With a multitude of great performances that deserved to be mentioned, NoMaas.org presents to you a special extended edition of MLPW.

Minor League Players of the Week:

Pitcher:
Dellin Betances, 22, RHP, A+
11 IP, 14 K, 2 BB, 3 H, 0 ER

The 6’8” Brooklynite is back. After losing the latter part of last season and the beginning of this one to Ligament Reinforcement Surgery (not TJS), Betances wasted no time is reviving his prospect stock sitting in the mid 90′s with his heat (touching 98), and backing it up with a low-to-mid-80s hook. It’s good to see his stuff return to form so quickly after elbow surgery, and people around baseball are starting to notice.

Control is always a concern for tall pitchers, who have to coordinate longer arms and legs than the average hurler, and Dellin is no exception. It’s encouraging then for Dellin to display great command over two starts last week, not to mention his first two starts of the season (12 IP, 1BB). It’s worth noting that he showed improvement in this area way back at the end of his 2008 campaign in Charleston (2.83 BB/9 in July/August of ’08) and it was hoped this would carry over into the ‘09 season. That season ended in injury for Dellin after only 44.1 walk-plagued innings (5.48 BB/9). Luckily for us, Betances seems to have recaptured some of his 2008 2nd-half magic this season at Tampa (1.17 BB/9, 9.0 K/BB).

Make no mistake about it: if everything comes together for Dellin Betances, he is a #1 starter given his overwhelming stuff. In his interview with Mike Ashmore, Mark Newman indicates that Betances will finish the season in Tampa, obviously taking a conservative approach with a recently injured player. However, if Dellin keeps dominating the Florida State League like he has so far, I would think it hard for Yankees’ brass to keep him there. It only took 60 odd innings from Brackman to prove that he was ready for the next level. Maybe in a month the Yankees will think the same thing about Dellin.

Position Player:
Brandon Laird, 22, RHB 3B, AA
.364/.462/.909 in 26 PAs

There was some stiff competition this week, but it’s tough to argue with a guy who had eight hits in the week, with three doubles and three home runs. Laird increased his baseball lead in RBIs (both Minor Leagues and Majors) to 77, after posting twelve in the past six games. I said back in MLPW #7 that Laird would “probably” challenge his career home run record, and now that seems inevitable, as he sits four dingers away with roughly half the season left.

In the aforementioned interview by Ashmore, Newman also touches on Laird, mentioning that the Yankees will try and lend him some defensive flexibility by working him at different positions, likely starting in the offseason. Corner outfield spots seem to be the most probable destination for Laird, as he possesses a great arm and enough athleticism to play serviceably out there. Learning a new position is the only way for Laird to provide value to the Yankees (outside of a trade) as there are 455M dollars tied up in his primary defensive positions (1B and 3B). Laird’s bat should be good enough to get him a cup of coffee in the big leagues.

Honorable Mentions:

Starting Pitchers:
Hector Noesi, 23, RHP, AA
7 IP, 10 K, 3 BB, 4H, 2 ER
Starting to run away with Pitcher of the Year.

Ivan Nova, 23, RHP, AAA
13 IP, 11 K, 5 BB, 11H, 1 ER
Finally living up to the scouting report.

David Phelps, 23, RHP, AA
6 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 6H, 0 ER
The Trenton staff is scary good.

Graham Stoneburner, 22, RHP, A+
6 IP, 4 K, 0 BB, 2H, 0 ER
Zero earned runs in June. Zero.

Cumulative line: 32 IP, 0.84 ERA, 9.00 K/9, 2.81 BB/9, 1.03 WHIP

Relief Pitchers:
Jonathan Albaladejo, 27, RHP, AAA
4.2 IP, 4 K, 1 BB, 5H, 1 ER
Switched to a 4-seam/curve combo and the results have been phenomenal (11.6 K/9).

Mark Melancon, 25, RHP, AAA
5 IP, 6 K, 3 BB, 2H, 0 ER
He’s got to be a better option than Boone Logan.

Tim Norton, 27, RHP, AA
3 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, 2H, 1 ER
Don’t let the age fool you; his stuff is legit.

Jonathan Ortiz, 24, RHP, A+
4.1 IP, 4 K, 0 BB, 3H, 1 ER
Nothing left to prove at A+ (‘08/’09: 10.9 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 6.25 K/BB).

Pat Venditte, 25, SHP, A+
4.2 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 2H, 0 ER
Everybody favorite (and only) switch pitcher continues to wreck the FSL.

Cumulative line: 21.2 IP, 1.25 ERA, 9.14 K/9, 2.65 BB/9, 0.92 WHIP

Position Players:
Corban Joseph, 21, LHB 2B, A+
.379/.438/.586 in 32 PAs
Twenty one years old and rocking a .826 OPS in A+? Pretty damn good.

Jesus Montero, 20, RHB C, AAA
.346/.393/.654 in 28 PAs
The breakout continues.

Austin Romine, 21, RHB C, AA
.348/.444/.565 in 28 PAs
Picking it back up after a little bit of a slump.

Gary Sanchez, 17, RHB C, Rookie
.350/.381/.750 in 21 PAs
Two home runs already in his young career.

Cumulative line: .357/.433/.632 in 108 PAs