DOB: September 8, 1984
College: St. John's University
This past week, something happened that was a long time coming: Robert Delaney was promoted from Low-A Beloit, to High-A Fort Myers. To people outside the organization, this may just seem like another Minor League transaction, but for people who follow the Twins minor leaguers, this was much more than that. Delaney had been the class of the Beloit bullpen all season long, and will now try his hand at the next level.
Undrafted out of St. John's, Delaney burst onto the scene as a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins in 2006. He worked 17 games out of the bullpen for the GCL Twins, and had a modest 4.64 earned run average. Sure, those numbers do not jump off the page, but it set the stage for one of the better seasons of any Twins prospect in 2007.
In total, Delaney worked 33.0 innings for the GCL Twins, notched two saves, and struck out 27. Delaney also got a shot at the High-A level last season, appearing in three games for the Miracle out of their bullpen. He did not fare well, however, posting an earned run average over 5.00.
This past Spring Training, Delaney learned that he was ticketed for Low-A Beloit. As a 22-year old, he may have seemed older for the Midwest League, but that did not deter him from having a breakout season. As we pass the midpoint of the season, Delaney has established himself as one of the better relief prospects in the Twins organization.
"Delaney is the kind of pitcher who goes after hitters," said Jim Rantz.
This season, Delaney was a key member of a Beloit Snappers team that won the first half title. Guiding the team to a 44-26 record, Delaney cemented his first half by being named Twins Minor League Player of the Week once, and also garnered a Midwest League All-Star Game nod.
For the season, Delaney appeared in 36 games for the Snappers, and posted a mind-boggling 0.77 earned run average. In 46.2 innings of work, Delaney held the opposition to a .152 batting average, and struck out 52. Also, he allowed only one home run along the way, and picked up one victory.
Amazingly, Delaney came out of nowhere to set the Beloit Snappers single season save record, notching 28 saves, and did it in just over half a season.
Now a member of the Fort Myers Miracle, Delaney has proved that his season in Beloit is no fluke. In his only appearance for the Miracle so far, Delaney pitched a scoreless inning, walking one.
His arsenal is not something that is going to blow away hitters, but he uses all of his pitches well.
"He's not overpowering, but he is deceptive," Rantz said.
Since moving to the closer role, Delaney has added some velocity to his fastball, which sits in the low-90s. He has been able to crank it up to 93 on some occasions. He also has a curveball with some good down movement to it, and has pinpoint accuracy with his heater. He is known for keeping the ball low, which also induces his fair share of groundouts.
Though his career might have started off slowly last season, Delaney has put himself in position to make some noise in the coming seasons. If he continues to produce for Fort Myers, he could be in New Britain in 2008. All told, it could be fairly soon that we see Delaney throwing zeroes in the Metrodome.