With their season on the line tonight the Rays will be facing a rookie who was called up a week ago and has never started a big-league game before, as the Yankees announced that they’ll go with 23-year-old right-hander Dellin Betances in Game 162.
Betances is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, but his first and only MLB appearance involved giving up two runs and walking four batters in two-thirds of an inning as a reliever last week.
Prior to being called up Betances split the season between Double-A and Triple-A, throwing 126 innings with a 3.70 ERA and 142/70 K/BB ratio. He has excellent raw stuff and a very bright future, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Betances struggle with his control tonight. And he’ll probably be a limited pitch count too.
This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.
The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.
As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.