Mar
16

The time is not now for Banuelos

By

There is no more optimistic time of the year than Spring Training. The old cliche is that every team is in first place, and the reports of players adding a new pitch or refining their swing mechanics allow the optimistic part of our imagination run wild. Included in that is prospects, who we can watch flash the talent that makes them a prospect in the first place, and then somehow get lumped into the mix for a big league job. Just over two weeks away from the start of the regular season, Manny Banuelos finds himself in that spot.

The little lefty, who turned 20 this past Sunday, made his first start (and fourth appearance) of the Grapefruit League schedule Monday night, holding what figures to be the Red Sox’s Opening Day lineup (sans J.D. Drew) scoreless for 2.2 innings. Banuelos worked out of trouble in both the first and second innings, the latter with the bases loaded and one out. His night came to an end when Kevin Youkilis swung and missed at a 3-2 changeup, a pitch 20-year-olds aren’t supposed to throw. That’s a big league pitch. Overall, Banuelos has thrown 7.2 scoreless innings this spring, striking out ten while walking four and allowing that same number of hits. Sergio Mitre is the only other pitcher on the staff to have thrown at least five innings while allowing no runs.

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

While he certainly looks ready when he’s out on the mound, we have to remember that Banuelos is just a kid, a kid with 15.1 Double-A innings to his credit. If you want to add in the playoffs, it’s 25 Double-A innings. If you want to be really generous and include his time in the Arizona Fall League after the season, then it’s 50 innings against Double-A caliber competition. Either way, it’s not a whole lot, which is why he isn’t/shouldn’t be in the mix for a big league job.

One reason I want to see Banuelos go back to the minors is because I want to see him get his ass handed to him. Struggles are good for development because a) a player learns to deal with failure, and b) the team gets to see how they react. Diamondbacks’ ace Ian Kennedy is a classic example of a pitcher that had to learn about failure in the show. That guy never struggled on a baseball field in his entire life, and all through high school and college and minors he was told he was the bomb and was going to make it. Then he gets to the bigs and finds out that hitters couldn’t care less about how good you were in the minors or how high you were drafted. A solid month of getting hit around by hitters isn’t necessarily bad for Banuelos’ development, but it’s bad for the team if he experiences that for the first time in the majors, in games that actually count. His poise has been universally praised, but I want to see it put to the test.

There’s also the innings issue. Counting the playoffs and AzFL, Banuelos threw just 99.1 IP last summer, a year after throwing 109 IP. He’s probably good for 150 this season, which will carry him through mid-August. If the team gets “creative,” maybe he lasts through September. Either way, we’ve seen Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain wilt down the stretch under career high workloads in the last two years, so let’s not make it three in a row. Plus Banuelos is so young remember, he’s still developing physically and his workload has to monitored carefully.

Trust me, I don’t want to see Freddy Garcia and/or Bartolo Colon making starts for the Yankees any more than you do. If it was up to me from a pure entertainment standpoint, Banuelos would be in the starting rotation along with Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman. However, it’s not like the team doesn’t have viable alternatives stashed away in Triple-A for Garcia’s and Colon’s inevitable flame-out, rushing Banuelos is just bad news. He clearly has the talent to be a long-term fixture for a championship-caliber team, and there’s no need to screw around with that for an extra win or two this year.

Categories : Musings
  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    Really not a fan of New Shiny Thing syndrome. Good write-up – can’t wait until Manny is absolutely killing it for the Yankees eventually. But that year won’t be 2011, and it shouldn’t be.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      Maybe September 2011. But even then I doubt it.

      • Brian in NH

        Maybe September 2012. Brackman had by all accounts a great year at AA last year and didn’t get the September callup. Unless this kid is allowing zero runs through July we won’t see him in NY this year. He’ll move up to AAA at some point if he’s doing great, but he could stay the whole year in Trenton. Just like we’ll probably see the Brackmonster this year in September, we’ll see ManBan in 2012

        • Ted Nelson

          Brackman and Banuelos aren’t the same person, so I wouldn’t base what the Yankees will do with Banuelos entirely off of what they did with Brackman.

          “He’ll move up to AAA at some point if he’s doing great, but he could stay the whole year in Trenton”

          Based on what?

          “Just like we’ll probably see the Brackmonster this year in September, we’ll see ManBan in 2012″

          Who says that if Brackman is pitching well and the Yankees need a starter we won’t see Brackman long before September? That’s total speculation on your part.

          • Ted Nelson

            Mostly, why are you only looking at Brackman and ignoring every other Yankee pitching prospect? Why is Banuelos more like Brackman than Phil Hughes, Joba , IPK, or Wang? And why is Brackman in AAA all year 2011?

          • Ted Nelson

            ““He’ll move up to AAA at some point if he’s doing great, but he could stay the whole year in Trenton”
            Based on what?”

            Mis-read that and thought you said “should” stay in Trenton all year. My fault.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      A good write-up? Will you ever call Mike out? Because this might just be the worst post I’ve ever seen on this site. Here’s an easy task to prove you’re not a cheerleader: Point to a post at RAB that’s worse. I don’t think you can.

      And it’s not just that I disagree with the opinion expressed. It’s that it’s devoid of any and all objective metrics. That’s grating. For a site that I really appreciate because of the numbers, the only numbers above are innings. In any other context, that basis would be laughed at.

      Now that we know that upper level innings have no bearing on major league success, it’s time we kill that fiction once and for all.

      • Sweet Dick Wiliie

        Now that we know that upper level innings have no bearing on major league success, it’s time we kill that fiction once and for all.

        And how do we know that? Because you said so?

        A Yankee example is IPK. There is no other way to describe his path than “rushed”. Although he averaged 100+ innings/yr at USC, he still needed to put his time in minors. For whatever reason, the Yankees failed to do that and paid the price.

        Another not so insignificant item that Mike mentioned is that at 20 years old, his body is still developing. For that reason alone he shouldn’t be rushed.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          Read the thread, Dick.

