Note: No official starter for tonight's game has been announced yet, but we wanted to give you some scouting reports beforehand on some of the pitchers you might see tonight. Betances seems like a very likely option for the Yanks.
When Matt Moore helped the Rays to a 4-3 win over the Red Sox back on the 18th, Over The Monster described him as a struggling pitcher with a 9 run ERA. This caused me a raised eyebrow, and apparently also incited the wrath of our very own RaysTheRoof, as the writer appeared to be willfully ignoring the fact that Moore is the best pitching prospect in all of baseball as well as the fifth horseman, arriving early to give Rays' opponents a quick preview of their coming apocalypse. I don't blame the OTM writer, as it can be hard to look your demise square in the eye, but I thought it was important to avoid the same "oversight" myself.
Dellin Betances is *probably* going to start this final, critical game of the regular season, and this is the only impression Rays fans have of him:
Betances is a legit prospect, however, and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Over a six year minor league stint that included elbow surgery in 2009, Betances, now 23, posted a gaudy 11.6 K/9 rate, and a less appealing 4.3 BB/9. For comparison, both those numbers are significantly better than our own Alex Torres, who looked pretty good saving the season after Niemann tried to throw it away. Unlike Torres, though, he stands a towering 6'8" and 255 pounds.
Betances's fastball sits in the mid 90s, and he can pump it up to 98 mph when he need to. His curveball, which sits just under 85 mph, is an even better pitch, though, and it's what prompted Bryan Cashman to say "He might be our best pitching prospect ever." Jason Parks, of Baseball Prospectus, rated it as the best curve in the minors. Here's some of what he had to say:
There are quite a few high-end curves in the minors, so the talent pool was deep and the decision was difficult. When polled, lefty Matt Moore’s power curve received more votes (it was close), but Betances had more fervent support, with one source calling it "a career-defining pitch."
Betances allegedly has a changeup that's still far less developed than his first two offerings. He didn't throw the change in his previous and only appearance against the Rays.
Let me leave you with this image of his curve, with a 10-12 mph difference from his fastball, dropping a full 27 inches as it flies to the plate. We know he can repeat this graph. Lets hope he also repeats the previous one.