Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Though the Yankees’ season is over, that doesn’t mean a few prospects aren’t still playing over the off-season. There are currently seven Yankee farm-hands taking part in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions, a few of which could play roles for the Bombers in the not-too-distant future.

(In Photo: Dellin Betances)
Let’s start off with Dellin Betances. Betances, a now former top prospect, really fell off the map following his dreadful 2012 campaign. He started off in AAA posting a bloated 6.39 ERA in 16 starts (74.2 innings) while walking 8.3 batters per 9. This led to a demotion to AA Trenton, though he didn’t fare much better. He posted a 6.51 ERA in 11 games (10 starts), spanning 56.2 innings, though I guess a silver lining is that he walked “only” 4.8 men per 9. To top it all off, Betances landed on the DL in late-August with shoulder tendinitis.

Since going down to the desert, Betances has appeared in three games (all relief appearances) and has pitched to a 3.38 ERA while striking out seven and walking three. It hasn’t been confirmed that Betances has been moved to the bullpen long-term, but one can only guess this is the case. If you remember, I suggested that Dellin should be moved to the ‘pen for good in my post titled WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH DELLIN BETANCES?
(In Photo: Slade Heathcott)
Next is centerfielder Slade Heathcott. In case you’ve forgotten, Heathcott was the Yankees’ first-round pick back in 2009. Heathcott is an interesting prospect, as he’s just 22 and has a potential to be a 5-tool star in the bigs. Though he’s suffered more than his fair share of shoulder injuries, Heathcott came back strong in 2012, batting .307/.378/.470 with 17 stolen bases in 243 High-A plate appearances. Once his trip in Arizona concludes, in which he’s batting .240 in 29 at-bats, he’ll start 2013 in Trenton.

(In Photo: Austin Romine)
Catcher Austin Romine is also in Scottsdale. Romine, once the 86th and 98th ranked overall prospect in 2010 and 2011, respectively, had a down year, mostly due to back problems. He did comeback late in the year and hit .213/.296/.393 in 17 AAA games. Because of injuries, Romine has only appeared in 21 career AAA games, so I don’t see him being a player for the Yankees to start 2013, though we might later in the year. So far in Arizona, Romine is batting .222 in 18 AB’s.
(In Photo: David Adams)
Infielder David Adams is also a very interesting prospect down in Arizona. If you recall, Adams, who was injured at the time, was the reason why the Cliff Lee trade with the Seattle Mariners fell through. Adams has suffered numerous injures throughout his career that have slowed down his process to the bigs. In 2012, Adams batted .306/.385/.450 in 383 AA PA’s. He’s hit well at every level he’s stopped, and he was even moved over to third base late in the year. One can only wonder if he could be a backup third baseman for New York assuming Eric Chavez retires. Anyway, in 28 AFL AB’s, Adams is off to a good start as he’s batting .308.
(In Photo: Mark Montgomery)
Next up is a very intriguing reliever in Mark Montgomery. Montgomery, who finished 2012 in AA, could make his big league debut some time in 2013. He’s pitched to a 1.65 ERA in 72 career minor league games (92.2 IP). The 2011 draftee also has a career 14.6 K/9 rate while allowing just one home run in that 92.2 IP span to boot. Obviously, he’s dominated in every stop so far, and he might start 2013 in AAA. Unsurprisingly, he’s off to a strong start, pitching to a 1.80 ERA in 5 innings while striking out nine.

 (In Photo: Dan Burawa)
 To cap things off are a pair of righties: reliever Dan Burawa and starter Zach Nuding. Burawa suffered a torn oblique this year, while dealing with back problems as well. He pitched to a 3.66 ERA in 20 games, 39.1 IP, while posting a 3.44 K/BB ratio in High-A. Burawa is currently pitching to a 12.27 ERA in three appearances in Arizona.
 (In Photo: Zach Nuding)
Nuding had some shoulder problems this year, and he pitched to a 3.89 ERA with a 2.5 K/BB ratio in 16 games (14 starts) and 85.2 innings in High-A. Nuding is off to a good start with the Scorpions, pitching to a 1.26 ERA in four games (three starts) while punching out 11.

--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @SchindlerJesse

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