Betances is from New York's inner city. He was born in Washington Heights and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, idolizing the likes of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. His family then moved to Brooklyn in 1998.
Dellin was in the stands on May 17, 1998, the day David Wells pitched a perfect game. He was a 10-year-old with a $7 ticket, and still has the ticket stubs.
He says he went to three to five Yankee games per season.
Dellin is a former basketball player. He has good feet.
Baseball scouts began to notice Betances when he was a tall, skinny Grand Street Campus High School sophomore in Brooklyn. An inconsistent senior season dropped him to the eighth round of the 2006 draft.
In 2008, Dellin led all South Atlantic League starters by averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
In 2007, Baseball America rated Betances as third-best prospect in the Yankees organization. They dropped Dellin to #13 in the spring of 2008.
But he was back up near the top—as 5th-best prospect in the Bronx Bombers' farm system in the spring of 2009. But they dropped Betances down to #28 in the spring of 2010.
In 2011, the B.A. Prospect Handbook had moved Betances all the way back up to third best prospect. And they had him at #3 again in the spring of 2012. But they dropped Dellin down to #19 in the offseason before 2013 spring camps, and he was down farther, to #26 in the winter before 2014 spring training.
Dellin's parents, Jamie and Maria, emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. Jaime is a boxer and drives for a car service.
Dellin's father, Jaime, was a boxer.
Once upon a time, Dellin was the undisputed star of the Bronx Bombers' farm system and tabbed a future anchor of the rotation. And then everything went wrong. Injuries. Poor performances.
So in 2014, the Yankees placed him in the bullpen as something of a last resort. At age 26, Betances has become a star. The imposing 6-foot-8, 260-pound righthander has been one of baseball's best relievers. He is pure power, with a 97-mph fastball and an 87-mph slider. (Justice - mlb.com - 8/25/14)
Family always comes first for Dellin, and one of the biggest reasons why is because his mother, Maria, worked hard to ensure her four children would stick together and help each other whenever possible. "I think for her, the big thing is unity," Betances said. "No matter where you are, always look out for your family. We made sure that we stayed in communication with everybody, because we've always been that close."
Betances was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan and developed into an All-Star reliever for the Yankees. One of the best perks has been having his parents there for every great moment along the way. Raised in the Lillian Wald Houses on the Lower East Side, Betances said that his mother made sure that there was always food on the table and that he and his siblings stayed out of trouble while his father, Jaime, worked long hours as a livery taxi driver.
"Obviously, she's a very important lady in my life," Betances said. "She's always been there for us. She's raised four of us to try to be the strongest we can become. I have two older brothers and one younger sister, and I feel like she did a good job with just making sure we concentrate in school and the importance of being respectful."
Space was at a premium in Betances' building, where the future Yankees pitcher lived until the day he signed a professional contract at age 18. He and his older brother, Anthony, shared a bed and closet, while his brother Dioni and sister Emeline had a bunk bed in another room.
"It was hard," Betances said. "My dad tried to work and provide for us as much as he could. My mom worked to a certain age; I felt like once I was in high school she stopped working and was more of a housewife. Making sure we were eating good, making sure everything we wanted we had, as best as we could."
Betances said that he remembers his mother pushing him to show respect to his elders and to pay attention as much as possible in his classes at Brooklyn's Grand Street Campus High School. "We didn't grow up in the best areas, but she always tried to make sure school was important, family's important," Betances said. "Just be respectful and try to stay out of trouble."
Growing up in a crowded household meant that Betances always had people to play with. In fact, his brothers pushed him to play baseball—he had been too afraid of the ball to take it seriously. Betances' mother encouraged the children to spend time outside, but she kept a close eye on them.
"She was strict, to a certain extent," he said. "I think she'd make sure we weren't out late, she'd make sure we were doing the right things. We were always active, all of us. We were playing baseball, basketball, playing together in the parks around the house I lived in. We were always together no matter what, so me being young, I wasn't allowed to go out late on my own. If I was going somewhere, I had to have my brothers with us."
Looking back, Betances said that he recognizes that his parents did the best they could with what they had, and for that he is forever grateful. In 2006, he used part of his signing bonus to buy his parents a house in New Jersey's Bergen County. He is blessed to call Yankee Stadium his office, but Betances is just as proud of his siblings. Their success in a variety of fields—accounting, for the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority and in real estate—and close relationships continue to be a daily credit to Maria Betances' influence.
