Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Chuck Knoblog Minor League Awards: Most Improved Player

And the knobby goes to...
Dellin Betances, 20, RHP, Low-A Charleston Riverdogs
Betances is a huge righty with a huge ceiling. He stands 6'8", 245 lbs, and has been a highly touted prospect since he was signed to a way overslot million dollar signing bonus as an eighth round pick in the 2006 draft. Everybody around baseball knew that Dellin had a chance to be a great player one day, but like many tall pitchers, he took more time than others to show that potential. From the start of his professional career, Dellin has had the ability to strike out batters, but he had a lot of trouble with walks. Last season, though he only pitched 25 innings in the Gulf Coast League due to injury he had 6.12 BB/9. It's tough to call a player in just his first year of full season ball the most improved player, but the early part of this year compared to the rest has been night and day for Betances. Dellin's BB/9 this season in Charleston is 5.49, which is bad. However, let's look a little deeper. In April and May, Betances had a 6.55 BB/9. Since then, with a short DL stint mixed in, he has a 2.83 BB/9. Besides walks, Dellin's other numbers have been stellar. In 82 IP, he has a 3.62 ERA, 6.04 H/9, .99 HR/9, 10.32 K/9, 1.28 WHIP. Next year Dellin should start the year in Tampa, and I would assume he will spend the whole year there. Considering his size, I do not think the Yankees will fast-track him, but I expect big things from Dellin next year, as he is now starting to show indications that he may reach his ceiling as an ace.