          The extra mL innings for IPK didn’t change a thing. He needed ML innings. Now he has them. There is no substitute for facing real hitters.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            The extra mL innings for IPK didn’t change a thing.

            What are you talking about? He threw ~250 minor league innings, just ~145 of which came before he reached the majors. Seems like he came up, got hit around, went back down, then moved to the inferior league and found success.

            That’s not a model I want Banuelos to follow.

            • RL

              To reiterate another of your points Mike, IPK needed to fail for the first time in his pitching career and over come that failure. For him it came in the Majors. Not something the Yankees want to deal with. If ManBan can work through those failures in the minors, it may become easier for him to deal with failures in the Majors.

              • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                He’s much less likely to “fail” (or have his ass handed to him) against inferior competition. The kid was making Youkilis look silly. He’ll have no problem in AA and certainly not in Trenton.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Yeah, I agree that this argument is odd… He needs to fail, so send him down against crap hitters.

              • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                Of course, IPK never, ever “failed” in the minors like Mike is hoping for Manny.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              Establish causality however you like. IPK was a poor example for your opinion.

              Me, I don’t think IPK would ever be very good in the AL because of the HR rate. That was never going to change and that’s why they traded him.

              Too bad Hughes is looking no better.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                Again, you’re completely ignoring age. Kennedy is two years older than Hughes. Compare the two when the were both 23-24. Hughes is light years ahead of where Kennedy was that age.

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  And you’re assuming age is much more important than it is. We’re not talking about 15 year olds versus 18 year olds. Manny doesn’t have a growth spurt coming.

                  You’re also assuming pitchers get better with age. You’ve offered no evidence to support that claim.

                  You’re also assuming that pitchers get better with more upper level work. Again, without any evidence.

                  As for Hughes, if he doesn’t find a change, he’s no better than league average with scary fly ball tendencies. Even with 330 mL innings….

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                    And you’re completely writing off age, which is about as stupid as it gets. How can you not seriously believe age is not a factor? Have you never seen any of the aging curve work? Just google “MLB aging curve.” You’ll get 71,000 results, and most have players improving through their 20′s and peaking around 26-27.

                    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                      That’s hitters, tough guy.

                      As for pitchers, no I don’t think north of 20 age means much, if at all.

                      Glad you’ve given up arguing about experience though. Time you retract 90% of this post.

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      That’s hitters, tough guy.

                      http://www.insidethebook.com/e.....hers_peak/

                      Glad you’ve given up arguing about experience though.

                      What the hell are you talking about?

                    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                      He’s showing that WAR is conflated by innings pitched. No surprise there. Better pitchers will pitch more. In terms of actual performance though, the WAR peak is later, again, conflating the better pitchers with those who last longer.

                      Still very different than for hitters…

                      More problematic for your claim is the young pitchers who do as well as old ones.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      James, where’s your proof that young pitchers do as well as older pitchers? You are demanding that Mike provide proof, yet you have offered known whatsoever to back up your own points.

      • A.D.

        Now that we know that upper level innings have no bearing on major league success, it’s time we kill that fiction once and for all.

        Is there analysis on this? If so mind sharing link? I know there are examples where players have made the jump, but that doesn’t really close book

        • A.D.

          And saw you posted down below

  • Esteban

    This sounds pretty reasonable to me. He’s good now and could probably pitch but not dominate the majors now. Let him try to master his pitches for a little longer. I’d say call-up at the end of this year, ready to be in the rotation next year.

  • squishy jello person

    I don’t want Manny’s arm falling off; I’m quite content with him getting the innings in AA, for that reason and those you listed

    • Camilo Gerardo

      hard cap at 150 innings!!11

  • http://ablogforarod.blogspot.com/ The Captain

    A-f’ing-men, brother. That’s what I’ve been saying all along. No reason to risk Banuelos’ future because the team’s present doesn’t look as rosy as we all wish it did.

    /bows down at the Temple of Axisa.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Amen to ignoring all facts? This place really has become a place for group think.

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    Thank you, Mike.

    Rationality ftw.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Rationality requires facts. This post has none of either.

      • Rick in Boston

        And your support is one Jaffe article and your own opinion from watching games?

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          That’s more than offered in the post. Of course, I could cite the scouts who say Manny’s stuff is ML ready.

          • Rick in Boston

            And I can find a scout who doesn’t think his stuff is ready. But stuff is only part of the game, which is what you are ignoring. Do you want him learning how to pitch in the majors, or do you want him learning his initial struggles when the games aren’t going to count?

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              And if he doesn’t struggle in the minors?

              IPK never did. Nor did Hughes. Or Joba.

  • Stuckey

    “However, it’s not like the team doesn’t have viable alternatives stashed away in Triple-A for Garcia’s and Colon’s inevitable flame-out”

    Ick… is this a backhanded endorsement of sending Nova to Scranton to start the year?

    The logic of bypassing Nova anticipating the inevitable failure of the alternatives utterly escapes me.

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      If you stash Nova in the minors you have an option if Colon/Garcia/whoever fails miserably or gets hurt. If you don’t put Colon and Garcia on the big league roster, they’re gone and you have no backup option if Nova flakes out.

      Plan A gives you more depth. Plan B doesn’t. Pretty clear to me.

      • Stuckey

        I understand the “logic”. But they’ll be ST invitees/retreads/veterans attempting comebacks every year.

        Do the Yankees ever get to start a rookie in the rotation, or does the line always have to form behind the Top Ten voters getters in the 2002 Cy Young Awards in the name of “options”?

        Yankees supposed strength is their high level starting depth. What’s wrong with them as back-up options?

        Anyone got Esteban Loaiza’s number handy?

        • whozat

          They did that JUST THREE years ago. With two young pitchers who were more advanced than any of the high-level guys they have now, who had minor league numbers just as good or better, and upside just as high or higher. Hughes had more AAA experience than Brackman and just as much upside, and Kennedy was better and more experienced then than anyone the Yanks have in AAA going into this year. Do you really not remember that?

