Scouting Yankees Prospect #4: Manny Banuelos

The Yankees signed left-handed pitcher Manny Banuelos out of Mexico back in February of 2008. He appeared to have turned a corner in getting his superior control back earlier in the 2012 season but then fell victim to an elbow injury that ultimately required Tommy John surgery after the season.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Manny Banuelos
Position: Pitcher
DOB: March 13, 1991
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Even in just six starts last year it was a bit of a roller coaster for the talented southpaw. He had struggled with a nagging back injury right out of the gate and that led to six earned runs and seven walks in his first five innings with Triple-A Scranton.

He took nearly a month off and rehabbed the injury, and when he came back in early May he began to start resembling the high upside pitcher many believe he's capable of being, posting a 0.61 ERA with no walks over his next three starts before experiencing some pain his elbow.

"When I started the season, during those first two starts, I did pretty bad," Banuelos admitted. "I was working on my mechanics and kept walking guys. I hurt my back after those two starts and then rehabbed for a month.

"When I came back and made three starts, I felt much better. My arm felt great, I didn't walk guys, I threw hard and my pitches were great, but then my elbow started to hurt. After that I made one more start and then I was done.

"That was bad. I was real hurt and I tried to pitch like that. Years before I would have some pain in my elbow but I'd keep doing some arm exercises and keep pitching, and I'd be good, but this time it was real pain and I couldn't throw the ball anymore. I felt bad because I thought it was my year for getting to the big leagues."

He made what would ultimately be his last start of the season on May 18th and tried to rehab the injury, but then succumbed to Tommy John surgery in the first week of October.

"There were a lot of months waiting on that decision but I understand why the Yankees waited, they thought I might not need surgery and me too," he said. "I worked hard, did my rehab, but then the doctor finally said that I needed the surgery. It was a long time though for me, waiting a lot of months."

He has since already begun his rehab program and started throwing on flat ground in the last week of January, which would put him on schedule to be back up on a mound doing bullpens sometimes around late May or June if there are no setbacks.

"I feel very strong," he said. "The rehab is going good and I feel good. Right now it feels a little bit weird because I've had a long time without throwing but my arm feels so strong and I don't feel any pain. I'm excited to be throwing now."

Looking to put his injury behind him, Banuelos is confident that the three-game stretch he had where he didn't walk any batters last year is the kind of pitcher he is ultimately going to be once he returns to the mound again.

"I really believe that," he said confidently. "I feel like after I'm done with whatever I have to do with my rehab that I'm going to be the same or even better than that.

"When I went down with the back injury my mind was so clean, I was able to reset my mind. I felt so comfortable when I came back and my body felt so strong.

"Everything was great, my mechanics, my confidence was really high. If I didn't hurt my elbow I could have been in the big leagues last year."

He feels like he had turned a corner in between coming back from his back injury and then hurting his elbow, and he emphatically believes he can be that dominant pitcher once again.

"Hell yeah," he concluded.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2012

Scranton

0-2

0

24.0

29

10

22

4.50

2011

Scranton

2-2

0

34.1

36

19

31

4.19

2011

Trenton

4-5

0

95.1

94

52

94

3.59

2010

Trenton

0-1

0

15.1

15

8

17

3.52

2010

Tampa

0-3

0

44.1

38

14

62

2.23

2009

Tampa

0-0

0

1.0

0

0

2

0.00

2009

Charleston

9-5

0

108.0

88

28

104

2.67

2008

GCL Yankees

4-1

0

42.0

32

13

37

2.57



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Banuelos is the poster child for player development. Once a superb fastball command pitcher of a 90-92 mph fastball, he saw his velocity tick all the way up to the 91-95 mph range and topping out at 97 mph, but the great command had evaded him. Inconsistent with his fastball command over the past two years, he seemed to turn a corner with that back to his plus command days in 2012. When he's painting the back like he does with the velocity and natural tailing action his fastball has, it's a plus-plus big league pitch.

Other Pitches. He has two plus secondary pitches on any given day too, but his curveball is the least consistent pitch of the pair. Armed with a great 11 to 5 curveball, it can be a devastating strikeout pitch when he's commanding it in the zone but there are days where he can't locate it at will. His changeup, however, is always there for him as a plus big league pitch and, like his fastball and curveball, is a huge strikeout pitch. It's his main go-to pitch.

Pitching. When his mechanics are right and when he's on his game, he goes right after batters with three plus pitches and knows how to keep them off-balance. There have been times, however, where the curveball location isn't there and neither is his fastball command, and that can leave him rather gun shy around the plate and force him to nibble the corners. A high makeup guy though, one who has really gone out of his way to learn English, his confidence overall is never really shaken and when he gets on a roll he is pretty unstoppable because he has the innate pitch-ability of a seasoned big league veteran.

Projection. Armed with three plus big league pitches, he is a true 'ace' pitcher when he's commanding all three and going right after batters. It's true that there have been times where he has walked far too many batters but that's more about a young man trying to harness his power stuff -- that's not who he truly is the mound, as evidenced by long stretches of not walking any batters at all. Even if he doesn't reach his ceiling as a Johan Santana type in his prime, he's simply way too good to not at least fit into the middle of a big league starting rotation at minimum.

