Banuelos and Betances in the house
Here is the complete piece on the two newest additons to the Double-A Trenton rotation that ran into today’s Times of Trenton and nj.com.
If a third Eastern League championship since 2008 is in the cards for the Thunder, they now have plenty of aces at their disposal.
Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman confirmed a published report
Josh Norris’ scoop Saturday that top Class-A Tampa pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances have been sent to Double-A Trenton to join the first-place Thunder, who open a big three-game series against second-place New Hampshire tonight at Waterfront Park.
Newman said last week that his feeling was that neither Banuelos nor Betances would move this season, but the inclusion of former Thunder all-star and Yankees Minor League Pitcher of the Year Zach McAllister to Cleveland as the player-to-be-named in the Austin Kearns trade, along with Ivan Nova’s promotion to New York, necessitated the action.
“A lot of factors went into it,’’ Newman said. “Their performance in Tampa certainly played a big part of it. The movement of other players played a role and they would not have come if we did not feel they were ready.’’
The Thunder (76-51), who saw their Eastern Division lead over the Fisher Cats (72-54) shrink to 3½ games following yesterday’s 7-6 extra-inning loss to Portland at Hadlock Field, are expected to lose right-hander D.J. Mitchell (11-4) to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as part of the rotation shuffle.
The 6-foot-8 right-hander Betances, given a $1 million bonus by the Yankees as an eighth-round draft pick in 2006, has made a dramatic recovery from Tommy John surgery late last August and is 8-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 14 starts.
Over 71 innings, the 22-year-old Betances has allowed just 43 hits, 19 walks, one home run and brings a WHIP (walks and hits per-innings pitched) of 0.87. His fastball has appeared in the 97-98 range and he is equipped with a plus curveball.
Although 19-year-old southpaw Banuelos is 0-3, his ERA is 2.23 and has 62 strikeouts in 44⅓ innings.
Banuelos missed a significant block of time earlier this season after undergoing an appendectomy.
If, as expected, Mitchell joins the SWB rotation, the Thunder will run five of the most impressive young starters in all of minor-league baseball out to the mound of the final stretch with Banuelos, Betances, former first round-pick Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and Adam Warren, who last week struck out 15 in just seven innings to shatter the franchise record.
All five starters were listed among the Yankees’ top 30 prospects by Baseball America prior to the season, with Banuelos the top selection at No. 6.
The complete overhaul of the Opening Day rotation is complete, with only Ryan Pope remaining after being converted to closer.
Despite an initial reluctance to commit Banuelos and Betances to Double-A, Newman now says he has no reservations whatsoever about thrusting his two young guns into a heated playoff race.
“They were in the same kind of (playoff) situation at Tampa,’’ Newman said. “All of our top three teams (Tampa, Trenton and Scranton) are in first place. But the level of competition up here is better and will prepare them in some ways for next year.’’
Newman said he would not have believed it if anyone in March had someone told him Betances and Banuelos would have made it this far this fast.
“Neither one was on the mound at the time; they were both injured,’’ he said. “Their performance from the middle of the season until the end has been beyond what any of us could have imagined. They have both been outstanding. In this business if you start making long-range predictions about young guys like this, either positively or negatively, you make it tough for yourself. But having all five of the guys we have in that Trenton rotation now, that’s quality stuff.’’
Scalding hot outfielder Dan Brewer will lead the Trenton offense against New Hampshire in the three-game set starting tonight.
Brewer connected for his 10th home run in the fourth inning of yesterday’s loss at Portland, which featured blown saves by J.B. Cox and Wilkins Arias.
Brewer has driven in at least one run in nine of his last 10 games, during which time he is hitting .350 with 14 RBIs.
Matt Cusick (3-for-5) hit a clutch ninth-inning home run yesterday and finished a double shy of the cycle.