          Nova WILL start for the Yankees this year, a lot. And they will still probably need one other arm to step up from AAA, even if things go well. So what’s the problem?

          • Stuckey

            “Nova WILL start for the Yankees this year, a lot. And they will still probably need one other arm to step up from AAA, even if things go well. So what’s the problem?”

            Again, I find the logic of giving both rotation spots to pitchers you assume will eventually falter to be dubious.

            If Nova is eventually going to be the best option, why wouldn’t he be the FIRST, BEST option?

            He’s going to need time to adjust an acclimate too. Why add THAT onto the tail end of what you’re obviously anticipate are going to be either a small series of failed starts are sudden injury.

            I don’t seen the common sense.

            “More” is not necessarily better by rule.

            • zach

              nova MAY eventually be the best option, but he has little to no track record that we can point to with confidence. there are similar question marks for garcia, colon and mitre.

              ALL of these guys have question marks. they’re not solid major leaguers — they’re potential 4/5′s, and uncertainty of performance is the inherent risk associated with back-end guys.

              the logic is to keep as many of them available through the course of the season to hedge against injury/(under)performance. if one fails, plug another in. but we won’t have as many solutions if we cut either of garcia/colon/mitre.

        • Ed

          Do the Yankees ever get to start a rookie in the rotation, or does the line always have to form behind the Top Ten voters getters in the 2002 Cy Young Awards in the name of “options”?

          Did you see 2008, when the team ran with Hughes/Joba/Kennedy in the rotation? Those guys were all far better prospects than Nova is.

          Yankees supposed strength is their high level starting depth. What’s wrong with them as back-up options?

          That’s why you would put Nova in AAA. The rest aren’t MLB ready yet. You want a buffer, so that if you have to start digging into that depth, the guys who aren’t quite ready yet get some time to develop more first.

          • Stuckey

            I somewhat get it if people were anticipating Colon and/or Garcia to be viable options for the season, but nearly EVERY endorsement I see if sending Nova to AAA includes the caveat that one or both will eventually flame out.

            I don’t understand the assumption that they’ll be good before they do.

            This strikes me as a very particular assumption.

            • ROBTEN

              The thinking is not about whether Garcia and or Colon might last the entire season. As you point out, most don’t think they will. It is about the best way to maximize whatever depth you have in both the short and long term, especially since most teams will need at least six starters over the course of a season, if not several more, much less five.

              First, you hope that Colon and/or Garcia catches lightning in a bottle for at least a few starts, while seeing which youngsters might be in the best position to move into the rotation. If one or the other starts to falter, then you substitute Nova (or other, better suited youngster). Then, if Nova/youngster or Colon/Garcia falters you move on to the next option.

              If Colon/Garcia falters right away, you don’t lose much and can substitute Nova fairly quickly. If you eliminate either Colon or Garcia now, before the season starts, it means burning an option before it’s really necessary. In the Yankees’ current situation, the fewer options you burn early, the better.

              The whole point of the Garcia/Colon experiment is to get out of them what you can to start the season, while in the meantime evaluating what you have and what you might have access to (via trade).

              • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

                especially since most teams will need at least six starters over the course of a season, if not several more, much less five.

                Since 1995, the 2003 Mariners are the only team to have used only 5 different starters. Every single team since 2006 has used at least seven.

                In the last five years the Yankees have used 8, 9, 13, 14, and 12 different starters.

                Depth gets used. Always.

            • Ed

              I don’t understand the assumption that they’ll be good before they do.

              That’s the problem. We’re not assuming anyone will be good. We’re assuming that none of the options are very good and that they’ll all flame out eventually.

              Regardless of who wins the #5 spot out of spring training, I don’t expect them to lose that spot within a month or two. I have similar expectations for whoever gets the next crack at the #5 spot. That’s why I want to keep the depth.

  • Rey22

    Careful, this article makes too much sense.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      queue the trolls…..

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Except I think Mike is the one trolling us. This post is that bad. It’s almost Chassian.

  • Mattchu12

    Hate that I agree with everything you just said, so I’m going to go daydream about CC-Hughes-ManBan-Burnett-Brackman for 2012.

  • ultimate913

    I’m not going to lie, I was in the “Banuelos should break camp with the yanks” camp but this completely changed my mind.

    The upside is tremendous if everything you said happens. While some of us would love to be excited and watch our #1 pitching prospect face major league batters now, it’s better for him, the team and the organization to keep him down until he’s ready.

    and not that this should be all that important to the Yankees because, well, they’re the Yankees, but they get another year of control of him while he’s just entering his prime.

    • mbonzo

      The only one of the three B’s that has the ability to break camp should be Brackman. He’s still got a lot to learn, but his stuff is major league ready. If the Yankees really need a pitcher that bad, Brackman can learn what he needs to in the majors.

      • Brian in NH

        Almost…I would say his “stuff” is as close to major league ready as Nova or Mitre, but he doesn’t have the experience yet. He still has to work on command and control just a bit more. We will see him in pinstripes this year, but not in April (barring something catastrophic)

  • http://dosrevival.com Joe DiMaggio’s Ego-Ghost

    Why the hell didn’t we get Francis?

  • Jimmy McNulty

    If he didn’t have that appendectomy I’d feel differently, I’d go from “No way” where I’m at right now to “probably not.”

    • pete

      same. He threw soooo few innings last year. To the point where we can’t even be sure that the level of dominance wasn’t significantly skewed by a small sample.

  • Kit

    I enjoyed that graphic way too much. I agree with this all around. I love Banuelos, but I’m also the type of person that believes that prospect hugging is cute but should be done with caution so that it’s more of a prospect “job well done” back pat (excuse my lameness). He’s really young and I know the team seems to be in trouble with the rotation, but it’s really not as bad as it looks just because Cliff Lee isn’t in the rotation and Andy has retired. Is it the ideal situation? No, but the answer isn’t rushing a 20 year old to the majors just because he made Youk look kind of stupid. Great post.

  • Ross the Boss of Westchester

    So not a single person thinks ManBan deserves a shot in the rotation? Let me be the one to dissect the points as laid out in this article.

    1) Using Ian Kennedy as an example, you say that it’s a good thing for a pitcher to “get his ass handed to him” in the majors a bit so he can see what it’s like to not be the best pitcher on his team/in his league.

    Okay, that would seem to be a case FOR Banuelos to start in the majors. If he struggles, it’s a good learning experience.

    “A solid month of getting hit around by hitters isn’t necessarily bad for Banuelos’ development, but it’s bad for the team if he experiences that for the first time in the majors”

    I would say it’s bad for the team if he experiences it for the first time in AA or AAA, since he’s supposed to be an elite pitching prospect. The worst case scenario if Banuelos gets knocked around his first few times is that he gets sent back down to AA, where he would have been anyway. And he’ll be sent down with what you would consider valuable experience. So what’s the problem? BEST CASE scenario for Bartolo Colon involves getting knocked around for a few games.

    So Banuelos makes the team and Colon becomes a free agent. I’m not weeping over losing a replacement level talent.

    2) The second point is the lack of innings thing: “Counting the playoffs and AzFL, Banuelos threw just 99.1 IP last summer, a year after throwing 109 IP. He’s probably good for 150 this season, which will carry him through mid-August.”

    Okay, so why shouldn’t he throw those 150 innings in the majors? The assumption is that Cashman will acquire another starter by the trading deadline anyway who can make up the rest of those innings.

    Right now Manny is one of the five best starters the Yankees have. He’s sure as hell better than Nova. Why is Nova more “ready” to pitch in the majors than Banuelos? Because he spent lots of time being fringe to above average at AAA?

    Sure, Manny could blow out his arm. He could blow out his arm in Double A too. What good is that?

    This is a pretty statistically forward-thinking blog but I feel like you’re just parrotting back the conventional wisdom about pitching prospects here.

    He’s young. He’s filthy. Give him a few turns in the rotation in April and see what happens. If he stinks, you burn an option year you had a good chance of using anyway.

    • mbonzo

      On your first point.
      Frustration is a part of the game. Baseball is more about failure than it is about success. A pitcher’s job is to give up the least runs possible and a hitter job is to get the most runs possible. Its hard to find a player that can have a single perfect game of pitching or hitting.

      When I say frustration is part of the game, it is certainly a characteristic of a pitcher. A huge factor in a scouted pitcher is what they’ll do under pressure. Anyone who’s pitched knows that a huge part of the game is to try fight off your own emotions on the mound and pitch with your head, not your heart. Manny has not had to deal with this in the long run, and although he’d certainly face failure in the majors, its not the proper place for such a learning experience.

      AA or AAA is a place where you can have one game where you get shelled and the next you don’t give up a single run. You can experiment with pitching methods instead of forcing yourself to try and win a game. While the point of a major league game is to win, the point of a minor league game is to teach. Banuelos will not get the opportunity to to learn from his own failures in the majors, he’ll be told why he pitched wrong and what to change. Its a totally different experience. Its the difference between your mother telling you to wash the dishes 20 times and actually having to eat off of 4 week old moldy plates. I think your point is fair enough, but I foresee Banuelos completely losing it in the majors if he doesn’t learn to control his emotions. If we learn that he can deal with failure in the minors this year, I think your next point makes sense.

      150 innings in the minors is different from 150 innings in the majors. Although he would only need to pitch around 100 before I expect the Yankees to make a move on the trade market, I’d prefer them from someone who we’re not taking a gamble on.

      Banuelos is not one of the best 5 starters the Yankees have, Nova could very well have a better year in the same situation. He’s very young and patience is very important with these things. I’m not a prospect hugger, so I think the Yankees have 2 older phenom pitchers who could be successful in the majors. Betances needs another year, but Brackman should be an option before Banuelos, especially when there is so much risk involved. Just because the Yankees rotation looks bleak, doesn’t mean they should do something bold. It might just ruin the great farm they’ve created.

    • Camilo Gerardo

      i hate that there is a general preconception that you can’t put a hard cap on innings at the ML level. Thank you Joba rules…

  • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

    Wow, Mike, way to put together a post completely devoid of facts. You have this annoying habit of starting with an opinion and justifying it regardless of the where the facts lead. I started where you were one month ago. But based on the facts – for this kid, this team, and historically – I can’t ignore the most obvious conclusion: Banuelos should be in the Bronx when the season starts.

    1) “While he certainly looks ready when he’s out on the mound, we have to remember that Banuelos is just a kid”

    You point to his inexperience at the upper levels but fail to mention that that experience has no correlation with major league performance. Jay Jaffe take it away:

    Off the bat, while the correlation between a pitcher’s debut season ERA and his career ERA was a solid 0.6, there was virtually no correlation between the number of upper-level innings (Double-A, Triple-A, or both) with debut-season ERA or career ERA. The maximum correlation for any of those inning combinations and debut ERA was with Triple-A innings, and that at just 0.011. For career ERA, the maximum correlation was with combined upper level innings, at 0.038. Correlations between those upper level innings and debut season or career WARP were similarly infinitesimal. Over that broad range of ages and debut years, there just aren’t any useful generalizations to be made about the necessity of upper level experience.

    http://www.baseballprospectus......leid=13054

    You still have yet to refute this point, because you can’t. The history of baseball in the last 30 years says the innings you crave don’t matter.

    2) “One reason I want to see Banuelos go back to the minors is because I want to see him get his ass handed to him.”

