At this time last year, Dellin Betances was one of the most popular players in Yankees camp. He was coming off a strong season in Double-A, he’d gotten a little bit of big league time and Baseball America had ranked him as one of the Top 75 prospects in baseball. He seemed to have a future, possibly a bright one.
But the whole thing fell apart last season in an avalanche of control problems. Now Betances is just another guy, already sent down to the minor league complex while quietly working to refine his mechanics in what might be his last chance to prove himself in the Yankees organization.
“I think it was just, I had a couple of bad starts and I let that affect me,” he said. “I started listening to a lot of different people instead of, when I go out there and pitch, just do what I have to do and not think about mechanical stuff. It was one of those things. It was like a roller coaster. It just kept going, and I let it get to me at a certain point. This year I feel like, if anything happens I’m going on to the next.”
Betances is a big guy, which makes mechanical consistency a little more difficult. But Betances is not going to be any shorter tomorrow than he is today, so he has little choice but to deal with his height and find a way to make it work. He seemed to take some steps forward during an Arizona Fall League assignment this offseason.
“It’s definitely difficult, but I’ve been doing this for a while,” he said. “I know that my bullpens all year are pretty much good, so if I can just take that into the game I feel like my stuff will be there.”
The video above is of Betances throwing during a simulated game earlier this spring. In an effort to add consistency, he’s tried to lose some moving parts. I’m not sure his motion will ever be particularly simple, but he’s trying to simplify it at least a little bit. Here’s his brief and simple explanation of what he’s trying to change.
Lower half: “I’m just trying to shorten my stride. When I get too long I feel like I don’t get good extension. I think that’s basically it.”
Upper half: “I’m trying to be quicker, trying to get my arm up quicker. Sometimes I drift and my arm doesn’t catch up, and that’s when I (struggle). When I get it out quick, I feel like I’m good.”
Sorry the video’s not any better — I’m not allowed any closer to the field — but we’re going to try to make these videos a little better going forward. I’m actually leaving Yankees camp today and tomorrow to go for video training. It’s a requirement at my paper, and the schedule worked out in such a way that I have to do it during spring training. It’s not ideal, but we’re hoping it will enhance our coverage going forward. For now, keep up with Twitter, and I’ll try to jump onto the blog for some quick updates if I can sneak away from these lessons for a few minutes at a time.
Mobile users can view the video here: