The future was once pretty bright for Dellin Betances. Drafted in the eighth round of the 2006 draft, he was ranked as the No. 43 prospect in all of baseball and a member of the “Killer B’s” a trio of Yankees prospects seemingly destined for the show. However, after a promising start to his career and a cup of coffee with the Yankees in 2011, the 6-foot-8 pitcher from Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus struggled with control problems and went from the fast track to the back of the bullpen quickly.
After he hit rock bottom last season, a 6.39 ERA in Triple-A and a demotion to Double-A, this year’s move to the pen seemed do wonders for Betances. The control issues never completely went away, but he was better able to manage them and in 50 innings this season he posted a 2.16 ERA and went on a run from mid-June to August where he didn’t allow a single run.
That earned him a call up to the Yankees earlier this week and on a rainy Tuesday night in the Bronx, Betances, who was born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, finally got back on a big league mound.
It wasn’t exactly the return he had hoped for though. After just one pitch, a strike, it started pouring and a rain delay interrupted his appearance. When the game finally resumed, he struck out the same batter to end the inning. He came back out for another inning though and that’s where things got ugly quickly. Betances again struck out the leadoff batter, but that was followed by three singles and a home run, another single, a walk, and then manager Joe Girardi brought the hook. His final line: 0.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.
Betances will get another shot with the Yankees, but he won’t have many. Part of the reason the Yankees moved him to the bullpen was because after this season he is out of options. That means that he either makes the team out of Spring Training next year or they risk losing him. So they figured, he’s not working out as a starter so why not try one last ditch effort to salvage his career.
He’s going to have to figure out some semblance of control though because Tuesday night it was the same Betances who got knocked around in the Bronx in 2011 and the same guy who was demoted back to Double-A last year. At 6-foot-8 its just so hard for him to repeat his mechanics and he loses control. Being that it’s his first appearance in the show in years, he’s going to be cut some slack with people chalking his poor outing up to nerves. He really has to harness his abilities quickly though if he’s going to stick around, not just with the Yankees, but with anybody.