    You assume this will happen in AA or AAA? How can you know this? Moreover, the example you use is a guy who never had any trouble in the minors. It was only in the majors that he was finally tested and matured. Or found easier pastures in the NL…

    The same seems to be true of Banuelos. He’s throwing stuff that will dominate minor league hitters this year. He’s making world class major league hitters look silly. There is no indication that he will his find his ass on a silver platter where you want him to be.

    In fact, if you want him to find said ass, the majors would appear to be the only place that will really test him. His stuff is good enough now for the Show. The only way to refine said stuff is against hitters who force him to be damn near perfect. That’s what we were seeing Monday night. And by the third inning he was getting there.

    3) The grab bag of retorts – still developing, the alternatives, and screwing around

    Let’s take these one by one:

    “There’s also the innings issue.”

    150 innings is enough to be a fifth starter limited to 6 inning outings across 25 starts. Given the Yankee bullpen, and their sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth inning guys, this workload is very manageable. Go through their schedule. The 5th guy will be needed maybe 25 times all year. It’s the perfect role for the kid. The best place to monitor his workload is in the majors.

    “If it was up to me from a pure entertainment standpoint, Banuelos would be in the starting rotation along with Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman.”

    Wow, that’s one Colon-sized strawman. Neither Betances nor Brackman are ready and I highly doubt they ever will be. Comparing Banuelos to Betances the other night was no comparison. One had stuff and poise based on a very easy delivery. The other had neither with a chucker’s approach.

    “there’s no need to screw around with that for an extra win or two this year.”

    This is the kicker to me. You assume Manny would give “an extra win or two.” That for me is the nail in support of my case. You end by admitting the obvious. Banuelos makes the team better. End. Of. Story.

    To summarize, Banuelos:

    1) Needs to face major league hitters. The only place to do so is in the show. History says upper level innings are not adding anything to his development. And the one case you cite supports this view. Of course Hughes and Joba do too.

    2) Is a better option than any the Yankees have. If he were taking a job away from legitimate starters, I’d worry. But he’s not. He’s so clearly better than any of their options, most especially as a lefty throwing 94 and with a sick changeup, it’s clear he makes the team better now. In a close race, one or two games could decide going home – with an aging core – or making an October run. The difference is why they play every game to win.

    When I combine those two conclusions – better for the player and better for the team – it’s obvious which outcome to support. You’re entitled to your own opinion. But you’re not entitled to your own facts. And your case above is based purely on emotion.

    • hogsmog

      Why do you think Banuelos is polished enough for the mlb? Because he was good against single-A fodder? Because of the ~7 run-free innings he’s pitched in spring training against spring training fodder? Innings aside, I think it would be extremely foolish to say that this 20 year old knows everything he needs to about pitching. He needs more games that don’t matter, where he can take risks and make mistakes for the sake of learning. Throwing him into the big leagues with zero proof he can hack it (even though all signs indicate that he will EVENTUALLY) is more likely than not going to result in a few embarrassing starts for Manny and a few losses for the yankees, depleting his confidence and market value.

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Watch the games, not the box scores. His stuff is good enough. His poise is good enough. His handedness really helps, especially in Yankee Stadium.

        The evidence, of the last 30 years, indicates that upper level work doesn’t tend to improve outcomes for pitchers. By that point they either have “it”, or they don’t.

        Banuelos clearly does. A lefty throwing 94 with a sick changeup is ready to get out major league hitters. The same innings in the minors are a waste. He’s going to dominate AA this year. Those innings can help the big club now.

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          he’s seen it with his own eyes.

          • Rick in Boston

            My favorite type of supporting evidence. I’m glad we have someone sitting in the stands with their own perfectly calibrated gun to help us.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              There are scouting reports, you know. But yeah, a guy who makes Youkilis and Pedroia look silly while overwhelming Crawford, throws 94 from the left side, AND has a knee buckling changeup? That’s a guy that deserves a shot over the likes of Colon and Garcia.

              Moreover, Mike himself says Manny is one or two wins better than the other options!

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                But yeah, a guy who makes Youkilis and Pedroia look silly while overwhelming Crawford

                It’s March, you have to let that go. It’s indicative of nothing.

                • rbizzler

                  But, but , but, if Banuelos doesn’t make the rotation, then Ultimate Warrior James will have to watch Garcia or Colon (or maybe both, oh, the horror) pitch for his beloved Yankees.

                  See, that is what this is really about, it is about James and entertaining him.

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  Wrong again. It’s indicative of his stuff.

                  Shame on you, Mike. You know better. You’re letting your opinion get in the way of facts.

                  His changeup, off his 94 and arm side, is all the evidence we need he’s good enough to be a #5 today.

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                    Nope, it’s indicative of nothing. Absolutely nothing, it’s mid-March. And besides, it’s a TWO batter sample. I remember Dustin Moseley striking out Kevin Youkilis in a game that actually counted last August. Isn’t that indicative of his stuff?

                    Bartolo Colon has been striking guys out left and right too.

                    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                      Did you watch the ABs? It’s not about results.

                      Come on, Man. You know this. Now you’re just digging in because you feel wronged.

                    • hogsmog

                      Wait so it’s simultaneously not about results and only about results that you’ve seen from him so far in an absurdly small sample size?

                      I get it.

                  • pete

                    It’s indicative that he throws hard and sometimes throws a good changeup. It tells you nothing about how well he could handle pitching in the majors.

                • Camilo Gerardo

                  indicative of nothing, Mike? Nothing? your vision beest cloudy, good sir

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                    Two at-bats in August don’t tell you anything. Two in March are even more useless.

                    He looked great in them, yeah, but seriously, two at-bats in Spring Training.

    • Guest

      How would it be easier to control his innings in the majors?

      In the majors, wins matter. In the minors wins don’t.

      Say the Yanks and Red Sox are tied in August. Manny has been lights out all year. Dominant beyond our imagination. Rubber game of Yanks-Sox series. Due to his dominance and the close pennant race, the Yankees have been reluctant to skip him as much as necessary to keep his work load down to ideal levels.