Betances says of his mother, "I always love her and I just want to make her as proud as I can. Every day I work as hard as I can just to show them that I'm trying to be successful in what I do. All of us try to be successful in whatever lane we're in to make our mom proud." (Hoch - MLB.com - 5/4/16)
Jaime Betances is still giving players rides to their baseball games, just like he did when his youngest son was playing in the Youth Service League or at Grand Street Campus High School in Brooklyn. But when he heads to the ballpark now, his destination is Yankee Stadium. And now he charges his passengers.
Jaime Betances is the father of Yankees setup man Dellin Betances.
Earlier (in 2016), Jaime got a call from Dellin, who asked his father if he could pick up a couple of his teammates in New Jersey and take them to work in the Bronx. So Jaime headed to the homes of pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Ramirez, cruised over the George Washington Bridge and then dropped them off at Yankee Stadium in time for a game. In fact, the pitchers were regular customers of Jaime’s earlier this season.
Jaime Betances has been doing this for regular customers around New York City for 23 years. He drives for a company in Washington Heights but lives in Bergen County, N.J., with Dellin’s mother, Maria, and their 23-year-old daughter Emeline. Dellin’s two older brothers, Anthony, 31, and Dioni, 29. Jaime says he has no intention of hitting the brakes on his career anytime soon, regardless of how much success his now-famous son experiences — or how much money the pinstriped pitcher earns.
“I don’t want to sit at home,” Jaime says. “Twenty-four hours is a long time. You have to do something.”
One thing Jaime doesn’t do is brag about his son to passengers. He says he only talks about Dellin’s job if it happens to come up in conversation.
“My dad is very humble,” says Dioni, an accountant in New Jersey. “He doesn’t go out of his way to tell people about it, but I know he is very proud. We all are. Dellin has worked very hard to get to where he is, and he got that work ethic from our father.”
For Jaime, the experience has been surreal, especially when he looks into the rearview mirror of his livery cab, sees Yankee Stadium, and thinks about the long route his son took to get there. (Julian Garcia - NY Daily News - July 14, 2014)
November 2016: Betances decided to pitch for the Dominican Republic team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
November 2016: During Thanksgiving weekend, Dellin got married. Lots of his current and former Yankees teammates were present for the festivities.
January 2017: Betances committed to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Nov 21, 2018: Some 450 feet from where Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder catch highlighted the 1954 World Series, Betances showed off a broad grin as he handed out turkeys with all of the fixings. For hundreds of New Yorkers who otherwise might have gone without on Thanksgiving, these grabs were undoubtedly game-changers.
Betances appeared at the Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem, participating in a food drive on the patch of land that the Giants, Yankees and Mets all once called home. With assists from the Rosemark Group and Whole Foods Market, Betances helped more than 800 families put feasts on their tables this holiday.
"For us athletes, giving back is what it is all about," Betances said. "I grew up close to here. It makes me feel happy just making them smile, it brings light to my day. Anytime I can be a part of something like this, where we're giving to families that are in need and will get to have a good Thanksgiving, I signed up right away. This is what it's all about for me."
Nov 2018 This Thanksgiving was a special holiday for Betances. He and his wife, Janisa, announced that they are expecting a baby boy. The hurler plans to cross two rivers on Thanksgiving, spending time with their extended families in New Jersey and in New York City.
"We'll usually go with my family first and have a Thanksgiving brunch, different kinds of food," Betances said. "We'll have Latin food, obviously you have to have turkey. Then at nighttime for dinner, we'll go to my wife's side of the family in Brooklyn.
"We'll try to enjoy some quality family time together. Eating is always good. I enjoy all the holidays. Any time I get to get together with my family, it's a big thing for me. I'm a big family guy. We share some laughter and it's always good." (B Hoch - MLB.com - Nov 21, 2018)
2019 Spring Training: New father Dellin Betances wasn’t present for the Yankees first pitchers and catchers workout following the birth of his son.
Feb 14, 2019: Janisa and Dellin Betances welcomed Dellin Jr. to the world and “everything’s going well,’’ said manager Aaron Boone, adding that he expects his pitcher to arrive soon.
June 2006: The Yankess chose Betances in the 8th round, out of Grand Street Campus High School in New York City. The Yankees gave him a $1 million bonus in order to keep him from accepting a scholarship to Vanderbilt. He signed on July 6, via scouts Cesar Presbott and Brian Barber.
