Betances is in full pursuit of his dream, arriving here several weeks ago to begin workouts to give himself the best chance to impress manager Joe Girardi when spring training opens in two weeks. He flew back to New York last weekend to be honored by the New York Pro Scouts as their “Star of the Future.”Betances then went on to talk about how Tommy John surgery has actally helped his progression as a pitcher:
“I just want to work hard and try to pitch to my ability,” the soft-spoken right-hander said. “To be able to go to my first big league spring training, growing up a Yankee fan and now you are with these guys, it’s kind of a humbling experience.”
Betances will turn 23 in March. He finished at Double-A Trenton in 2010. At some point this season, he could be in The Bronx.
“I’m just excited wherever I go to start the year and then finish strong,” Betances said.
Right now Ivan Nova is the fifth starter, and the Yankees are looking for a fourth starter. That would be Andy Pettitte if he returns, or another veteran. But nothing is set in stone. Perhaps Betances will impress Girardi to such a degree in spring training that he gets in the mix.
How good can Betances be? [Cesar] Presbott, the scout who signed him, said Betances could be “one of the top pitchers in the major leagues, no question.” Asked what current major leaguer Betances reminds him of, Presbott answered, “Ubaldo Jimenez.”
“One thing with the Tommy John surgery is that it allowed me to work on a day-to-day basis on my delivery,” Betances said. “I feel like that has changed me as a pitcher. Just mentally, I feel I’ve gotten a lot stronger.”A summary of his stuff for those who don't know:
Betances’ fastball is mid- to upper-90s. He also features a slider, changeup and spike curve.Betances talking about his goals:
“Definitely seeing those guys that I’ve played with, making a run and helping the team out, it is something I look forward to,” Betances said. “My goal is to make it to the major leagues at some point this year.With all the great arms in the Yankees system--names all laid out at the end of the Kernan article--there's a lot to be excited about if you're a Yankees fan. But for me, Betances is at the top of that list. I've heard scouts compare him to Josh Beckett in his prime, and now we get an Ubaldo Jimenez comparison. Whether he lives up to that hype or not, that's pretty high praise for the soon-to-be 23-year-old. I can't wait to watch him this spring.
“As a kid you always dream about something like this, being there and just helping your team win championships,” Betances added. “I just don’t want to be there one year or two years, I want to be there for a good amount of time, have a good career. Just watching Derek Jeter, five championship rings, it’s amazing. Robinson Cano and I have the same background.”