      Manny is at his innings limit. Who starts this game? I would be shocked if its not ManBan. There are tons of examples, but I’ll name one. Mat Latos was supposed to pitch no more than 150 innings last year for the Pads. Then he dominates and the Pads end up in the playoff race. So 150 innings became 184 innings. Incidently, 184 innings = the number of innings he threw in the minors over the course of two and half seasons. I’m not saying this means Latos is going to blow out his arm. I’m just saying it’s highly unlikely that the Pads intended to have Latos 1) match the TOTAL number of innings he threw in the minors from 2007 to 2009, and 2) throw 60 more innings than he had ever thrown in a single season. But they did.

      Latos is a pretty good example of the fact that teams rarely can control themselves when it comes to innings limits and young studs. (Joba and Phil made it easy on the Yankees by struggling as they bumped up against their limits, what if Manny doesn’t?)

      Now imagine Manny is dominating AA or AAA. His team is in the pennant race. He bumps up against his limit. They shut him down for the season. No one cares.

      Much easier to manage inning limits when a guy is pitching for a team whose final game results are secondary to player development.

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Are all the games in Trenton televised? Will Cashman or Contreras be going to every one of his starts?

        Again, you control the innings throughout the year. 25 starts is what a 5 is normally looking at. 6 innings a start and there’s his season.

        You’re saying teams can’t control themselves. Well, that’s their job. It’s a lame excuse and a lamer reason for not taking the best player north.

        • Guest

          I’m pretty sure that the Yankees can send marching orders to their Minor league managers relatively easily. No minor league manager is going to risk his job by saying “the org wants Manny to throw 5 today, but were tied at 1, I’m going to have him go 8.” I’ve never heard of this happening and I don’t think it ever will. Minor league managers know they are there to develop players and meet organizational objectives, not win ballgames.

          On your teams should control themselves point: I also should eat all my vegetables and not waste any time at work.

          It’s everyone’s job to control themselves. I have yet to meet a single person who has successfully down this 100 percent of the time (or anywhere near it).

          More importantly, one of the best ways to control yourself is to avoid known temptations. Blowing through the innings limit of a dominant young pitcher in the heat of a pennant race is a known temptation.

          Look, if we postulate that the 2011 Yankees are more important than a strict adherence to ManBan’s inning limits, then I agree he should come north (presuming he continues to outperform others in Spring Training). Maybe all this innings stuff is overblown. Maybe the ghost of Mark Prior is being given too much credence.

          But then again, maybe not.

          The only thing I feel pretty confident about is the fact that teams that are under pressure to win every year don’t shut down lights out pitchers in the middle of a pennant race. Even with some maneuvering, the Yanks still pushed a clearly worn-down Hughes to the absolute top end of his innings limit (which was very generously calculated). When asked if the innings limit would impact Phil’s playoff workload, Cash essentially said innings limits end in October.

          This makes absolutely no sense based on the underlying rationale for having innings limits in the first place. But there comes a point for every team when winning trumps prudence.

          • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

            For the babying they gave Joba and Hughes, what good did that do?

            I’m not saying ignore the innings. Slotting a guy in as a #5 is a great way to control things.

            The bottom line is neither you, nor Mike, nor anyone else here is refuting my facts. It’s hysteria all around. Manny is the best option for the team and he’ll learn the most in the role. If I’m wrong, you send him down. And if is psyche is too fragile to handle one setback, he’ll ever be a Yankee pitcher regardless.

            The best pitcher, for the best role, should get the slot.

            • Guest

              I thought I just refuted your point that it would be easier to contol his innings in the majors?

              • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                You did? Because some guy might be worried about losing his job? What about stressful innings? Are the Yankees going to define the conditions for every outing and an early hook?

            • hogsmog

              And if you are wrong and send him down, who do you call up? The Garcia and Colon that don’t exist?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      How many pitchers in Jaffe’s study were 20 years old? You seem to forget that Banuelos does not had three years of college to his credit.

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Lame. Age is a number like any other. Can you point to any study that correlates age with ultimate success?

        So yeah, let’s keep Manny down so he can get a year older.

        Moreover, how can you be confident that he’s 20? What if he’s 22? Now all of a sudden he’s ready?

        Lame.

        • rbizzler

          You know what is lame? The fact that you are selfish and want to risk the health and future of a top lefty pitching prospect all in the name of NOT having to see Colon or Garcia in pinstripes.

          You accuse Mike of having an opinion and then shoe-horning in the facts to state his case while doing the same exact thing.

          So far you have trotted out the one Jaffe article and personal scouting reports to make your case.

          Lame.

          • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

            I’ve trotted out more evidence than you or Mike have.

            Evidence FTW!

            • rbizzler

              Evidence being one article, and a two batter sample size in a ST game. Not really a rock solid case

              In 2010, Manny spent most of the year pitching in A+ and now you want him in the Show just so you don’t have to watch Colon or Garcia.

              • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                No, I want him in the show because it will be the best thing for him and the team.

                • Camilo Gerardo

                  side with rbizzler. better pitcher. period. replacement-average-above vets can be had for songs e.g; westbrook it would take a bit, but that’s a number3. and we have to keep eyes out for harens eh

            • Urban

              You’ve trotted out no evidence. All you have is an opinion (which is fine) and you’re trying to justify it, just like anyone else.

              I agree with Mike’s overall assessment, although I don’t buy the experiencing “failure” part. I understand what he’s saying, but I’m not quite buying it because it may not happen in the minors.

              He’s a kid, has talent, perhaps could help the Yankees now, but could also get lit up and then will be sent back to the minors, and the Yankees by then will have cut some of their pitching depth.

              The real question is why do you not even want to consider the other side of the discussion? Why are you so sure he’s ready? And, please, don’t trot out Klaw. He’s a columnist, and even even he admitted this is a bslance between short-term gain vs. long-term gain. In other words, he recognizes the potential development danger and innings issue by trying him now.

