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New York Yankees’ Minor Leaguers Honing Skills in the Arizona Fall League

October 24th, 2012 at 11:08 AM
By Karen Vankat

Much of the talk after the New York Yankees were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS was about getting younger. The Bombers have some fine prospects in their farm system who are getting closer to the Major League level.

'Yankee Stadium' photo (c) 2008, Eric Beato - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Yankees sent seven Minor Leaguers, including four of their top 20 prospects in the organization, to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League.

The most well known name to Yankees' fans is RHP Dellin Betances one of the infamous killer B's. Betances took a step back in 2011 and regressed even further during the 2012 season. The Yankees No. 17 prospect started out in Triple-A Scranton then was demoted to Double-A Trenton Thunder because of control issues.

Dellin has three pitches including an above average fastball (mid-90's) and curve which makes him Major League ready. His problem this year was lack of control where in 18.6 innings with Scranton he walked an abysmal 8.3 batters per nine innings. After being demoted to Trenton in June he was eventually placed on the DL with shoulder stiffness. Betances will certainly learn how concur the command issues before he can move to the Bronx.

Betances in three starts with the Scorpions has a 1-1 record with a 3.38 ERA in 5 1/3 innings pitched with seven strikeouts three walks and three hits allowed. If he can show the Yankees improvement during this Fall League stint he may start back at Triple-A for the 2013 season.

Another big RHP Mark Montgomery is on the fast track for the Bronx. The No. 14 ranked prospect moved quickly through the Florida State League Tampa Yankees to Double-A Trenton this season. New York selected Montgomery in the 11th round of the 2011 draft out of Longwood College. Montgomery boasts a dominate fastball-slider combination with the latter being his swing and miss pitch. Mark also has a sweeping change-up to keep hitters off balance. Montgomery has closed at the Minor League level and could be a great addition to the Yankees bullpen for years as a set-up man or closer.

In four games in relief in the AFL Montgomery has pitched five innings (1.80 ERA) allowed one run on two hits with nine strikeouts and three walks. If Montgomery continues on his current pace to end up with the parent club, Joba Chamberlain may be expendable to be used in a trade.

Outfielder Slade Heathcott the No. 5 prospect for the Yankees batted .302 in split time between the Gulf Coast and Florida League Yankees. Heathcott is a lefty hitter who's swing may be tailor made for the short porch at Yankee Stadium. New York drafted him in the first round in 2009 and saw he has some raw power and speed, which will need to be developed. Heathcott has had his development curtailed due to a couple of shoulder surgeries and hopefully will grow into an outfielder that may roam the spacious outfield in the Bronx.

Other players on the roster for the Scorpions include No. 19 prospect RHP Zach Nuding, RHP Dan Burawa, infielder David Adams and another familiar name to fans catcher Austin Romine, who was sidelined most of the season with back issues. Romine needs to show he can stay healthy to see if he would be eventually a viable candidate for everyday catcher in New York. Romine dropped out of the top 20 prospects this year because of health issues.

Needless to say the Yankees do have some fine young talent which could possibly make the roster in the Bronx or be used as trade chips in some deals.

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Tags: arizona fall league, Austin Romine, Baseball, Dan Barawa, David Adams, Dellin Betances, Mark Montgomery, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees, Slade Heathcott, Trenton Thunder, Zachary Nuding

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One Response to “New York Yankees’ Minor Leaguers Honing Skills in the Arizona Fall League”

  1.  Karen Vankat says:

    The Yankees do have some young talent that have the chance to make it in the Bronx.

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