All season long, the strength of the Yankees has been their bullpen. Mariano Rivera to David Robertson to Shawn Kelley and down the line to Adam Warren (for the most part), the relief corps have been a key reason why the team is still in the Wild Card race. The Yankees have further strengthened their team of relievers by adding former starter, now reliever, Dellin Betances into the mix.
The road back to the Bronx was a bit of a rocky one for Dellin. It began with yet another disappointing showcase of starts for the Scranton RailRiders. Through six starts and 24 innings, he pitched to an even 6.00 ERA and walked 16 men (6 BB/9), which really wasn't anything new. In 2012, the righty pitched to a 6.39 ERA and 6.7 BB/9, except in a much larger sample: 27 games and 132.1 innings. So, really, he was awful for a full season's worth of starts and the Yankees decided to pull the plug and put him in the bullpen. Now, to be fair, Brian Cashman admitted that the shift to the bullpen was based on the fact that Betances had no more minor league options after 2013 and that the team would continue to run him out there as a starter to see if they could straighten things out, but, c'mon, everyone and their mother knew Betances was bound for the bullpen and the switch was long overdue. He has succeeded to a very large degree since becoming a reliever (1.91 ERA, 12.5 K/9, 4 BB/9) and has earned a cup of coffee here in September.
Because Betances has no more minor league options for 2014, he'll either make the team out of camp or hit the road. Normally they could try to slip him through waivers, get him off the 40-man, and then re-sign him to a minor league deal to get a longer look, but, haha, there's no shot of that happening. Someone will give him a chance to stick in a big league bullpen. He was that good in his new relief role down in Triple-A. But that's still a ways away. He still has September to get through.
As for what his outlook is for the rest of the season, we may have already seen it. During Sunday's game against the Orioles, down by four, two out in the ninth, Dellin was brought in to mop up the rest of the mess. Given his inexperience at the big league level and where the team stands in the Wild Card race, it's no surprise that Betances' work will come in games just like that. It would have been nice if the Yankees were 10 games ahead, or whatever, for obvious reasons other than this one, so they could use him here and there in some high-leverage spots with a postseason berth in hand. Unfortunately, that is not where the team stands, but at the same time, we could see him perhaps a couple more times the rest of the way in mop up duty, and certainly next March when he'll battle for a spot in the 2014 bullpen.