        • thenamestsam

          To add to the chorus disagreeing with you, you’re misunderstanding the conclusions that can be drawn from Jaffe’s study in a big way. There’s a difference between correlation and causation. He finds no correlation, but we can’t say that more high-level minor league innings don’t improve major league outcomes unless we have no omitted variables, and we have a big one in this case…talent.

          A pitcher who throws 75 AA+AAA innings is not the same as a pitcher who throws 500 AA+AAA innings. The first guy is more talented(on average). What’s surprising to me isn’t that the low experience guys start off slightly better in the bigs, that’s a sign that talent does matter. What’s surprising is that those guys go on to have careers which are no better, and significantly shorter than guys who stay down much longer. Seems to me that this suggests an important role for seasoning as well.

          The main point is that you can’t draw conclusions about causation from a correlation study, which is why I’ll try to avoid reaching any. To me, Banuelos looks ready, but the Yankees have better eyes than me(Mike probably does too) and if they disagree I don’t hold it against them.

    • Rick in Boston

      Now does this article use anything other than ERA and IP? The beginning only shows those two stats used, and I’m wondering if any periphial stats are included?

      I do hesitate to use a study where only ERA and IP are utilized.

  • Guest

    Mike is right. The time is not now for ManBan. I posted this at the end of a thread a couple of days ago, but it seems appropriate for the discussion here:

    Guest says:
    March 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Does no one remember Joba Chamberlain? Do people forget that quickly? I mean, seriously, he’s still on the team.

    Do you know who else is on the Yankees right now? Mark Prior.

    Joba and Prior. Each a poster child for one of the twin ills of rushing an electric young pitcher to the majors: stunted development and injury.

    Banuelos is scheduled for something like 140 innings this year (and that seems a bit agressive to me). You are KIDDING yourselves if you think that he will only pitch 140 innings if he breaks camp with the team and is lights out from the get-go. Kidding yourself. They will WANT to keep him to 140 innings, but if everyone’s best case scenarios come true, they won’t. They can’t. Not in this city. Not in a penant race. (Don’t compare this to Phil last year. 180 innings (plus playoffs) is far different from 140. Much easier to finesse 180 than 140).

    On the development side: he is absolutely going to focus only on the fastball and changeup in the majors. He will want to mix in the other pitches, but he will want to succeed more. For Heaven’s sake, we are STILL yelling at Phil to throw his changeup.

    15 innings above A ball. Justturned20. Just. 5’11 160 dripping wet. Joba and Mark Prior are sitting in the bullpen. Repeated for emphasis–Joba and Mark Prior are sitting in the bullpen.

    Back to AA. More seasoning/innings please. See you in 2012 for a September cup of coffee and see you in the first week of 2013. (If all goes well).

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Right, cause the team has no control over how many innings he’ll throw. Best case, he’s lights out in the majors and he reaches his innings limit in August and they shut him down. By then maybe another pitcher is ready to step in or they’ve acquired someone at the deadline.

      The games ALL count the same. And right now the choice for 5 comes down to Colon and Garcia. Banuelos has better stuff right now and pitches from the better side. And he has more to gain against MLB hitters than he does against AA ones.

      • Guest

        Sorry, didn’t see this before I replied to your comment above.

        I will give you all my worldly possessions and future earnings if they shut down a lights out Manny in the middle of an August pennant race.

        All of it. Yours.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          Way to argue from a hypothetical with no bearing on reality today.

          Every game counts. Throwing Colon or Garcia when you have better options available is idiocy.

          • Guest

            But I was arguing based on your hypothetical. You wrote:

            “Best case, he’s lights out in the majors and he reaches his innings limit in August and they shut him down.”

            If Manny is mediocre or starts struggling hardcore down the stretch, I agree that all of this is moot. They will shut him down. No argument here.

            I was just saying that if he is “lights out in the majors,” they won’t shut him down. They’ll want to, but they won’t.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              One hypothetical is bad enough. Let’s avoid two.

              • Guest

                I thought we were working of one hypothetical: “Manny is lights out in the majors.”

                Maybe its a fruitless hypothetical because its so unlikely that Manny will be a lights out dominant starter this season. But it was your hypothetical. And as unlikely as it is to occur, it is possible (which would prove you were right about Manny being ready to excel in the majors :)).

                And if he does, the pressures to win will be too great for the Yanks to shut him down. Especially if other members of the starting rotation struggle as expected. I know all the reasons why they SHOULD shut him down if your hypothetical becomes reality, but I have yet to see a cogent argument for why they WOULD.

          • pete

            your opinion that he is better than Colon or Garcia is nothing but an opinion.

      • Guest

        Also, I don’t disagree that Manny isn’t good enough for the majors now. I could be wrong, but I do think he is ready to contribute as a major league starter. I certainly think he has a fair shot at being better than GarNoTreLon.

        But he is, at this point, not a finished products. Yes, major league hitters present a bigger challenge for Manny. Because of this very fact, he is much less likely to work on and develop his third and fourth pitches. His fastball and change is good enough to succeed at the ML, but how much better will he be if he masters his secondary offerings?

        Also, Manny has never been through the grind of a full professional season. He doesn’t know what it feels like to be dead exhausted in August and have to make it work because its his turn to take the rubber today. Let him learn how to do that in AA/AAA, not the Bronx.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          You can’t master third and fourth offerings against inferior competition. Hughes shows us that. He still doesn’t have a third pitch despite all the extra work in the minors. And Joba, for as much as he was “rushed”, is still a better starter than Hughes, post-”injury” too.

          Moreover, look at Jaffe’s work. There is no correlation between upper level experience and ultimate major league success. None. It’s a useful fiction but a fiction nonetheless.

          • jsbrendog (returns)

            And Joba, for as much as he was “rushed”, is still a better starter than Hughes, post-”injury” too.

            uhm…what?

