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January 15, 2007

by Fabian

Dellin Betances, RHP, 18
Previously Ranked: N/R
What Others Say: Pinstripes Plus 3rd, Baseball America 3rd, John Sickels 6th (B)

Physical Ability: I guess with Christian Garcia’s injury, Betances takes the title of Yankee Minor League Pitcher With Unlimited Physical Potential, or YMLPWUPP. Betances is rail thin at 6’7’’ and 185 pounds. His tall frame allows him to throw on a downward plane, but he still gets the ball up in the zone from time to time. In addition, his build worried some scouts that he would have serious issues repeating his delivery, however to this point in his pro career he has done well at keeping himself under control. Betances’ fastball is a four seamer that comes in around 93-95 and has touched all the way up to 98. In addition, Betances has thus far proven to be a fast learner, as his change-up and curveball have been much better than expected given his amateur background.

What Happened in ’06: Months ahead of the 2006 draft, Betances was looking like a sure-fire first-rounder, but fell precipitously as the draft neared. The primary reason was his stuff supposedly taking a step back as he was reportedly throwing only high 80s on occasion and looked as though he may be far greater a project than your typical HS pitcher. This decline was coupled with an increase in bonus demands and so the Yankees were able to snap him up in the 8th round and pay his asking price. During the 2006 GCL season, he looked very much like the guy who deserved to go in the first round. GCL batters were simply overpowered by Betances, struggling to make solid contact with anything he threw at them. While I was concerned Betances would be a high walk guy, he did not demonstrate such a problem in ’06, hopefully that will continue.

What Lies Ahead: Betances will begin 2007 as the star of the Charleston squad. Regardless of how well he does, I doubt he ever gets promoted due to the amount of pitching in the organization as well as the Yankees preference to take it slowly with first year HS pitchers. The most important thing to watch for with him should be walk totals. Given the worries about his lack of polish prior to the draft, I’m leery of taking his post-signing performance as who he suddenly is. Rather, I would expect him to struggle with his control from time to time, but still show flashes of dominance. Basically, I think when it’s all said and done his first full year in the system will be more Christan Garcia than it will be Phil Hughes.

Grade: Betances has higher flameout potential than just about everyone in the Top 10. However, his physical talent is also amongst the best in the system. While I’m not ready to disregard my concerns about him, I can’t ignore his raw talent. As such, I feel my ranking is striking a compromise. If he does better than I expect, he may well make his way to the top of the list. B-

Ian Kennedy #8