The Yankees best pitching prospect has quietly been flying under the radar. Quite the rarity for America’s team. Betances throws a 92 to 96 MPH plus-fastball with moderate command from a strong downhill plane – helps that he’s 6-feet-8-inches tall. His curveball also rates as a plus-pitch (a 70 on the 20-80 scale) with its sharp downward bite. Currently, has a fringe-average changeup that some scouts expect to become a slightly-above average to a plus-pitch. Does have an injury history; in 2009, he had surgery to “reinforce elbow ligament.” Mechanically there are few areas of note. The first, Betances’ delivery tends to get off line from the plate, directly correlating to a loss of command and wasted energy. Does not field his position well or hold runners on. Statistically, here is how his talents have performed.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): 10.5 K/9 | 4.1 BB/9 | 356 IP | 3.13 ERA | 1.23 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 7.0 H/9
2011 Stats (AA): 10.5 K/9 | 4.5 BB/9 | 56 1/3 IP | 1.76 ERA | 3.43 FIP | 1.14 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 5.9 H/9 | .234 BABIP
Betances has been extremely lucky this year, posting a ridiculously low .234 BABIP combined with leaving an unsustainable number of runners on base (81.7 LOB%). The peripherals are inline with career numbers – good strikeout rates with below-average command. There are no questions about his skills and talents; he throws two plus-pitches and an average changeup. Ceiling is a front line – number two – starter or a potential replacement for Mariano Rivera with his power fastball and curve. Tentative ETA: 2012.
Per request of frequent commenter, Daniel: Matt Adams of St. Louis. After a strong 2010 season at Single Low-A where he hit .310/.355/.541 in 464 at-bats with 63 XBH (22 Hr) with a 78:33 K:BB ratio (.322 BABIP) Adams was promoted straight to Double-A to start the 2011 season. Drafted out of a Division-II as a catcher. During his rookie year in 2009, he transitioned to play first base. Defensively, he is average and has handled the position swap well. John Sickels’ believes his power is legit, but will see a negative regression to his average through his rise in the minors. Does not take many walks, but also doesn’t strikeout often. Due to Pujols, it’s possible that Adams becomes trade bait. Statistically, here is how his talents have performed.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): .332/.376/.572 | 904 AB | 121 XBH | 47 Hr | .240 ISO | 5/2 SB/CS | 154:68 K:BB
2011 Stats (AA): .354/.397/.677 | 195 AB | 31 XBH | 15 Hr | .323 ISO | 0/1 SB/CS | 35:15 K:BB | .366 BABIP
Adams continues to get the most out of his low projectionable ceiling. His above-average slash line is bolstered by a slightly high .366 BABIP; appears to handle the strike zone well with a career 17% strikeout rate but a concerning ~6% walk rate. As of 6/21/11, the Cardinals recalled Triple-A first basemen Mark Hamilton to replace the open roster position created by the injured Pujols. Matt Adams could easily be promoted to Triple-A to replace the open roster spot left by Hamilton. With strong gap power, ability to hit for an average, well, average (.275), Adams could be a dark horse fantasy helper in 2012. Graded as a “C” prospect by Sickels, defined by Sickels as, “Guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys.” Adams reminds me of another similar Cardinals prospect: Allen Craig.