- Jan 11, 2019: Delin and the Yankees avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $7.2 million.
|Home:||N/A||Team:||YANKEES - IL|
|DOB:||3/23/1988||Agent:||Excel Sports Mgmt.|
|Birth City:||Washington Heights, NY|
|Draft:||Yankees #8 - 2006 - Out of high school (NY)|
Betances has a lively 96-102 mph 4-seam FASTBALL and fine 83-86 mph 12-to-6 downer knuckle-CURVEBALL with tight rotation and sharp downer tilt.
Dellin's 12-to-6 KNUCKLE-CURVE is one of the best in the game. It is a real strikeout pitch and is rated at 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 43.4% of the time; and knuckle/Curve 56.6% of the time.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 46.5% of the time; and Curve 53.5% of the time.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 47.1% of the time; and Curve 52.8% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 98.2 mph and Curve 85.6 mph.
Dellin has a stiff delivery. And his windup has a lot of moving partsï¿½he appears to duck his head in order to get his arm over the top. He doesn't have much athleticism, which prevents him from repeating his delivery and throwing consistent quality strikes.
Betances is not fluid. He still sometimes has a head jerk and his landing is stiff and jarring. He comes at hitters from a steep downhill plane, though. and in 2013, Dellin worked with pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, staying his delivery longer and improving his command.
Dellin is intelligent and coachable. He quickly applies what he is taught. His lack of control has thus far negated his premium stuff. He has frequent times where he cannot seem to throw a strike. And he just is not cerebral enough to make the necessary corrections.
- In 2013, the Yankees moved Betances from a starter to the bullpen.
- Spring training 2014 improvements: The most important adjustment that Betances has made is being able to control his mid-90s fastball, something that threatened to derail his promising career a couple of years ago. But he has also added weapons, learning to trust his slurve and mixing in an occasional changeup.
"Last year, coming up in September, I threw too many fastballs," Betances said. "I know my off-speed was one of the things that helped me out when I got in trouble with my fastball. I would try to use that to keep myself a little calm with my mechanics. I just tried to take that into this spring, mix my pitches.
"In the big leagues, everybody can hit fastballs, no matter how hard you throw. I'm just trying to use all my pitches the best way I can."
Betances said that he picked up the slurve after being demoted to Double-A Trenton in 2012. Unable to throw his curveball consistently for strikes, Betances received a useful tip from righthander Mikey O'Brien, who is now in the Reds' organization.
O'Brien suggested that Betances tilt his wrist a little bit when throwing the ball, which helped alleviate some nail issues Betances was having with his curve. Betances kept throwing the slurve in the Arizona Fall League after the '12 season and was encouraged.
"I was like, 'Man, this could be a good pitch to throw,' " Betances said. "I was throwing it for strikes and I stuck with it the whole year last year. It's helped me a lot." (Bryan Hoch - 3/10/14)
Dellin got off to a great start in 2014.
"I feel good. Since Spring Training, I've felt good," Betances said. "I put in a lot of work this offseason, cleaned some stuff up in my delivery and I'm working every day on the same routines, just trying to get better. That's my goal, and I'm still learning, but the more and more I get out there, the more comfortable I feel."
"There's a different mentality out of the bullpen," Betances said. "You're only going to face the guys once. As a starter, you face them two or three times. But it's definitely a little different. My mentality out of the bullpen is different. I'm just trying to be aggressive, whereas a starter you kind of have to work your way." (Hoch & Berry - mlb.com - 6/02/14)
Betances blossoming from failed starter into one of the sport's most dominant relievers in 2014, he has said, is the result of help he's received along the way from myriad pitching coaches and gurus in the organization.
But there was help from outside the organization, too, provided by an unlikely source. It came from someone who in the last year has become not only a pitching mentor of Betances' but a close friend as well.
"My first thought when I saw him pitch was I was impressed with his size and how hard he threw," Rays veteran reliever Joel Peralta said over the weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Because of his velocity and his height, I said 'If that guy learns how to pitch, he can be really good.' "
In the offseason Peralta extended an invitation to the pitcher to work out for three weeks in January in Bonao in the Dominican Republic at Fausto "Chiqui" Mejia's baseball academy. Peralta credits Mejia—both are from Bonao and the latter has run his baseball academy there for years—for his conversion from shortstop to pitcher in 1999.
For Betances, who maintains his New Jersey residence during the cold months of the offseason, accepting the invite was a no-brainer.
