Mar
06

Major League ManBan?

By

I wonder if Manny Banuelos will be in pinstripes before a September call-up.

Also winner of the 'Best Photo Day Picture' contest without question. (Getty Images/Al Bello)

Calm down, I’m not saying it’s a good idea. But I also don’t think it’s impossible. Let’s review what we know and see how likely it is.

First: he’s rocked Spring Training with five strikeouts (including Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge looking) and a walk in 3 IP. He went from scraping prospect lists (in 2010, he was 96 on Keith Law’s and didn’t show up on Baseball America) to being in the top 20. Michael Kay and John Sterling are singing his praises in between being in awe of Ryan Pope’s college (Savannah College of Art and Design) and confusing Brandon Laird with his brother, Gerald. Keith Law thinks he could pitch in the majors now. Frankie Piliere loves his three plus pitches. He’ll be only 20 next week. Life is good.

We also know he’s not going to break camp in the Bronx. He’s been penned to start with the Trenton Thunder, which is exactly where he belongs. He has a whopping 15 IP above A-ball and last year threw only 65 IP due to an appendectomy in the beginning of the season. It was an impressive 65 IP with a 2.58 ERA and an 11.8 k/9, but a small sample nonetheless. Though we’ve yet to see how well he can perform over a full season facing batters above A-level, it’s obvious that Banuelos has something going. The peripherals are there.

Make no mistake, it’s not a good idea to have ManBan pitching August games in the Bronx. If Banuelos is putting on pinstripes, the fifth starter problem hasn’t been solved. Someone is probably injured. The AAA kids aren’t doing well enough to get the call themselves. If Banuelos blows through a few months of AA, puts on his Scranton Yankee outfit and absolutely dominates, I think he’s just as likely to be promoted. Is there a chance that he is chosen to pick up that fifth starter spot over some of the older kids? I think so, especially if the numbers are there. If Warren, Noesi and Phelps are struggling (or simply not as good), it doesn’t seem sensible to use them over a surging Banuelos.

It’s also not unfeasible to bring Banuelos up straight from AA, which is the more likely possibility than a short stint in Scranton. Taking a pitcher straight from AA and plopping him into a major league rotation might seem like a big jump, but it’s been done before with plenty of success: CC Sabathia, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, and Cole Hamels all never sniffed AAA before they played with a big club. Rick Porcello played only one year in High A before the Tigers stuck him in their rotation to post a 3.96 ERA the next year. Interestingly enough, Mark Prior threw only 90 innings of minor league ball (though this included seven AAA games) before he was called up by none other than Larry Rothschild.

If Banuelos comes up for an extended period of time – perhaps filling in for a June injury and a Mitre failure to perform – the Yankees would have to put him on a pretty strict innings limit. The most innings Banuelos has ever thrown was 109 back in 2009. We know enough about Joba’s rules that I don’t have to get into it, and Hughes was skipped several times in 2010 but still threw almost 80 more innings than his previous year. We all watched Hughes’ second half taper off as he climbed over that limit, and the last thing we want is to watch Banuelos have several brilliant starts and hit a wall. If all of ManBan’s starts go six innings, that’s just about eleven starts before he’s pitching over his 2010 IP. Hopefully, he’s not needed for that long.

While I don’t think it’s the best idea to put Banuelos in pinstripes this year, I can certainly see it happening. It wouldn’t be too bad, either, as long as the Yankees are careful with his innings and don’t throw him to the wolves the way the Tigers did to Jeremy Bonderman the year they lost 119 games. I think we’re safe from a losing season of that caliber, but the fact is that Banuelos’ arm seems pretty damn nice and it shouldn’t be thrown about willy-nilly. From what it’s worth, I think the Yankees can figure out how to turn him from prospect to number-one starter and I am personally super excited to see him in the rotation. While I don’t think he’s definitely going to show up this year, I wouldn’t put it past the Yankees to bypass Warren or Noesi and see what Banuelos can do.

Categories : Pitching

54 Comments»

  1. Dela G says:

    That would be awesome if he could make it to the show mid-summer

  2. Ryan says:

    the hughes 80 innings jump is irrelevant. it doesnt matter what they threw the year before its their highest total regardless of when it came

    • That also oversimplifies the matter. There’s no magic jumping off point. It’s all about how the individual can handle the workload. I’m not sure Hughes throwing 146 minor league innings in 2006 has much to do with his stamina now.

