Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The Bronx Bombers have somewhat of a bad rep when it comes to acquiring pitchers. With the somewhat recent signings of AJ Burnett and CC Sabathia, as well as the very recent quest to get Cliff Lee, the general consensus seems to be that more than anything else, we just buy our starting rotation off the Free Agent market. It’s easy to see why, but believe it or not, the Yankees actually have a very consistent history of bringing pitchers up through the farm system as well, including the legendary Whitey Ford. They also love to pull guys out of Mexico and Central America and groom them into top-notch major leaguers. But I guess the concept of the Evil Empire not buying all their players is just unfathomable to the public.

In the next few seasons we’re going to be relying very heavily on rookies out of the farm system to help carry us to #28 and beyond. The Free Agent pitching market doesn’t really open up until 2014, although 2012 and 2013 will be better than 2011, so outside a possible big trade, the farm system is going to be the primary source of our pitching.

Everyone’s saying that 2011 looks like a year for Ivan Nova, the veterans Garcia and Colon, journeyman Sergio Mitre, and perhaps David Phelps or Adam Warren. But for 2012 and beyond, a trio coined “the Killer B's” are being looked at as the pitching staff of the future. Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman have all had incredible minor league careers thus far and have recently been regarded as “untouchable” in all trade discussions. I question the validity of this, I highly doubt any of them would be off the table in a King Felix trade, but regardless it speaks volumes about how treasured these three young men are.

The likelihood of any of the three making a Major League debut in the rotation this season is not particularly high. They are all very young and were only last season moved up to AA in Trenton. Brackman and Betances are both on the 40-Man Roster and could possibly make appearances in relief for the Yanks this year, but a 2012 breakthrough for the pair looks more likely. Banuelos on the other hand is still a teenager, so look for him to debut in 2013 at the earliest.

Manny Banuelos. 19, was recruited out of Mexico at the age of 17 and began playing in the Minor Leagues at 18. Standing only 5’10”, Manny certainly looks like the baby of the bunch next to the colossi Betances and Brackman. From the very beginning of his pro career, Banuelos impressed scouts, but wasn’t viewed as a potential top of the rotation guy, largely in part to his small stature and frame. He's the lone lefty of the bunch and has developed power beyond what most lefties ever have, partially in thanks to an emergency appendectomy which caused him to take working out must more seriously. His fastball is now pretty much at CC speed, hovering between 93 and 94, and often clocking as high as 95-96. 97’s a rarity, but towards the end of 2010 he touched here and there.

Manny has also recently developed a curve ball, which is also considered a plus pitch. Clocking in at 75-79 MPH with good break, it produces frequent swing and misses.

As effective as both those pitches are, his excellent change up is considered his top pitch. He throws it between 78 and 82 MPH with huge 2-seam action and a major drop. He maintains excellent control with all three of his pitches, a promising thing to see in young pitchers. No doubt he’ll be competing for the title of staff ace in a few years. Career/AA ERA: 2.59/3.52

Dellin Betances 22, a New York City native. As a high school baller he was an Aflac All-American. If that doesn’t impress you, he pitched on the USA Junior National Team. Now you’re impressed. The Yankees drafted him in the 8th round of the 2008 amateur draft and gave him a $1 million signing bonus, which he used to move his parents out of their bad neighborhood and into New Jersey. At 6’8”, some might call Betances a freak of nature, but with height comes a more dominant presence on the mound as well as greater ability to throw at a downward angle.

Dellin’s most powerful pitch is his fastball. It sits comfortably at 94-95 MPH, frequently hitting 96-97 and grazing 98 now and then.

Dellin’s curve ball is nothing short of a lethal weapon, clocking at 81-83 MPH with huge break. He’s neither afraid to use it nor does he overuse it. It has huge break and will be a deadly punch-out pitch.

While his change up is nothing to sneeze at, it’s not as effective as Manny’s but it’s certainly a passable third pitch. At 82-85 MPH, it has the potential to develop into a plus pitch.

Banuelos is currently the top ranked pitching prospect for the Yanks, but Betances isn’t far behind and he could easily be the more successful of the two in the future. Career/AA ERA: 3.39/3.77

Andrew Brackman Hey, what’s that basketball player doing out on the mound?! Pitchers are tall, but few are Andrew Brackman tall. At 6’10”, he makes even Betances look small. The Yankees drafted 25 year old Brackman 1st round 30th overall out of North Carolina State. He was expected to be a top 5-10 pick, but dropped to 30 when information about an arm injury arose. Immediately after joining the Yankees he had Tommy John surgery. After a year off, he started his professional career in 2009. His first season was rocky to say the least, he had a 5.91 ERA in 2009. The beginning of the 2010 season was better but not by much. He held a 5.10 ERA in A+ Tampa. However, after being moved to AA, he regained his confidence, smoothed out his mechanics and ended his 2010 time in AA with a 3.01 ERA, the best any of the B's have done in Trenton.

Brackman's fastball sits regularly between 92 and 96 MPH and moves up to 97-98 when he gets going. He throws a 2 seam fastball, producing late movement, something not even most major league starters can do. Approaching 7’ tall he doesn’t always have the best control of his body, thus Brackman’s mechanic scan occasionally get thrown off and leaves the fastball up in the zone, causing him to lose confidence and move to his breaking pitches. If he can keep confidence when that happens and level himself out, it’ll be an incredibly dominant pitch.

As I said before, Brackman had easily the roughest start of the three, but he’s also shown the quickest improvements. One more season in which he makes a huge jump and he’s ready to go. Career/AA ERA: 4.77/3.01

There isn’t a single Killer B that isn’t potentially a front of the rotation starter. With CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes holding down the top two spots, it’s likely the Killer Bs will fill the 3-5 spots. A back end of the rotation like that is nothing short of frightening; we’ll have aces all around, 4 of them under 30. If they all develop as planned, we are looking at one of the top rotations in the majors in just a few years, all without giving Cliff Lee a $120 million contract. Look out Phillies, here we come.

--Grant Cederquist, Bleeding Yankee Blue Guest Writer

Please comment and let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting on Bleeding Yankee Blue.

20% Off at SteinerSports.com with code YANKEEBLUE2017