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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top 10 Players of 2011 - No. 10: Dellin Betances

Why He's Here: I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: Josh, why is Dellin Betances, one of the Yankees' biggest and brightest prospects, ranked so low? Well, I'll tell you. It's because, despite his dynamite stuff and sky-high ceiling, his time with the Thunder this year was very inconsistent.

At 6-foot-8, command problems are pretty much an inevitability, and Betances is no exception. He issued four or more walks in nine of his 21 starts, and issued 55 free passes in 105.1 innings before being bumped to Scranton toward the end of the year.

Overall, Betances' season was fractured into two distinct halves. See for yourself.

From April 10 until June 4, he was 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA (the best in all of Double-A), a 1.17 WHIP and allowed just 31 hits over 45.1 innings. He struck out 50 against 22 walks. Over those nine starts, the Thunder were 8-1.

After that, things quickly went south.

From June 9 until August 12, his final start with Trenton, Betances went 1-5 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. He fanned 65 during that stretch and walked 33. The team was a shocking 1-11 in those 12 starts.

I said all that to say this: Yes, he's a fantastic prospect, and yes, he'll probably have more major league impact than a lot of guys you'll find on the rest of this list, but his impact with the Thunder in 2011 wasn't all positive. At least, it wasn't as positive as the players at the top of my list.

Most Memorable Moment: On the field, Betances' finest start was probably his outing on May 25 against Reading. He lasted six innings, fanned 10 against one walks and allowed just two runs. Both scores came on his only mistake of the day, which Derrick Mitchell put over the fence at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Runner-up was probably July 7 at Richmond, when he went six innings again, allowed one run and struck out nine against two walks. He also hit 99 miles per hour that afternoon.

Off the field, the best Dellin Betances moment was easily on the morning of July 31, MLB's non-waiver trading deadline, while his name was being bandied about in all sorts of rumors. One would have excused him if he were nervous and a little on edge that morning.

Not so.

While waiting to go in and talk to the manager before the game, Betances was in the weight room across the hall from the clubhouse, riding the elliptical machine and listening to some very loud Spanish music. During every chorus, you could hear Betances clapping and singing, all while wearing a huge smile.

So much for nerves, eh?

Outlook for 2012: With a great spring, he might just earn himself a spot in the big club's bullpen out of camp. More likely, however, he'll probably get a great tour of the Northeast part of the U.S. in the rotation of team formerly known as the Scranton Yankees, who will play the 2012 season without a home park while PNC Field undergoes a yearlong renovation.

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