The day has finally come. The long troubled Dellin Betances has been officially moved to the bullpen after being removed from the rotation before his upcoming start. According to Brian Cashman the change was motivated by baseball technicalities, as in his developmental clock is about to expire.
If the Yankees don't put him on the 25-man roster in 2014 he has to be exposed to waivers and will likely be lost to them. The 2013 season marks his eighth season in the Yankees organization and as part of MiLB rules to protect players from being buried in the minors, Betances will be made available to other organizations who might make use of him at the MLB level. Cashman believes that putting him in the pen will help the Yankees get some value from him before they lose him completely.
Drafted in the 8th round of the 2006 amateur draft, Betances was given a $1M signing bonus to keep him from going to college. His career started off well as he seemed to strike out everyone, but the drawback was that he also walked everyone. As he worked his way up the minor league levels he never seemed to work out his control problems and it ended up costing him. He had a fantastic 2010 season as 22-year-old in Double-A when he put up an 11.4 K/9, a 2.3 BB/9 and a 2.11 ERA, but it was all down hill from there.
He actually made his major league debut in 2011, but ended up walking six batter in only 2.2 innings. He struggled again Triple-A until he was demoted in 2012. He showed promise of the pitcher he could be with moments of brilliance in 2013, but he was still the same old Dellin.
The organization probably delayed this transition due to Betances' apparent alteration of his pitching mechanics during Spring Training. Perhaps they figured they would give him one last shot to figure it out. Now that he's in the bullpen there's no telling what kind of pitcher he could become. Cashman hopes he will up his velocity from 92-96, as a starter, and 96-100, as a reliever, but that's not really ever been his problem. More velocity, especially new velocity, could mean more control issues in a career that has been wrecked by wildness. Betances' biggest problem has always been terrible pitching mechanics, which won't get any better in the bullpen.
All we can do is wait and see how he performs, but don't expect much. If he succeeds he could make it to the majors this season if they want to rush him.
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