Thursday, January 12, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #1 Manny Banuelos

Manny Banuelos, LHP, AA/AAA

Manny Banuelos' season was very similar to that of Dellin Betances.  The biggest difference between the two was that Betances made his major league debut and Banuelos did not.  In 2011 Banuelos made 20 starts at Trenton (AA) and went 4-5 with a 3.59 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 52 walks in 95.1 innings.  He was named at Mid-Season All-Star at this level.  He was then called up to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA) for the end of the season.  There in 7 starts he went 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 19 in 34.1 innings.  He also had one complete game shutout.  He was named a MiLB.com organization All-Star.    

Banuelos was signed out of the Mexico in 2008 at age 17.  In terms of stature he is the opposite of Betances, he is 5'11" and 155 LBs.  And also unlike Betances, Banuelos has yet to really struggle in the minors.  2011 was the first season that he had a yearlong ERA above 3.00.  In 2010, his first full year as a starter, he went from the GCL, to the Tampa (HiA), to Trenton (AA).  Although he went 0-4 he recorded a very good 2.51 ERA in 20 starts and 64.2 innings.  This season had him ranked as the #35 overall prospect by MLB.com.

Going forward Banuelos has a very bright future.  Him, like Betances, has control issues.  He has had them in the past but will hopefully quell them going forward.  Even with this it looks like he will have a very solid career.  Shaeffer Hall agreed in his interview.  Banuelos and Betances have very similar career paths and this looks to continue going forward.  The one main advantage that Banuelos has is that he is left handed.  This is one of the big reasons why he is rated higher on this list.  Both have control issues and both have also been dominant.  Therefore, either could have an impact in the majors the season, especially with an injury in the rotation.  However, I see both of them getting a September call up after spending most of this upcoming season at AAA.  They should then both be ready for the 2013 rotation as long as there are spots available for them, which could be the biggest hindrance in their upward mobility.  With free agents like Zach Grienke and Matt Cain available after next season, the Yankees may choose to go that route which could take a rotation spot that one of these, then rookies, could have.  This could then make them very attractive trade bait.  Then again they may have amazing season at AAA and make it impossible for the Yankees to not give them a shot.  I hope that this is the case, as they would be cheap, young talent.    

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