  3. JGS says:

    For another unconventional minor league arc, Tim Lincecum signed with the Giants at 22 and got 31.2 dominating innings in at A- and A+ the year he was drafted. The next year, he skipped AA and allowed one run in five AAA starts before the Giants called him up. He pitched 62.2 total minor league innings.

  4. JGS says:

    Also, another guy who skipped AAA (and is thus a better example than Lincecum)–Justin Verlander. And he only made seven starts in AA. He was a college pitcher though.

  5. Brian says:

    why is Scott Walker’s ugly mug advertising on RAB?

  6. Brian says:

    i doubt we see ManBan before 2012
    even if our rotation is in shambles, Cashman will sign as many Sidney Ponson types as he can to plug the gaps before calling up 19 year olds

    • 28 this year says:

      Two things:

      First, Cashman signs “Ponson” types, i.e. Garcia and Colon in order to create depth. If Garcia or Colon is in the rotation, you have Warren, Phelps, and Noesi waiting in the wings. If you have them in the rotation, you have no one waiting in the wings. You forget 2008 so quickly, that year we had two rookies in the rotation and when they did poorly, there was little remaining depth. This year, should Garcia or Colon fail, we have options.

      Second, you act like saying waiting til 2012 is a bad thing. Until this year, most people have never even heard of ManBan. That is because he is and was very young and far away. He had all of 64 innings last year that truly made him a prospect and you want to throw him into the majors. God, let the burrito cook a little, it is better hot than lukewarm.

      • nsalem says:

        It’s unfair to call Freddie Garcia a “Sidney Ponson” type. Ponson has been pretty awful since 2004 since showing early promise. Garcia has been hurt for 3 years but when he has been healthy he has been more around average. That is several levels above Ponsonhood. I think Freddie may be a pleasant surprise.

        • 28 this year says:

          You’re right about Garcia being better than Ponson. Based on the tone Brian used, I think he equated the two so I just went with it to prove my point. You’re right though, Garcia had considerable success last year and being a Yankee fan, it is in my best interest that Garcia does well.

      • Brian says:

        i didn’t say i wanted to see ManBan this year
        I’d rather he stay in the minors until he can legally drink, that way he is fully developed

  7. ZZ says:

    If Manny didn’t have an appendectomy last year, he would be the Yankees 5th starter right now.

  8. Ryan says:

    Yeah I don’t think we’ll see ManBan before 2012, even if he absolutely tears up AA. Unless a Steinbrenner speaks up, Cashman sounds absolutely against the idea of the one of the young B’s making the MLB. Plus I highly doubt we’ll be in that much chaos in the minors that we turn to the 19 year old kid.

    • Reggie C. says:

      +1.

      This post nails Cashman’s approach, which from the interviews definitely has him impressed but cautious. Banuelos will be getting re-assigned to AA camp soon enough and he’ll drop back under the radar as Nova and Colon and Garcia pitch out the spring.

      Brackman shouldn’t feel left out of the praising. In a matter of days, Brackman takes the mound and the write-ups will begin.

      • Ryan says:

        Yeah, I doubt Brackman will make it either. He’ll be great but based on his injury history, I want to see consistency in health before we make him a part of the rotation. Knowing how the NY media and (majority) fan base that can love and hate people at a moment’s notice.. I don’t want him to come up until he’s ready, stuff & healthwise. All 3 of the killer B’s will be here sooner than later, hopefully all of them will stay with us too.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I don’t think TJS really qualifies as an injury history. A bunch of pitchers have had it and recovered fine. No one talks about Josh Johnson as injury prone because he had TJS, for example.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      “Cashman sounds absolutely against the idea of the one of the young B’s making the MLB.”

      He’s said Brackman has a chance to break camp with the club. Things have probably gone wrong for him if Brackman doesn’t appear in MLB this season.

      Cashman only said that Banuelos and Betances are not candidates to break camp with the big club. He didn’t say that mid-season or in September one or both could make some starts or relief appearances.

  9. GotJesus? says:

    Don’t forget about his 25 innings in the AFL. Those count just as much.

  10. Kevin says:

    It’s 100% possible he will be on the big club this year. If he pitches well enough. At some point dominating minor league hitters offers nothing to a young pitcher. You don’t learn and get better by dominating lesser players. Im not advocating him pitching in the Bronx, but Im also not advocating he not. In my opinion he should have to absolutely force it. Pitch so well in the minors that there is really no other option than to bring him up.

