|THIS YEAR’S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
A pair of high school pitchers, Dellin Betances and Glenn Gibson, carry the banner for New York, which otherwise is lacking in impact talent. While those two projectable arms could both be off the board by the fourth round, there doesn’t appear to be another top-10-rounds talent in the Empire State. What little depth there is in the state is concentrated in college arms, some of whom have polish and some of whom have projection–but none of whom have both. The high school talent drops off precipitously after Betances and Gibson, though lefthander Matthew Petiton might have gotten 10th-round consideration if not for his strong commitment to North Carolina.
|National Top 200 Prospects
1. Dellin Betances (68), rhp, Grand Street HS, New York
2. Glenn Gibson (176), lhp, Center Moriches HS
|Other Players Of Note
3. Andrew Bailey, rhp, Wagner
4. David Qualben, lhp, Pace
5. Bryan Hallberg, rhp, Pace
6. Chris Cody, lhp, Manhattan
7. Matthew Petiton, lhp, Garden City HS
8. Rafael Sanchez, 3b, Queensborough CC
9. Bobby Blevins, rhp, Le Moyne
10. Earl Oaks, rhp, Pace
11. Michael Affronti, ss, Le Moyne
12. Ryan Cole, rhp, Cicero-North Syracuse HS
13. Rafael Cabreja, of, James Monroe HS, New York
14. T.J. Sheridan, lhp, Le Moyne
15. Zach Groh, rhp, Binghamton
16. Javier Martinez, rhp, Fordham
17. Nick Abel, rhp, Stony Brook
18. Joe Van Meter, ss/rhp, St. Dominic’s HS, Farmingdale
19. Jeff Vincent, of, Niagara
20. John Axford, rhp, Canisius
21. Nick Derba, c, Manhattan
22. Luis Monell, lhp, St. John’s
23. Tom Hill, c, Albany
24. Jesse Darcy, rhp, Manhattan
25. Ryan Powers, ss, Beacon HS
26. Chris Manno, lhp, Xaverian HS, Brooklyn
27. Danny Almonte, lhp, James Monroe HS, New York
1. Dellin Betances, rhp (National rank: 68)
School: Grand Street HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: New York
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-9. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: 3/23/88.
Scouting Report: The towering Betances commands attention on the mound, and has flashed big stuff to match his size. He had scouts buzzing when he showed low- to mid-90s velocity in last year’s Aflac game, when he needed just nine pitches to retire the heart of the West lineup. But Betances struggled to regain that velocity in the cold weather early this spring, pitching in the high 80s and topping out at 91. He’s gotten stronger as the season has gone along, pitching back in the 92-93 range and touching 94 while flashing a plus 12-6 curveball with sharp downer action. A former basketball player, Betances has good feet and is athletic, but his windup has a lot of moving parts–he appears to duck his head in order to get his arm over the top–and he struggles to repeat his delivery. Betances has thrown plenty of innings between two different leagues this spring, thanks to a work schedule overseen by summer coach Mel Zitter, who has helped create plenty of hype about Betances along with his advisers, the Hendricks brothers. Still, most teams consider him too raw and risky for the first round. Whoever takes him could end up with a pitcher scouts compare to Daniel Cabrera.
2. Glenn Gibson, lhp(National rank: 176)
School: Center Moriches HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Center Moriches, N.Y.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Birthdate: 9/21/87.
Scouting Report: Gibson is the son of former major league lefthander Paul Gibson, who pitched eight seasons with the Tigers, Mets and Yankees. The younger Gibson is a classic pitcher’s son, with excellent feel for pitching, clean mechanics and great makeup both on and off the field. He is the opposite of New York’s other top prep prospect, Dellin Betances, because he is polished and has a repeatable downhill delivery but lacks present velocity. Gibson’s fastball sits at 86-88 mph and touches 90 every once in a while, but his 6-foot-4 frame has plenty of projection to it. What he lacks in fastball velocity he makes up for with two promising secondary pitches. Gibson has always had confidence in his changeup, which rates as at least an average pitch and could get better. His 76-77 mph curveball with good bite has been a revelation–it projects as a plus pitch and is already major league average according to most scouts. The biggest question about Gibson is that he has not faced strong competition in high school, but his overall package of command, secondary stuff, makeup and projectability should land him in the top five rounds.
Arm-Strength Pitchers Lack Refinement
New York’s most intriguing college player is Wagner righthander Andrew Bailey, whose workload this spring was limited because he was recovering from his May 2005 Tommy John surgery. Prior to breaking down last year, Bailey had garnered fifth- to 10th-round interest thanks to his power arm, and his velocity has climbed back to the 92-93 mph range, touching 94 now and then. Bailey relies on a heavy fastball with good boring action, and his curveball has good depth, but he tends to leave both pitches over the middle of the plate too much and has seemed tentative with his curve and changeup since returning from his injury. Scouts still have concerns about Bailey’s violent delivery and tendency to overthrow, but he has enough arm strength and tenacity on the mound to make him stand out in a weak New York crop.
