Banuelos Trying to Control Added Power

There have been two big developments since Manny Banuelos has returned from his appendectomy - he's been pitching behind in the count a bit more often and he's also throwing harder. Banuelos says he's getting close to learning to command the higher heat, however, and he believes once that happens that he'll be even better than he has been in his career.

Manny Banuelos missed essentially the first three months of the season after receiving an emergency appendectomy right at the end of Spring Training.

"I think the injury has affected my control a little bit," Banuelos said prior to Thursday night's start. "Not only is my strength back, but I think I've gotten even stronger. Really, the only thing the injury has affected has been my control."

Normally a pitcher who sat around 90-91 mph for the most part in his career, Banuelos has seen a large spike in velocity since returning from the injury.

"Right now I'm touching 95 and before [the injury] I was touching 91-92 mph. I'm really excited about it. I feel a lot more confident and I feel better throwing my other pitches too."

"The velocity, we're not talking a little harder, we're talking a lot harder, we're talking 4-5 mph harder to where he's 95 mph now," Tampa manager Torre Tyson added. "Last year we saw 90 mph but he had a lot better command of that fastball."

His walks are up a bit in 2010. After walking just 2.3 batters per nine innings in Charleston last year, Banuelos has seen that rise up one full batter this season to 3.3 batters per nine innings.

More than the increased walks, however, has been his propensity to pitch behind in the count a lot more this season.

"On the flip side though, what do you want? What do you prefer? The power isn't something you can really teach and so it's good to see that power arm," Tyson added. "I think he's just got to learn to pitch with that power arm now. He's just so young and he picks things up quickly."

What's ironic though is his other pitches, his curveball and changeup, haven't been affected at all control-wise.

"Compared to last year, I'm controlling my curveball a lot better this year and the rotation of the curveball is better this year," Banuelos opined. "It's a lot better than last year, actually."

The same goes for his changeup.

"It's my favorite secondary pitch because people expect me to throw the fastball and I throw the changeup. It feels really good."

Excited about seeing a significant uptick in all three of his pitches, Banuelos knows he has to get back to what made him a top pitching prospect at such a young age - stellar fastball command.

"The fastball is the most important thing for me right now," he continued. "I have the speed now but I can't control it in the strike zone like I used to, like I did last year, and I want to control that so I can get better.

"That's my main goal right now. My other pitches are great right now, but with better fastball command, it'll be perfect."

And that's truly the scary part with Banuelos. Owning a 1.64 ERA, limiting opposing batters to a .218 batting average, and striking out better than 13 batters per nine innings in Tampa already, what will happen once he gets the control of his harder fastball?

"If I get the control, the other team has no chance pretty much because if I can control my pitches and I'm 100 percent, I'm going to be dealing," he concluded.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nManny Banuelos missed essentially the first three months of the season after receiving an emergency appendectomy right at the end of Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the injury has affected my control a little bit,\" Banuelos said prior to Thursday night's start. \"Not only is my strength back, but I think I've gotten even stronger. Really, the only thing the injury has affected has been my control.\"
\r\n
\r\nNormally a pitcher who sat around 90-91 mph for the most part in his career, Banuelos has seen a large spike in velocity since returning from the injury.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now I'm touching 95 and before [the injury] I was touching 91-92 mph. I'm really excited about it. I feel a lot more confident and I feel better throwing my other pitches too.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"The velocity, we're not talking a little harder, we're talking a lot harder, we're talking 4-5 mph harder to where he's 95 mph now,\" Tampa manager Torre Tyson added. \"Last year we saw 90 mph but he had a lot better command of that fastball.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis walks are up a bit in 2010. After walking just 2.3 batters per nine innings in Charleston last year, Banuelos has seen that rise up one full batter this season to 3.3 batters per nine innings.
\r\n
\r\nMore than the increased walks, however, has been his propensity to pitch behind in the count a lot more this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"On the flip side though, what do you want? What do you prefer? The power isn't something you can really teach and so it's good to see that power arm,\" Tyson added. \"I think he's just got to learn to pitch with that power arm now. He's just so young and he picks things up quickly.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhat's ironic though is his other pitches, his curveball and changeup, haven't been affected at all control-wise.
\r\n
\r\n\"Compared to last year, I'm controlling my curveball a lot better this year and the rotation of the curveball is better this year,\" Banuelos opined. \"It's a lot better than last year, actually.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe same goes for his changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's my favorite secondary pitch because people expect me to throw the fastball and I throw the changeup. It feels really good.\"
\r\n
\r\nExcited about seeing a significant uptick in all three of his pitches, Banuelos knows he has to get back to what made him a top pitching prospect at such a young age - stellar fastball command.
\r\n
\r\n\"The fastball is the most important thing for me right now,\" he continued. \"I have the speed now but I can't control it in the strike zone like I used to, like I did last year, and I want to control that so I can get better.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's my main goal right now. My other pitches are great right now, but with better fastball command, it'll be perfect.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd that's truly the scary part with Banuelos. Owning a 1.64 ERA, limiting opposing batters to a .218 batting average, and striking out better than 13 batters per nine innings in Tampa already, what will happen once he gets the control of his harder fastball?
\r\n
\r\n\"If I get the control, the other team has no chance pretty much because if I can control my pitches and I'm 100 percent, I'm going to be dealing,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

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