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Betances continues to shine with offspeed pitches

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 09, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Dellin BetancesDellin Betances left a fastball up and Desmond Jennings pounced on it for a one-out double. It was a scoreless game in the top of the sixth. Matt Joyce and Wil Myers were coming to the plate. The Rays had the go-ahead run in scoring position. That’s about as close to a big-league situation as a young pitcher can face on March 9, and Betances decided to go with whatever John Ryan Murphy wanted him to throw.

Murphy was crouched behind the plate, looking at a 6-foot-8 right hander whose prospect reputation — for better and for worse — had been built largely on a powerful fastball and shaky control.

Murphy called for a breaking ball. Then another. Then another. Six in a row. Three to Joyce, who struck out. Three to Myers, who rolled over an 0-2 pitch for an inning-ending ground out.

“I thought about it,” Betances said. “I was like, ‘Damn, I threw six straight breaking balls.’ I’m not used to doing that.”

Would Murphy have called that same sequence, say, three years ago? Could Betances have made it work?

“Probably not,” Murphy said. “Some days, yes. Most days, no. But he’s come a long way.”

This is the first spring Betances has come to big league camp with a legitimate chance to make the team. So far, he’s making a compelling case with 6.1 scoreless innings. He’s allowed two hits, walked two and struck out five. Mostly, though, he’s proven he’s become more than a powerful thrower with a big fastball.

Late in 2012, Betances was looking for an alternative to his inconsistent curveball, and he began experimenting with a slider. A Double-A teammate that year, Mikey O’Brien, taught Betances to tilt his wrist a little bit, and that seemed to make all the difference. The slider comes out pretty slurvy — in fact, Joe Girardi still calls it a curveball — but it’s consistent, and Betances can throw a smaller one for a strike or a harder one for a swing-and-miss. That slider/slurve has replaced his curveball, and that’s the pitch he threw six times in a row to strand the go-ahead run against a pair of dangerous big league power hitters.

“(It showed me) that he trusts it, that he has confidence in it, that he knows that he can get people out with it,” Girardi said. “That’s important because you’re going to have to do it at this level. You’re going to have to throw it behind in counts. You have to throw at any time because relievers are often put into tough situations. … He’s throwing the ball well, doing what he needs to do to give himself an opportunity.”

Betances said there was no message from Larry Rothschild telling him to use his breaking ball in that situation. It’s just something he’s learned to do. Betances has seen things go poorly in the minors, he’s seen them come back together, and now he sees an opportunity to make up for the stumbles and become a legitimate major league pitcher.

“It’s just experiencing the past,” he said. “Last year, coming up in September, I threw too many fastballs. I know my offspeed was one of the things that helped me out when I got in trouble with my fastball. I would try to use that to keep myself a little calm with my mechanics. I just tried to take that into this spring, mix my pitches. In the big leagues, everybody can hit fastballs no matter how hard you throw. I’m just trying to use all my pitches the best way I can.”

Associated Press photo

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47 Responses to “Betances continues to shine with offspeed pitches”

  1. yankeefeminista March 9th, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Go Dellin!

  2. yankeefeminista March 9th, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Joe Girardi still calls it a curveball
    ___
    Ditto.

  3. J. Alfred Prufrock March 9th, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Mostly, though, he’s proven he’s become more than a powerful thrower with a big fastball.
    ///

    Why would he have to prove this? He’s had to prove he can throw strikes, but just because he could threw a heavy fastball and could ramp up to mid-to-high 90s didn’t mean he threw that exclusively. On the contrary, he’s had the fastball-curve-change since he missed a year.

    His outpitch has been his curveball for like years. To lefthanders, he would usually pitch backwards, and then sometimes he would change the eye level and bust them above the letters with high heat, but the curve has been there, despite bouts where he couldn’t get it over for a strike, and when he missed a year with the ligament thing, he emerged from it with a changeup that he threw in all sorts of counts and that I hope he doesn’t just lose a feel for. He got whiffs on that, too and was fairly bold with its use.

    I don’t think anyone has ever considered him just a thrower. Control problems were his bugaboo – not variety or limited arsenal. Also has thrown a variety of fastballs.

  4. bbb51 March 9th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    It moves like a curveball.

  5. Chad Jennings March 9th, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    J. Alfred Prufrock March 9th, 2014 at 5:22 pm e

    Why would he have to prove this?

    Because the curveball and changeup were so inconsistent. Control was a huge problem, obviously, but he never had the go-to secondary pitches. He’s said as much, and Murphy said the same. The development of a reliable offspeed pitch that he can throw for a strike or bury in the dirt seems huge for him. I believe there was some excitement about the potential of his curveball, but he got rid of it for a reason.

