Having been extremely busy at work and the Yanks apparently on cruise control, I have not been blogging lately. I did, however, take time out on Wednesday night to take in Yank prospect Dellin Betances' start at my transplanted home park - Jackie Robinson Stadium in beautiful downtown Daytona Beach, Florida. Watching Brooklyn's Betances pitching in the High-A Florida State League was like watching a man pitch amongst boys.
He pitched 6 shutout innings giving up 3 hits (one of which was really an error) with 6 Ks. The Speed Gun at Jackie Robinson is woefully off on the low side. While the scoreboard was showing Betances topping out at 88-90, it looked much faster and Yank Manager Torre Tyson confirmed for me that it was 5-7 mph light. He said Dellin brings it routinely at 95-97 with an over 10 mph difference for his curve and change.
The only hard hit balls were line drives to the deepest part of the park nicely tracked down by CFer Melky Mesa, who was also the hitting star with a Grand Slam and all 5 RBI in a 5-1 Tampa win. This Melky looks more athletic than our last one. He appears to have all the tools yet has had low BAs in each of his years in the low minors since being drafted in 2003 at 16 years old. This year he's hitting .253 (his highest avg) with 8HRs, 47R, 37 RBI & 21 Steals. He has struck out in about 1/3 of his ABs. While sitting there, we were trying to figure out how many of these High-A players would be in the majors in a few years.
Looking back on the 2007 Tampa Yank roster one sees no fewer than 10 players who have at least already tasted the Majors including Joba, Hughes, Robertson & Cervelli - all important parts of our current Champions. Despite his low average and high K rate, I couldn't help but think that this Melky looked better than the old one -- so don't use those Got Melk T-shirts in the car wash. Torre wears #13 which he claimed was his number that A-Rod wears, not the other way around. He also was quite candid when asked about the most imposing physical presence on the team - Trent Lockwood - the 6' 4", 235 lb 1st baseman who has only 2 HRs. When asked aboout Lockwood's lack of power, he shook his head with a digusted look on his face and said "late on everything".
The one disappointment of the night was when ambidexter, Pat Venditte warmed up but didn't get into the game in the 9th - I was actually rooting for the Cubbies to get some hits so I could see Pat live.