New York Yankees: Scouting Dellin Betances in 8 Aspects
Dellin Betances started the 2011 season in Double-A Trenton Thunder before being promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Betances started the season as Baseball America's 43rd overall prospect and ended the season as the eighth-best right-handed pitching prospect on MLB.com.
Let's look at Dellin Betances' strengths and weaknesses.
Dellin Betances checks in at 6'8" and 255 pounds, which, along with his long stride and arm length, helps him get an excellent downward trajectory on his pitches. This helps Betances throw in the mid- to even upper-90s on occasion.
Betances' pitching mechanics and size makes him a prototypical power-strikeout pitcher.
Betances' high three-quarter arm angle gives him an excellent, smooth delivery, but he is having a difficult time consistently repeating it.
Knuckle Curve: A+
Dellin Betances' knuckle curve was rated as a 70 on the 20-80 scale due to its 85 miles per hour velocity and late 12-6 break.
Betances disguises his knuckle curve as a fastball with a similar release angle, but it drops considerably just before it gets to the plate. Perhaps Betances' best way to utilize this pitch is to backdoor it against lefties because of its incredibly deceiving lateral movement.
The knuckle curve is the pitch Betances goes to when he needs a strike and hitters know that, so he will have to mix it up when he gets into a jam so that he does not become predictable.
This may sound blasphemous, but Betances should look towards A.J. Burnett to help master his knuckle curve. Burnett has been a great mentor for Ivan Nova so far, and Burnett owns one of the filthiest knuckle curves in the majors.
Four-Seam Fastball: A
Dellin Betances has an incredible four-seam fastball due to his imposing size.
Betances' fastball normally sits around 95-96 miles per hour, but he hits 98 miles per hour frequently. He tops out at an incredible 99 miles per hour. At 6'8", 255 pounds and 23-years old, Betances does not have as much potential to add velocity to his fastball as Manny Banuelos, but his fastball has more than enough velocity to be dominant in the major leagues.
Betances can blow you away with his high-90s velocity, but his fastball is a swing-and-miss pitch, and not just because batters are normally late. It also has an incredible downward angle that has batter swinging on top of the ball.
Dellin Betances has a hard-biting low-90s cutter that dives down and away from right-handed batters.
Betances' cutter is occasionally a swing-and-miss pitch, but he normally relies on his four-seam fastball and knuckle curve for that. His cutter is normally used to induce groundballs and double plays. If Betances can work with Mariano Rivera for even one year, his cutter could become a legitimate 65 or 70 on the pitch scale.
Two-Seam Fastball: B-
Dellin Betances' two-seam fastball does not quite have the velocity of his four-seam fastball, but it does sit in the low-to-mid 90s.
The reason Betances' two-seam fastball is so devastating is because of its incredible movement that has more of a downward angle than his four-seam fastball, but it also has some lateral movement.
Betances just learned this pitch, but it is already a legitimate plus-pitch with serious potential.
Circle Changeup: C+
Dellin Betances pitches a mid-80s circle changeup that has very similar movement to his two-seam fastball.
Betances' delivery and arm action for his circle changeup is identical to his four-seam fastball, which makes it very deceiving because of the dramatic velocity difference. He uses this pitch especially when facing right-handed power hitters.
Once he starts to feel more comfortable going to his secondary pitches, his circle changeup can become a true plus-pitch.
For a normal pitching prospect Dellin Betances has above average command, but for a top pitching prospect with ace stuff and potential it is subpar. It may be because of his recent increase in velocity, but in order to succeed in the future he will have to work on locating his pitches, especially his fastball.
Betances' walked about 3.5 batter per nine innings from rookie ball to Double-A but in his short four start stint in Triple-A he had a 6.4 walks per nine innings. Betances then struggled with control again in his 2.2 innings of work in New York. It may have been due to excitement and nerves because he finally made it to the majors, but it does not change the fact that his control is an issue.
Future in New York
Dellin Betances reminds me of a young Clayton Kershaw. Now, I am not saying Betances is as good as Kershaw, but they have similar pitching styles.
Kershaw never pitched in Triple-A, so I am going to compare their Double-A statistics.
Kershaw: 9.2 K/9, 3.8 BB/9
Average Fastball: 94 mph
Betances: 10.2 K/9, 4.4 BB/9
Average Fastball: 95 mph
Dellin Betances has all the talent in the world. If he can work on his command, he has the potential to pitch like an ace in New York.