I'm sure you've all heard by now that the Yankees are going to need a few more arms in their bullpen, and free-agent signings are very unlikely at this point. Any of the remaining bullpen jobs are almost certainly going to be filled by relievers already in camp.
And though it's really hard to tell much from the first week of spring training games because most relievers have appeared a two or three games, man, Dellin Betances has really been impressive so far.
In three appearances this spring, Betances has been lights out, as he's only given up one hit and hasn't allowed a single run in 5.1 innings.
Compared to where he was a year ago, Betances has done a great job of improving on his command, specifically his offspeed pitches, which Tampa Bay Rays announces noted during his last appearance in Wednesday.
The command was a major issue for Betances, which is most of the reason why the Yankees moved him from being a starter into the bullpen, where they felt he would be much more successful.
Entering Friday, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton are the pitchers with guaranteed spots in the bullpen this season. Joe Girardi mentioned during the offseason that Preston Claiborne was also a lock, but I'm not sure I can count him after he finished last year with an ERA of 6.53 in the second half of the season.
Obviously Robertson is going to be the closer, Thornton will be the lefty specialist, and Kelley will most likely get the promotion to set-up man.
Betances is one of the pitchers in contention to earn a spot this spring, could end up being a very important piece for Girardi out of the bullpen year as a late-inning reliever.
"I feel like there's a lot of opportunities this year. It's going to be a fun competition," Betances told MLB.com back in February. "I know a lot of guys are eager to get across the street [for Spring Training]. I'm excited for this year. I know I feel good about myself after last year, and I'll be ready to compete for one of those spots."
Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog
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