Bailey has company in a group of college pitchers with good arm strength but other question marks. Pace lefthander David Qualben was an enigma early in the season, after entering the year with high expectations on the heels of a 7-2, 1.02 performance in the Coastal Plain League last summer. He struggled to get in sync, as his fastball velocity dropped from the 90-92 range down to the mid-80s and his command was erratic. He improved in the second half, as his velocity climbed back into the low 90s and he regained control of his fringy, rolling curveball and his changeup. Like Qualben, Pace righthanders Bryan Hallberg and Earl Oaks benefit from playing in the Northeast-10 Conference, which uses wood bats. It helps their numbers and means they’re not afraid to pitch inside. Hallberg consistently touches 94 mph with his fastball, although he does not hold his velocity, so he profiles as a reliever. His fastball is flat and his slider needs improvement, as does his command. Oaks, Pace’s closer, gets more deception with his 89-92 mph fastball and flashes a fringe-average breaking ball, but his arm is not as electric as Hallberg’s.
Fordham righthander Javier Martinez is the brother of Joseph Martinez, who was drafted by the Giants in the 12th round last year out of Boston College. His lively fastball touched 94 mph in 2005, but his velocity has been anywhere between 86-92 this year as he has struggled with his confidence and control (64 walks in 86 innings). Martinez flashes a decent curveball but has not commanded it well for most of the season. As a Fordham junior, he doesn’t figure to get drafted well enough to buy him out of his senior year.
Like Martinez, Canisius righty John Axford’s problem is his wildness–he had 75 walks and 75 strikeouts in 70 innings this spring. A fifth-year senior who has been up to 95 mph in past years, Axford has touched 93 this year and flashed a changeup and an overhand breaking ball that have promise. Righthander Nick Abel’s problem has been that he has pitched just 16 innings as Stony Brook’s closer, so few scouts have been able to see him, and they question why he hasn’t pitched more. He has a power arm and a good slider, but lack of exposure could torpedo his stock.
Polished Pitchers Have Lower Ceilings
Coaches and scouts around the Northeast rave about the toughness and advanced feel for pitching of Manhattan lefthander Chris Cody, who won the pitching triple crown in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference by going 11-2, 1.45 with 98 strikeouts in 99 innings. But Cody, who threw a 10-strikeout shutout against Tulane in the Jaspers’ season opener, throws a fastball in the 84-87 mph range that tops out at 88 every once in a while. His best pitch is an above-average changeup, and he has a fringe-average curveball. Cody is polished and commands all of his pitches to both sides of the plate, and his clean delivery is repeatable. Despite his below-average velocity, he figures to be a senior sign early in the second day of the draft.
Le Moyne’s T.J. Sheridan is another finesse lefty who should get a chance on the second day. Like Cody, he pitches at 84-87 mph with his fastball, and he complements it with an average slider and goes after hitters with just those two pitches. His rotationmate Bobby Blevins made a name for himself by setting a school record with 14 strikeouts in a two-hit shutout against St. Peter’s, then following it up with 18 strikeouts in another two-hit shutout in his next start. But Blevins has just average stuff, with an 88-91 mph fastball, a two-seamer, slider and changeup. Blevins is an intense competitor who pitched through a strained hip this year, and he knows how to work the corners. He is durable and doesn’t have any projection left.
Binghamton righty Zach Groh, who finished among the NCAA Division I leaders with a 1.85 ERA, profiles similar to Blevins. He throws a mid- to upper-80s fastball and a decent power slider, but he’s pretty much a finished product.
Younger Players Offer Little
High school lefthander Matthew Petiton does not have the upside of Dellin Betances or even Glenn Gibson, but he is polished for a high school pitcher. Though he has a loose arm, Petiton’s velocity dropped this year from the low 90s to the mid-80s, and his stock dropped with it (aided by his commitment to North Carolina). Like Gibson, he has an advanced feel for pitching and good feel for his secondary stuff–an average curveball and changeup.
Former Little League celebrity Danny Almonte gets the headlines despite below-average velocity and probably has a future as a draft-and-follow, but his Monroe High teammate Rafael Cabreja has benefited from the exposure. Cabreja is a good center fielder who is an average runner and plus thrower, and he has some pop in his lefthanded swing, though it has a tendency to get long. He makes inconsistent contact because he is often out over his front foot, so he might be better off going to a junior college as well. Righthander Ryan Cole throws a heavy, 88-91 mph fastball and a slider, but he is raw. There is also a question about how projectable his thick frame is, but he’s a good athlete.
A possible sleeper might be 19-year-old Queensborough Community College third baseman Rafael Sanchez, who has plus raw power and a plus arm. He’s not a good runner and has questionable range at third, so he might profile better as a first baseman. His raw ability could get him drafted in the first day.