Yankee Farmhand Debuts

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 14: Pitcher Dellin Betances #72 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Boston Red Sox during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at City of Palms Park on March 14, 2011 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Let's take a lap around the farm and see what some of the Yankees top prospects are doing as the minor league season gets underway.

Manny Banuelos was shelled in his first start against Syracuse (Nationals), finishing with this uninspiring line: 3.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. While it is only one start, seeing right handed hitters go 8-for-14 against him is a bit disappointing, especially since that is one of the main things the Yankees need him to improve before he reaches the majors. Plus, he gave up a hit to that punk Bryce Harper, which just pours salt in the wound. Let's hope with a few adjustments, Manny gets back to being Manny.

  • On the other hand, Dellin Betances was solid in his debut on Friday against Lehigh Valley (Phillies): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. The one walk is a key stat, as is the percentage of strikes he threw (67%), which is a really nice step in the right direction. Like Banuelos, taming bouts of wildness is key, so this is something to build on for his next start.
  • While the Michael Pineda trade has yet to begin yielding results on the major league level, Jose Campos debuted for Low-A Charleston with great success: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Baseball America reminds us that Campos led the short-season Northwest League in strikeouts and ERA last season, so seeing him start the year off strong shouldn't be a surprise. If he can keep putting together dominating performances, a promotion is sure to be on the horizon.
    • Andy Pettitte is certainly not a prospect, but his debut for Tampa on Monday night was a great success: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Keith Law of ESPN tweeted that Pettitte sat at 85-87 MPH with his fastball, and was working with a plus change. Great news for Pettitte and the Yankees as he continues his post-retirement comeback, and works his way back to the starting rotation. Pettitte had this to say after the game:
    This is a process. It's going to take a little bit of time. My legs felt really good under me. We'll bump it, probably to 50 pitches hopefully next time, and we'll see what happens from there.
    • A few weeks ago, I mentioned Yankees pitching prospect Nik Turley as one of the guys I'm most excited about monitoring this season, and John Sickels recently had this to say about his debut from last week:
    Keep an eye on New York Yankees pitching prospect Nik Turley, a southpaw pitching for High-A Tampa in the Florida State League. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in his first start, but fanned nine in five innings. A 50th round pick back in 2008 from high school in Studio City, California, Turley is a huge (6-6, 230 pound) lefty with average velocity but an effective curveball/changeup arsenal. A broken hand ended his '11 season early but he pitched well before getting hurt, with an 82/21 K/BB in 82 innings, 70 hits, and a 2.51 ERA in 15 starts for Low-A Charleston. He's a nice under-the-radar prospect.
    • One of the high points in the system is the offensively gifted Charleston team, and how they have fared thus far. Here are their current stats through the first few games of the season (updated through April 8):

    Mason Williams: 3-for-11, 2 2B, 1 SB
    Dante Bichette Jr.: 5-for-12, 1 R
    Gary Sanchez: 4-for-10, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SB
    Tyler Austin: 1-for-6, 1 3B
    Cito Culver: 0-for-11
    Ben Gamel: 1-for-9, 1 R
    Angelo Gumbs: 0-for-5

    It's still early, so take all of these initial samples with a grain of salt. The first week of the season doesn't make or break a prospect, and there is still plenty of baseball to be played in 2012.

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