The rumors have been swirling for quite some time that the Yankees were considering bringing up top pitching prospects, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, to pitch out of the bullpen in the playoffs. After much thought, the Bombers thought the better of it and will not promote the two young starters.
Banuelos and Betances have shown quite a bit of promise this year. Both have seen themselves promoted to Triple-A, one of their goals to reach this season. That being said, both still have a ways to go before they will be brought up to the Yankees big-league club.
Both have had control issues this season, something that needs to be worked on. But besides that, why didn't the Yankees bring them up anyway?
No question the Yankees' fan base is dying to get a look at their top pitching prospects. I think past experience has shown that it isn't always a good idea to take young starters, put them in the bullpen and then switch them back to the rotation. Just look at Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.
Hughes has been a full-time starter since last season. But who can forget his contributions out of the bullpen in the 2009 World Series run for the Yankees. Hughes made seven starts in '09, filling in for the injured Chien-Ming Wang.
After Wang's return, Hughes was sent to the bullpen.
In 2010, Hughes was named as the Yankees' fifth starter and was moved back into the rotation. Hughes has had several issues with arm troubles this season and many would attribute his struggles with past decisions by the Yankees moving him from starter to bullpen and back.
Joba Chamberlain has seen the same movement from bullpen to starter and back in his time in the Majors. After proving unsuccessful as a starter, Chamberlain was switched back to the bullpen where he had success in the past. It came to a head this season when Chamberlain's year was cut short after requiring Tommy John surgery that will keep him out until well into the 2012 season at least.
Can their unstable roles on the Yankees in the past be the reason for their arm troubles this season?
The coincidence between the two is just too much to overlook.
Banuelos and Betances have another factor that has made it wise not to bring them up for postseason play. Both prospects have reached their innings limits for the season and as we all know in this day in age, innings limits as well as pitch counts, are the end-all, be-all when making a decision on a young pitcher.
That being said, it's doubtful based on their innings limits alone that we will see these two pitchers on the mound for the Yankees this season.
The Yankees have clearly learned their lesson when dealing with their young prospects. The Bombers made the right decision to keep Banuelos and Betances right where they are. There is no sense in rushing these two guys up and taking a chance with their futures in the MLB.
Besides, the Yankees bullpen has proven effective this season for the most part and there isn't much the Bombers can do to improve that. Both top prospects will have a chance to make an impact next season, perhaps in the rotation if the Yankees have issues with their starters. Kudos to patience in this case.
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