  6. Chip March 9th, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    J. Alfred Prufrock March 9th, 2014 at 5:22 pm
    Mostly, though, he’s proven he’s become more than a powerful thrower with a big fastball.
    ///

    Why would he have to prove this? He’s had to prove he can throw strikes, but just because he could threw a heavy fastball and could ramp up to mid-to-high 90s didn’t mean he threw that exclusively. On the contrary, he’s had the fastball-curve-change since he missed a year.

    His outpitch has been his curveball for like years. To lefthanders, he would usually pitch backwards, and then sometimes he would change the eye level and bust them above the letters with high heat, but the curve has been there, despite bouts where he couldn’t get it over for a strike, and when he missed a year with the ligament thing, he emerged from it with a changeup that he threw in all sorts of counts and that I hope he doesn’t just lose a feel for. He got whiffs on that, too and was fairly bold with its use.

    I don’t think anyone has ever considered him just a thrower. Control problems were his bugaboo – not variety or limited arsenal. Also has thrown a variety of fastballs.
    ———————————–

    And by putting him in the pen where he doesn’t have to worry about repeating his delivery over 6 or 7 innings they’ve corrected that control problem and turned him from a struggling starter into a potentially dominant reliever.

  7. J. Alfred Prufrock March 9th, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    He got rid of the hammer but he has always had effective 2ndary pitches, including the change. It wouldn’t surprise me if he lost his feel for it by now, but he could regain that if he actually needed it, In his current role he doesn’t. He piled
    Up Ks on his
    Curve more
    Than his fastball.

  8. Chip March 9th, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    JAP –

    None of his pitches were effective as a starter because he couldn’t control them.

  9. Chad Jennings March 9th, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    True. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’m sure Dellin got a ton of strikeouts on his old curveball. This new breaking ball is one he can use to get ahead or to put away, though. That’s why I say he’s proving something beyond the big fastball and the powerful arm. A big swing-and-miss curveball seems to come from the power, but Dellin had to find something different to give himself a truly effective breaking ball. If the breaking ball’s not effective at this level, then he’s going to become labeled as nothing more than a big arm with a big fastball. But that doesn’t seem to be the case this spring.

  10. Tom in N.J. March 9th, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Has Dellin Betances really been in the Yankees organization for 8 years?

  11. Tar March 9th, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Gutsy move by Murphy to call for 6 CB’s in a row. Behind the plate he’s better than Cervelli is right now. Unfortunately…. I think the only way for me to avoid the Cervelli torture is for him to get traded.

  12. bigdan22 March 9th, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Nice well pitched game today:

    –Phelps continues to show he’s a perfect fit for the role of 5th starter. Got a lot of outs today off his off speed pitches. All three, his curve, slider and CU. Lots of ground balls.

    –Archer seems to fit the role of ace. Must be nice having a fourth starter with a 97 FB and 90 slider. He’s what Joba was supposed to be.

    –No question, Burawa has the best stuff in camp. Was hitting 95-98 consistently. Pretty good looking slider too. Has shown good control in spring training. A little concerned that he seems “jumpy” on the mound. Wonder if he has the make up for late inning relief. I Imagine he’ll be in Scranton this year.

    –Does Montgomery even have a fastball?

    –Betances pitch looks like a curve to me. FB seems a little shorter this spring than previous years.

    –Pretty clear trend for Jeet. No problem getting balls in the air against lefties. Righties a whole diff story. That’s probably always been his tendency but may be more pronounced now.

  13. UpState March 9th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Danny Burawa :

    Was a 12th Round pick.

    So every team passed on him several times.

    Sometimes you get lucky.

    Let’s see how far his talent can take him.

  14. J. Alfred Prufrock March 9th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Chad, I appreciate the dialogue. He’s been throwing strikes for over
    A year nOw out Of pen and was limiting but still breaking out the change now and again. Glad he’s finding success but I hope
    This BP isn’t the final destination

  15. Pat M. March 9th, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Pruf. It’s either the pen for Delin or the scrapyard. I hope it works out because there’s finally an opening that he can slide into.

  16. chicken_stanley March 9th, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Good evening all.

    Glad to see Betances impressing this Spring… could be a huge boost to the staff. Also, although he had a rough outing (results wise), it was great to see ManBan throwing with no discomfort. Don’t sleep on the killer B’s just yet!!! (ok, you can go ahead and sleep on Brackman :) )

  17. chicken_stanley March 9th, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Y’s guy – are you out there?

  18. Chip March 9th, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    JAP – if he had more options left then they could consider trying to remake him as a starter again. That’s not the case though. He’s a reliever now.

  19. Shame Spencer March 9th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Tom in N.J. says:
    March 9, 2014 at 5:45 pm
    Has Dellin Betances really been in the Yankees organization for 8 years?

    ——————–

    Yep.

    Nice to see you around Tom!

  20. Pat M. March 9th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Not sure how many here follow professional tennis, especially the WTA. But I’m watching the future of Women’s Tennis and her name is Eugenie Bouchard. jmills will like the fact that she’s a Canadian. Oh yeah, she’s very easy on the eyes… Man she’s good

  21. Shame Spencer March 9th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Also, the Diaz deal is reportedly for 4 years and less than $20 million.