ETA. 2014. Even though there's a chance he could get back in game situations at the end of the 2013 season, the smart money says the Yankees will be cautious with him and he'll miss the entire season. If he comes back next year though as the pitcher he can be, he won't be in the minor leagues for long.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Manny Banuelos
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: March 13, 1991
\r\nHeight: 5'11\"
\r\nWeight: 180
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Left
\r\n
\r\nEven in just six starts last year it was a bit of a roller coaster for the talented southpaw. He had struggled with a nagging back injury right out of the gate and that led to six earned runs and seven walks in his first five innings with Triple-A Scranton.
\r\n
\r\nHe took nearly a month off and rehabbed the injury, and when he came back in early May he began to start resembling the high upside pitcher many believe he's capable of being, posting a 0.61 ERA with no walks over his next three starts before experiencing some pain his elbow.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I started the season, during those first two starts, I did pretty bad,\" Banuelos admitted. \"I was working on my mechanics and kept walking guys. I hurt my back after those two starts and then rehabbed for a month.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I came back and made three starts, I felt much better. My arm felt great, I didn't walk guys, I threw hard and my pitches were great, but then my elbow started to hurt. After that I made one more start and then I was done.
\r\n
\r\n\"That was bad. I was real hurt and I tried to pitch like that. Years before I would have some pain in my elbow but I'd keep doing some arm exercises and keep pitching, and I'd be good, but this time it was real pain and I couldn't throw the ball anymore. I felt bad because I thought it was my year for getting to the big leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe made what would ultimately be his last start of the season on May 18th and tried to rehab the injury, but then succumbed to Tommy John surgery in the first week of October.
\r\n
\r\n\"There were a lot of months waiting on that decision but I understand why the Yankees waited, they thought I might not need surgery and me too,\" he said. \"I worked hard, did my rehab, but then the doctor finally said that I needed the surgery. It was a long time though for me, waiting a lot of months.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe has since already begun his rehab program and started throwing on flat ground in the last week of January, which would put him on schedule to be back up on a mound doing bullpens sometimes around late May or June if there are no setbacks.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel very strong,\" he said. \"The rehab is going good and I feel good. Right now it feels a little bit weird because I've had a long time without throwing but my arm feels so strong and I don't feel any pain. I'm excited to be throwing now.\"
\r\n
\r\nLooking to put his injury behind him, Banuelos is confident that the three-game stretch he had where he didn't walk any batters last year is the kind of pitcher he is ultimately going to be once he returns to the mound again.
\r\n
\r\n\"I really believe that,\" he said confidently. \"I feel like after I'm done with whatever I have to do with my rehab that I'm going to be the same or even better than that.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I went down with the back injury my mind was so clean, I was able to reset my mind. I felt so comfortable when I came back and my body felt so strong.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everything was great, my mechanics, my confidence was really high. If I didn't hurt my elbow I could have been in the big leagues last year.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe feels like he had turned a corner in between coming back from his back injury and then hurting his elbow, and he emphatically believes he can be that dominant pitcher once again.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hell yeah,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2012

\r\n

\r\n Scranton

\r\n

\r\n 0-2

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 24.0

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 22

\r\n

\r\n 4.50

\r\n

\r\n 2011

\r\n

\r\n Scranton

\r\n

\r\n 2-2

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 34.1

\r\n

\r\n 36

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n 31

\r\n

\r\n 4.19

\r\n

\r\n 2011

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n 4-5

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 95.1

\r\n

\r\n 94

\r\n

\r\n 52

\r\n

\r\n 94

\r\n

\r\n 3.59

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 15.1

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 3.52

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 0-3

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 44.1

\r\n

\r\n 38

\r\n

\r\n 14

\r\n

\r\n 62

\r\n

\r\n 2.23

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 0-0

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 1.0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 0.00

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n 9-5

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 108.0

\r\n

\r\n 88

\r\n

\r\n 28

\r\n

\r\n 104

\r\n

\r\n 2.67

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n GCL Yankees

\r\n

\r\n 4-1

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 42.0

\r\n

\r\n 32

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 37

\r\n

\r\n 2.57


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Banuelos is the poster child for player development. Once a superb fastball command pitcher of a 90-92 mph fastball, he saw his velocity tick all the way up to the 91-95 mph range and topping out at 97 mph, but the great command had evaded him. Inconsistent with his fastball command over the past two years, he seemed to turn a corner with that back to his plus command days in 2012. When he's painting the back like he does with the velocity and natural tailing action his fastball has, it's a plus-plus big league pitch.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. He has two plus secondary pitches on any given day too, but his curveball is the least consistent pitch of the pair. Armed with a great 11 to 5 curveball, it can be a devastating strikeout pitch when he's commanding it in the zone but there are days where he can't locate it at will. His changeup, however, is always there for him as a plus big league pitch and, like his fastball and curveball, is a huge strikeout pitch. It's his main go-to pitch.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. When his mechanics are right and when he's on his game, he goes right after batters with three plus pitches and knows how to keep them off-balance. There have been times, however, where the curveball location isn't there and neither is his fastball command, and that can leave him rather gun shy around the plate and force him to nibble the corners. A high makeup guy though, one who has really gone out of his way to learn English, his confidence overall is never really shaken and when he gets on a roll he is pretty unstoppable because he has the innate pitch-ability of a seasoned big league veteran.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Armed with three plus big league pitches, he is a true 'ace' pitcher when he's commanding all three and going right after batters. It's true that there have been times where he has walked far too many batters but that's more about a young man trying to harness his power stuff -- that's not who he truly is the mound, as evidenced by long stretches of not walking any batters at all. Even if he doesn't reach his ceiling as a Johan Santana type in his prime, he's simply way too good to not at least fit into the middle of a big league starting rotation at minimum.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2014. Even though there's a chance he could get back in game situations at the end of the 2013 season, the smart money says the Yankees will be cautious with him and he'll miss the entire season. If he comes back next year though as the pitcher he can be, he won't be in the minor leagues for long.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

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