Some minor league thoughts and links for this Tuesday morning:
When are the Yankees going to finally pull the plug on Dellin Betances and completely rework his mechanics? He's a complete mess right now (17.1 IP, 8.83 ERA, 16/17 K/BB), and will never contribute at the major league level with his current approach. I broke down Betances' mechanical flaws over at Pinstripe Alley in late February, and he's done nothing to change my opinion in the early part of 2012. With Manny Banuelos currently on the disabled list, and Andrew Brackman now in the Reds organization, the 'Killer Bs' look to be in critical condition.
The Yankees need to break Betances down and build him back up to perform more efficiently. He's already given up three homers, and is regressing even further with his control. His arm is electric, but if his mechanics are inhibiting him from maximizing his talent, he'll never contribute on the major league level. I'd hate to see him suffer the same fate Andrew Brackman did.
For more news, and all current Yankees minor league stats (through April 23), take the jump...
No. 3 TYLER AUSTIN, RF
Team: low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Why He's Here: .520/.586/.960 (13-for-25), 10 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Feast your eyes on the hottest hitter in minor league baseball. As you can see on our leaderboard, Austin ranks fifth in the minors in average (.432), first in slugging (.932) and first in OPS (1.411). Considering Austin brought a .350/.402/.542 career batting line into the 2012 season, it's hard to call this a fluke. He's easily been the best hitter in a very loaded Charleston lineup. He also may have found a home defensively. Last year, Austin, a high school catcher, tried to adjust to playing third base, but it didn't go well, as he made 11 errors in fewer than 30 games. Austin is now playing right field where his speed and arm fit, while his less than ideal footwork is not as much of a problem. Austin was part of what was considered an outstanding 2010 high school draft class in Georgia. Two years later, this 13th-round pick is outproducing the five Georgia first-rounders who preceded him.
-- Mike Newman had this to add about Austin over at Fangraphs:
Fortunately, the 2012 season has started with a bang as four bats have really stuck out as sleeper worthy over the first couple of weeks. Surprisingly, a Yankees prospect even makes an appearance, although I guess it’s pretty easy to be overshadowed when teammates include Gary Sanchez, Dante Bichette Jr. and Mason Williams.
With six hits in two games including a two-home run performance and four-hit effort with two doubles, Yankees Tyler Austin mashed his way into this piece as he reminded me a bit of Brandon Jacobs at the same time last season. Austin isn’t as physically imposing as Jacobs, but showed similar power potential with a more compact swing leading to consistent barrel contact. Austin’s big knock is that he truly profiles as a corner outfield prospect so the bat really needs to play at an elite level for him to have significant value. I’m not sold it is, but have seen lesser talents ride age appropriate success to a top-100 ranking.
I think I was as skeptical as you were when the Yanks drafted Bichette Jr. Noticed that you seemed to have changed your tone/opinion about him in recent posts. Do you see him as more of a possible solid ML starter now?
I'll see him tomorrow night, but if the swing has changed, then my opinion has changed too. My skepticism was based in large part on a dead-pull swing with a big back-side collapse. If that's not present, or is even lessened, then he's a different guy and my opinion should change accordingly.
Law was able to watch Bichette taking batting practice on Friday night, and here is what he had to say about what he observed in this blog post (for Insider subscribers):
"[Bichette] has cleaned [his swing] up significantly since signing... He’s much more balanced and upright through contact without costing himself any of the hip rotation that helps him generate power,"
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA)
Trenton Thunder (AA)
Tampa Yankees (A Adv.)
Charleston RiverDogs (A)