By now every Yankee fan should know who the "Killer B's" are. Die hard fans to casual fans know that they are Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman.These three guys have had their moments this spring and could be very key into the Yankees success down the road. All of these guys could be future aces for the Yankees, so I'll tell you what you should expect out of these guys in the upcoming 2011 season and beyond. By the way, before I begin, let me remind you that BYB's Grant Cederquist touched on this when many of us had no clue who the Killer B's were. You can read his incredible post from February 15th titled ATTACK OF THE KILLER B'S. Read it. Anyway, back to my piece.(photo: AP)
Out of these three pitchers, Manny Banuelos is probably the most hyped, and rightfully so. At 20 years old this guy is called "a harder throwing (Johan) Santana," by Yankees play-by-play radio announcer John Sterling and many others. That is quite impressive, and quite frankly I agree with him. Banuelos consistently throws 93 mph plus, with a Johan Santana like change up, and he also has a wicked curve. His curve is similar to that of a Jon Lester or Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. Last season, in three different minor league levels, Banuelos pitched just 64.2 innings, but he pitched to a stellar 2.51 ERA. The most impressive stat is that the young left hander struck out 85 batters. So we know this kid is the real deal. But, Banuelos only pitched those 64.2 innings last year. In 2009 he pitched 109 innings, so look for the Yankees to start Banuelos in AA this year. We could see Banuelos pitch around 115 or so innings, maybe a little under and then expect to get around 150 or so innings in AAA in the 2012 season. If I were the Yankees, I would not bring him up until he can pitch around 200 innings a season. There is no reason to rush this prized talent up. The Yankees learned that with Joba Chamberlain. He'll be 22 years old by that time, and if the Yankees play their cards right he'll be ready. Thus far this spring, Banuelos has pitched 9.2 innings while just allowing two earned, good for a 1.86 ERA. He has also struck out 11 batters. Banuelos is still with the major league camp at this moment.The second member of the "Killer B's" is right hander Dellin Betances. Betances isn't as hyped as Banuelos, but is projected to be an ace like pitcher for the Yankees down the road. Betances is 22 years old, but didn't pitch much last year. He pitched just 85.1 innings in two different stops in the minors, including AA where he pitched to a 3.77 ERA in three starts. Betances has a very live fastball in the mid 90s, to go along with a big knuckle curve ball, and a developing change up. But, unlike Banuelos, Betances has struggled this spring, allowing four runs in six innings of work. He has struck out eight batters, but the walks have came back to haunt him as he has allowed seven free passes in the spring season. Since Betances pitched just 85.1 innings last year, expect him to be around the 120-130 innings pitched mark this season, then go up to about 170-190 in 2012. Maybe the Yankees bring him up next year if he pitches well this season. But, I wouldn't bring him up this year if it was up to me.The third and final "Killer B" is Andrew Brackman. The Yankees drafted Brackman in 2007 knowing he would have to have Tommy John Surgery. He struggled mightily when he came back from the surgery in 2009, going 2-12 with a 5.91 ERA, and, in his 106.2 innings pitched he walked 76 alone. But, Brackman made strides last year in high A ball and AA last year. In the 2010 campaign he had a solid 3.90 ERA while winning 10 games. But, Brackman's walk total dropped dramatically, walking just 39 in 140 innings pitched. Because he pitched 140 innings this year, I think he should have been a candidate for the number five starter. But, the Yankees would like to see him pitch in AAA. I suspect, if the Yankees need a starter in the middle of the year, Brackman would get the call up to the show.
Those are your three Killer B's and what to expect from them. I don't think the Yankees want to call up Banuelos or Betances because they need more innings under their belt. Don't expect them to be up until the middle of 2012 at the earliest. My opinion of course. I would be probably more towards 2013 they'll be up. This way their arms are built up to pitch 200 innings.
Brackman on the other hand, could be up this season if he deserves it. He can probably pitch around 190-200 innings this year, give or take a few. But, one thing I believe that all of these guys shouldn't do is; pitch in the bullpen. These guys are starters, not relievers. Barring injury, the Yankees do not need a reliever right now. All three of these guys are projected starters, so don't move them in and out of the bullpen. The Yankees essentially ruined Joba Chamberlain by doing that, and they got lucky with Phil Hughes. Expect these guys to be starters, where they belong.
--Jesse Schindler, BYB Guest Writer
My Blog: The Pinstriped Personality