"I wanted to go down there just to train," he said.
Peralta talked extensively about establishing a plan of attack for every hitter, and a lot of their discussions revolved around the curveball that Betances went about refining with Peralta and Mejia.
"I went into the offseason working on small mechanical drills that helped me," Betances said. "And then I worked on being more consistent with that pitch and those guys helped me down there with that.
Scouts said all season that Betances' knee-freezing curveball, and his ability and confidence to throw it any time, is among the biggest reasons for his ascension to dominance. The darting pitch typically comes in around 84 to 86 mph, proving to be an almost impossible on-the-fly adjustment for batters who have just seen a 98-100-mph fastball.
"I told him, if he can throw the breaking pitch for a strike first pitch, to anybody, lefty or righty, he's going to have the advantage to use all his pitches," Peralta said. "Most of the hitters, they see Betances throwing 99 mph, they're not going to look for that [the curveball]."
The pair's relationship has endured during the season, with the two communicating often via text or phone and Betances visiting Peralta at his Tampa area home each of the last two trips the Yankees have made there. Peralta, who has been with five teams and seen plenty over the last decade, shakes his head at what Betances, who said he plans to head to the Dominican again this offseason, has become.
"He went from good to amazing," Peralta said. "You're not supposed to be that good within your first four years in the big leagues. Well, he's that good. He can be the next Yankee closer. He can be a closer for any team in the bigs with the stuff he has." (August 19, 2014 -
September 17, 2014: Betances broke the Yankees' single-season strikeout mark for relievers, with 135. He broke Mariano Rivera's 1996 record of 130.
Dellin entered a 2-0 loss in the eighth inning at 8:01 p.m. ET and proceeded to throw an immaculate inning against the Tigers. That's three strikeouts on nine pitches—as perfect as a pitcher can be in a single frame.
"Dellin did an outstanding job," manager Joe Girardi said. "I've seen Dellin do things like that before, but it's good to see him throwing the ball so well." (Adler - mlb.com - 8/2/17)
- As of the start of the 2019 season, Betances had a career of 21-22 with a 2.36 ERA, having allowed 26 home runs and 228 hits in 381 innings, and 619 strikeouts with 36 out of 55 saves (65.5%).
- Dellin does only a fair job of holding runners on base
July 2007: Betances went on the D.L. with elbow and forearm tightness caused by tendinitis in the area.
June 2008: Dellin was on the D.L. most of the month with a tired shoulder. He was reinstated to the active list early in July.
Mid-May 2009: Betances was on the D.L. for about a month with elbow pain.
June 25 - end of 2009 season: Dellin went back on the D.L. for the rest of the year. Tommy John surgery was required to reinforce an elbow ligament.
April - June 2010: Betances began the season on the D.L. while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
- April 11-29, 2011: Dellin was on the D.L. with a blister on a finger on his pitching hand.
August 23-October 9, 2012: Betances was on the D.L. with a sore right shoulder.
March 25, 2019: Betances was on the IL with a right shoulder impingement.
April 13, 2019: Betances will be absent from the Yankees' bullpen for at least another six weeks, but considering the team's ongoing injury woes, GM Brian Cashman's announcement almost sounded like good news.
While the Yankees waited out a delay that would result in their eventual 9-6, rain-shortened loss to the White Sox, Cashman said that Betances has been scheduled for a cortisone injection, which will be targeted to a bone spur behind the hurler's right shoulder. According to Cashman, team physician Chris Ahmad has expressed optimism that the treatment will resolve the ongoing issue.
"The only problem with that is it adds more time on the clock,” Cashman said. “He will be down three more weeks, no activity, then we get him going again. Another six to seven weeks until you see him back with the big club after you have rest, rehab, game action and return to play. Good news vs. bad news, it could have been much worse news."
April 13, 2019: Though Betances must wait at least six more weeks before he can rejoin the Yankees' bullpen, he said that he is relieved to have discovered the source of the discomfort in his pitching shoulder, and believes that the issue will be corrected.
Betances had a cortisone injection, targeting a bone spur behind his right shoulder. Team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad has assured the 31-year-old that he should not require surgery.
"I've had it since 2006, and Dr. Ahmad told me that with this shot, I could pitch the rest of my career and not feel it again," Betances said. "Obviously, that's a relief, and I can't wait to get back. I believe everything's going to be right and will just take this time to get ready and not rush things."
May 9: 2019: Betances was transferred to the 60-day IL.