    I’d have liked to see them do that deal.

  22. Chad Jennings March 9th, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Chip March 9th, 2014 at 6:26 pm e

    JAP – if he had more options left then they could consider trying to remake him as a starter again. That’s not the case though. He’s a reliever now.

    —-

    He was actually given a fourth option, so he could go to Triple-A this year. Still not sure he’ll ever be tested as a starter again, though. He seems to actually like being in the bullpen. Says the regular work without four days off in between outings has helped him find some consistency.

  23. luis March 9th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Good afternoon guys,

    I missed today’s game..Well, I have missed most of them.

    It’s good to hear such good news from Betances..Always thought he was a keeper… I wish he would be a starter though…But maybe, just maybe the BP it’s just the start of good things to come.

    Phelps is the real deal…He has off the charts makeup, that’s what sets him appart.

    More on Betances: Although I like that he managed to get out of trouble with 6 CB’s, that shouldn’t happen very often..I mean, the CB is good to help put the mechanics back in check, but throwing 6 can make him predictable…He should use his CU

  24. chicken_stanley March 9th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Also, the Diaz deal is reportedly for 4 years and less than $20 million.

    I’d have liked to see them do that deal.

    —————————

    Considering the current and future state of the infield, the Yankees must have really been unimpressed with what they saw.

  25. jmills March 9th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Eugenie Bouchard seems like a gracious kid :)

  26. chicken_stanley March 9th, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    jmills – I saw a post of yours from over the weekend… you are more than welcome

  27. jmills March 9th, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Hi chicken, hi Shame , hi Pat M, hi Chad, Luis, Chip, and everybody else because I’d be writing forever if you wanted a complete list.

  28. luis March 9th, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Jmills… Good to see you around

  29. jmills March 9th, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    chicken, my kid is over the moon about it :)

  30. jmills March 9th, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Luis, bonjour!

  31. Shame Spencer March 9th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Good to see you Luis!

    You as well, jmills!

  32. Shame Spencer March 9th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Considering the current and future state of the infield, the Yankees must have really been unimpressed with what they saw.

    ——————-

    I guess so… But it makes me wonder what the Cardinals saw that they liked.

  33. luis March 9th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Shame,

    How is everything down your end?…Hope everything is peachy ;)

  34. luis March 9th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    So tell me…Is Flores looking like he is ready?…How was Pineda in his start?…Any other stand out?

  35. jmills March 9th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I’ve got a funny story to share with you. My second dad was a man from Belfast ( his dad was a policeman there ). Anyways, he knew I was a huge baseball fan and took my grade 4 picture to one of those cartoon artists where they blow your head up real big on a smaller body. There I am accurately as a left handed batter about to send that ball somewhere preferable. I have a Yankees hard batting helmet on to match my ’77 Blue Jays uniform. No kidding, its in a frame and I found it today. I’d forgotten aboot it all this time :D

  36. Shame Spencer March 9th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    In my world? ALWAYS! I’m much more concerned about how things are with you, luis. :| I’ve been trying to stay updated as much as possible.

  37. MTU March 9th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Looks like Mr. Phelps had a terrific outing.

  38. Shame Spencer March 9th, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    jmills – if you can find a way to share that we’d all be appreciative!

  39. luis March 9th, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks for the concern Shame ;) I am ok, so that’s good news I guess

  40. chicken_stanley March 9th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I guess so… But it makes me wonder what the Cardinals saw that they liked.

    ———————-

    Yep, I know. I comfort myself by repeating “even the Cardinals don’t bat 1.000 in the scouting game”… I guess time will tell

  41. jmills March 9th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Shame, I’m going to take a picture and figure out how to send it to you guys. Hialarious and precious!

  42. Yankees_Fan March 9th, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    What if we already have a Diaz alternative with Solarte?

  43. Yankees_Fan March 9th, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    What if we already have a Diaz alternative in Solarte?

  44. MTU March 9th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Solarte and Anna both look good.

  45. Revenge of Stoneburner March 9th, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Mark Feinsand
    about an hour ago
    Which move did Joe Maddon think was the biggest for the Yankees this offseason?
    “McCann; it starts right there for me,” Maddon said. “Being able to get McCann, what he brings, not just the hitting but what he does toughness-wise and preparation-wise, the pitchers fall in love with that kind of stuff and then they pitch better. To me, that’s probably the most important acquisition.”

  46. MTU March 9th, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Luis-

    No one got to see Pineda.

    Game was not televised.

    He K’ed 4 guys and punched out Miguel Cabrera.

    Velocity was said to be in the 91-93 range.

    Slider was practically unhittable.

    Control was excellent.

    Everyone was very pleased and excited.

    Stay safe amigo.

    :)

  47. MTU March 9th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Proximo Hilo ———>

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