Top 10 Players of the Year - No .6a
No. 6a - Dellin Betances
Why he's here: After being told time and time again that Betances, who was coming off of ligament reinforcement surgery for his elbow, wasn't scheduled to hit Trenton until next season, the monolith of a right-hander earned his promotion to Double-A at the end of August.
He's one of the Yankees most prized pitching prospects, and has two A-grade pitches in his fastball and his curveball. His change-up is also developing, and was a pretty big weapon for him down the stretch.
His command improved during his injury layoff, which helped him vault from a Daniel Cabrera-type prospect to a true ace-caliber pitcher in the making.
Biggest moment of the season: Betances' coming-out party happened during the first game of the Eastern League Division Series, when the Thunder faced off with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, their Northern Division nemesis all season long.
Betances faced the Cats in his debut, on Aug. 24, but this time he was facing their ace, Kyle Drabek. With that matchup came incredibly long odds. Almost nobody (self included) outside of the home clubhouse thought Game 1 was going to be anything but a Thunder loss.
Instead, Betances matched Drabek pitch for pitch, and showed incredible mettle in the process. When all was said and done, Betances, in front of a large and raucous chunk of his extended family, had twirled 5 1/3 innings of two-hit, one-walk baseball, with eight strikeouts mixed in.
What's more, Betances stranded five runners in scoring position, all with less than two outs, showcasing that extra notch that every true ace can find in key situations.
Interesting quote: "He might be our best pitching prospect ever," -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, speaking about Betances in Baseball America.
Outlook for 2011: Barring a trade, Betances will more than likely return to Trenton for at least the first half of the 2011 season.