Thursday, January 30, 2014

Players With SIY Cards: Dellin Betances

Oh boy is this going to be a LOOOOOOONG post...

2007 Choice front
Welcome back to PWSIYC, today we'll be talking about my favorite current Yankee, Dellin Betances.
Dellin Betances was born and raised in good old Washington Heights, New York (not Brooklyn). He is a massive human being (6'8") and was even nicknamed the "Little Unit" for a while. He grew up a Yankees fan and was even at old Yankee Stadium when David Wells threw his perfect game. In 2006 he was originally planning on going to Vanderbilt but signed with the Yankees who drafted him in the 8th round (254th overall) and gave him a $1 million signing bonus. Which he used to buy his parents a new home in Florida (I think).
In 2007 Betances was assigned to Staten Island but only pitched in 6 games (as a starter) and finished with a 3.60 ERA, 1 win and 29 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Since then he quickly made a name for himself as one of the Yankees's best prospects, was grouped together with Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman and dubbed "The Triple B's" who many hoped would succeed where Hughes-Joba-Kennedy trio failed (spoiler alert, the Triple-B's failed too) and slowly made his way to the majors. He was called up in September of 2011 and made his MLB debut on September 22nd, 2011.

2007 Choice back
Unfortunately the journey was nothing close to smooth (in fact, it's still going on and it's still bumpy) as it included a couple of injuries and a disastrous 2012 (6.44 ERA between AA & AAA) where it appeared as though Betances's once promising future as a front of the rotation starter was all but gone. However, Dellin's ceiling was still pretty high as he had the "stuff" to be a dominant pitcher but just struggled to find the strike-zone due to his height. So the Yankees tried converting Betances into a reliever and while the experiment has been mostly positive in the minors he's yet to show how effective he'll be as a reliever in the big leagues. He had a couple of chances in 2013 as he was called up at various times to provide bullpen depth but his outings ranged from okay-to-horrible.
Betances will have to really step up in 2014. He managed to qualify for one more minor league baseball option (which means that he can be sent down to the minors without having to go through waivers and possibly being claimed by another team) which also means that he could spend some time in the minors again. But I'm sure he will be given a handful of chances in Spring Training and during various parts of the season, allowing the Yankees to decide whether or not they want keep him around any longer.
As a semi-Yankees fan and Betances fan I really hope he manages to find his stroke and stick around with the Yankees. But if he's shipped off somewhere else between now and Spring Training 2015, I'll continue to support him and I might even follow him and go root for that team instead.
BTW, my prime candidates for who'll pick up Betances after his Yankees days are done are the Chicago Cubs (who've already picked up past Yankees farmhands like Corey Black and Brett Marshall) or the Chicago White Sox (who've shown interest in Betances in the past).

Base (left), Green Auto Numbered To 25 (right)
Anyway sorry if I bored some of you with all of that. Betances is one of my favorite players currently in the majors and at this point my favorite Yankee on the current 40 man roster, so I tend to get carried away. I guess I like Betances so much because he's living the life I wanted to when I was growing up (kind of). As a fellow New Yorker who grew up rooting for the Yankees I also had dreams of being drafted by my favorite team. Unfortunately by the time I entered high school that dream was washed away. But that just makes me root for guys like Betances and Cito Culver (another NY native) who have been given that chance even more. Plus Betances used his signing bonus to get his parents out of his rough neighborhood and bought them a new house. I'll probably never be able to do anything that awesome for my parents.
The card shown at the top is from the 2007 Choice New York-Penn League Top Prospects set. Betances and Zach McAllister were the Yankees's representatives in that set. I'm not sure if the auto is really legit (the seller seemed pretty reputable though) but since I didn't have the card at all I couldn't care less. Betances has 2 cards featuring him as a Staten Island Yankee, the Choice card and his cards in 2008 Tri-Star Projections New York Prospects edition (seen above). I guess the 2007 Donruss card could also be considered a SIY card since it mentions Staten Island on the back and features him wearing an (airbrushed) pinstripe jersey, something they don't have down in the GCL.
And with that, I'd like to quickly share with you all my top 5 Betances cards.

5. 2006 Upper Deck USA Dual Auto With Clayton Kershaw Numbered 7/100

There are times when I blame this card for Betances's struggles. It's obvious that Kershaw somehow sucked Betances's talent away from him after being paired up on this card. Resulting in Kershaw turning into the best pitcher on earth while Betances gets yo-yo'd between the minors, majors and DL. In other words, Kershaw has this card and Betances to thank for his incredible talent, production and his $215 million contract.
But I can't hate on this card or on Kershaw since he's Kershaw. Plus Betances's early signatures are really awesome (I might do a post showcasing how Betances's autograph has changed over the years).

4. 2007 Choice


3. 2012 Bowman Chrome RC Red Refractor Auto Numbered 4/5


This card is so shiny in person.

2. 2012 Topps RC

Nothing beats a simple rookie card of your favorite player. Except for...

1. 2012 Topps Chrome Printing Plate Numbered 1/1

...a not-so-simple 1/1 rookie card of your favorite player!

And with that I'd like to thank all of you who've lasted this long and, as always, take care.


  1. Good stuff! I was waiting for this one. Man, I hope he sticks in the big league pen this year. The opportunity is there...

    1. I hope so too. As I'm 100% sure that he'll get his chance, but I'm also 100% sure that it'll be his last one (at least with the Yankees).

  2. Sweet collection.

    I too hope he sticks this season. The Yankees could use the help in the pen and he could really be an asset if he's healthy.