    • The Three Amigos says:

      I think we would all love to see him pitch in the Bronx this year in an ideal world. However, it is highly unlikely based on his previous innings work. He will probably max out at 130/140 this year. Meaning next year will be just as difficult with skipping starts etc.

      This is not 6’5 220 Phil Hughes or Joba. This is 5’10 160 ManBan. Completely different beast.

  11. nsalem says:

    Jesus and The Man T-Shirts

  12. Jimmy McNulty says:

    The AAA rotation’s going to be pretty good. We’ll likely see Brackman, Warren, DJ Mitchell, Noesi, and Phelps. I’d assume one of those guys will be at the big club (FWIW, my money’s on DJ Mitchell as a reliever) or one of them traded. Then they’ll likely call up the AA guys. Banuelos, Betances, and Stonebrunner.

  13. It'sATarp says:

    Who get called up first? Betance or Manban? Personally i see Betance getting called up for the pen before ManBan

    • fire levine says:

      I see banuelos up first. Manban is in the minors to refine his secondary pitches and build arm strentgh. Betances still has to work on his delivery (control), command, AND build arm strentgh

  14. Sabermetrically Challenged says:

    Will somebody please explain to me how Sidney ponson was ever awarded a job for pitching in the major leagues?

  15. nsalem says:

    Gooden was brought up straight from A-Ball at 20 (I think),but that was after 2 seasons and 50 starts. If Manny masters a level after 8 or 10 starts he will be brought up one step at a time. I think it would be a great story if it happens but I really would not count on it.

  16. JD says:

    Why are we fixated on this guy. He is a good prospect but he had a plus 3 ERA in AA last year and a 3.60 ERA in Arizona Fall League. Come on already, lets talk about something else.

  17. JD says:

    I am glad he has had two good Spring outings for a few innings. But, this is a little over the top. Do you think the AFL is more of a hitters league than the MLB? The point that he has had just 40 innings above A ball is exactly the point I am making. He needs to show that he can dominate AAA before he is worthy of this much ink. We should be happy to see him in 12.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      LeBron was on ESPN in high school… Banuelos’ future looks bright and i don’t really see why you’re complaining that people are talking about him.

  18. Bill says:

    Its possible, but both Manny and Betances will be on pretty strict innings limits, so those limits are probably going to prevent them from getting a shot at the big league rotation this year.

    I think more likely we’ll see Brackman, Warren, Phelps, Noesi, Mitchell. Also Cashman is likely to trade for someone this summer.

    I think some crazy things would have to happen for Manny or Betances to be in the rotation this year. Either could be a late season bullpen arm. A September callup for both is a high probability.

  19. bpdelia says:

    im VERY conservative about prospects but its pretty clear that as far as stuff control,command and pitchability banuelos is one of the five best sps on the fortyman roster.im also not a believer in the idea that a guy can be permanently ruined or his confidence destroyed by bringing him along quickly z(show me one example of that actually being true on a site like this i don’t like seeing myths tossed about like fact. demonstrate one guy who was ruined by being rushed and failing.)lots of great pitchers have skipped levels,lots have made their debut young. the only thing to consider is whether or not his 140 ip are more beneficial to the team in the ml or the milb.id have zero problem with 80 or so of those innings coming at the ml level preferably a call up and spot start here or there.you dont want to hurt a guys arm but WHERE he pitches his innings is irrelevant in the scheme of things.if you are the kind of person who can be destroyed by failing you will never make it anyway and all the reoprts on his makeup imply that banuelos is not that kind of kid.

  20. “First: he’s rocked Spring Training with five strikeouts (including Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge looking) and a walk in 3 IP.”

    He’s rocked… 3 IP… In Spring Training. Let’s keep things in perspective here. (Not so much a response to the post as to some of the overly-excited comments in this thread.)

    “Interestingly enough, Mark Prior threw only 90 innings of minor league ball (though this included seven AAA games) before he was called up by none other than Larry Rothschild.”

    Mark Prior threw 50 innings before his initial call-up, not 90. He has thrown 89.1 MiLB innings in his entire career. And he wasn’t called up by Larry Rothschild.

    • Chip says:

      Mark Prior also went to this place called college where he faced a lot of advanced hitters and built up arm strength

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