late innings beyond 2013.