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              Check the monthly splits.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                First of all, I agree with you. Joba the starter was better than Hughes the starter, at least when you take away that Joba Rules business at the end of 2009.

                But monthly splits and breaking stuff down in to smaller and smaller sample sizes only serves to make the data less meaningful. It all counts equally.

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  Sure, of course. One season against another though and it’s helpful.

                • Chris

                  He struggled as he got past his previous career high in innings, not because of the Joba rules. If it were related to the Joba rules, then why did he start struggling before they skipped or shortened starts?

          • Guest

            I can’t view the full article. Does Jaffe make any apples to apples comparisons?

            In other words, many of the pitchers who throw very few innings at the upper levels are the most talented pitchers or got most of their seasoning in college. Maybe they perform equally well to those who spent more innings in the upper levels because (1) they are more talented, or (2) they got similar experience/time to develop pitches/innings by having longer college careers.

            But maybe these pitchers would have been EVEN better if they had more upper level experience.

            Unless Jaffe was able to control for other relevant variables such as talent level and prior college experience, I don’t think we can conclude based on his study that upper level experience is pointless.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              Pay for the site. It’s worth it.

              It’s across ALL pitchers. That’s a huge sample. To find a correlation of essentially zero was shocking to me. But really, now that I think about it, it’s not surprising at all.

              For all the work Hughes got in the minors, it didn’t improve him one bit. Pitcher mechanics are set by the time they’ve reached the upper levels. They are who they are at that point. The only way to figure out their ultimate future is by throwing them against major league hitters.

              We’re biased to think that the young pitcher will get better. But more often than not, they don’t. TINSTAAPP.

              • Guest

                Huge sample yes, but if it is comparing two completely different groups of pitchers, what can it truly tell us about the impact of upper level experience on a pitchers development?

                Also, even presuming I am wrong about the conclusions to be drawn from Jaffe’s study, the publicy available blurb does point out that there is a correlation between total minor innings pitched and performance. Manny has not thrown very many innings at any level anywhere. Maybe he doesn’t need AA or AAA innings, but he is not at the “he is who he is” point yet.He’s good enough for the majors now, yes. But he’s not anywhere near fully developed.

                Further, he’s not Doc Gooden or King Felix. He has great stuff, but not the kind of stuff that allows you to dominate just by stepping on the mound. He will reach his ceiling based on a combo of stuff and feel for multiple pitches. He won’t master the feel for all of his pitches if he’s forced to try and develop at the major leagues, where he will invariable rely on his two more advanced pitches at expense of his secondary offerings.

              • Sweet Dick Wiliie

                For all the work Hughes got in the minors, it didn’t improve him one bit.

                ::head explodes::

                Maybe you just worded it poorly, but that sentence says that you believe Phil would be exactly where he is today had he gone straight from high school to the Yankees.

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  Dick, read the thread. The innings talked about are in the upper levels. In the study and in these comments.

                  • Guest

                    Not quite accurate. I have been talking about Manny’s paucity of minor league innings in general, not just his lack of upper level innings.

                    Manny is not a young stud who has a ton of (or even moderate) amount of low-levels/college experience. I can see how such pitchers talents might be wasted in the higher levels. Rather, he’s a stud that hasn’t had a full season of professional or college baseball. Anywhere. He still needs development innings. Period. Even Jaffe’s study shows that lower level minor league innings are beneficial.

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                      This is where I think that UYW’s rants miss the mark. Jay’s study is interesting, and it helps disspel preconceived notions. That I dig. But there’s no accounting for pitchers with so little total experience, even at the lower levels.

                    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                      If I’m ranting, Joe, with some evidence, what is Mike doing with no evidence?

                      If anything Guest, then your argument is that the Yankees have been rushing him through the low minors. Hmmm, I wonder why?

                      (Hint: Cause he’s good)

                    • Guest

                      UYW, Manny hasn’t had a paucity of low level innings just becasue he’s good. He’s also been injured (nothing to worry about long term, but he has missed considerable time).

                      And no one is arguing whether Manny is good. We know he is good. All many of us are trying to say is that a 20 year old kid who has yet to complete a full season of professional baseball (after having no college experience) could benefit from more developmental innings in the minor.

                      To counter this, you keep referring to a study that does not prove anything about the impact of UPPER level innings to say that a kid with very few LOWER level innings should be wisked to the majors right now.

                      Also, Manny has thrown precisely 7 and 2/3 innings against major league hitters. In spring training (mostly at the beginning of spring training). You say we need to be evidenced base. Well, that’s a pretty small sample size upon which to declare someone has shown he can get out major league hitters consistently. (Maybe he can, and he certainly has major league stuff, but there is no meaningful track record showing that he can).

  • Pete C.

    I really don’t believe anyone seriously thinks this young man will be heading north before the rosters expand, at the earliest. There’s just too many options at this point. And like the article say’s he’s still just 20.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Would, could, and should all all very different things.

  • Januz

    The way to look at Banuelos is this: Baseball is a marathon not a sprint. If this team is in contention in late August, and some of the other pitchers the Organization prefer to start over him (Garcia, Colon, Brackman, Nova, etc) flame out, and he is lighting things up in the Minors, then you bring him up.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Sorry, but you don’t punt on games in April and May. Worse, he’ll run up against the same innings cap in August either way.

      A pitcher only has so many bullets. Why shoot with a BB gun when you have a Magnum?

  • RobC

    “Plus Banuelos is so young remember, he’s still developing physically and his workload has to monitored carefully.”

    Interesting idea but at 20 y/o I suspect the growth plates in his joints are closed and he can handle physical stress better than a 30 y/o.
    The problem is more likely the rate at which his work load in increased not the load itself.

    As for Prior, he had a lot of innings too quickly plus he throws with the “inverted W”

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    I agree Mike with your assessment of Manny B. He does not belong in the MLB at this time. His arm and body has not developed in both strength and durability as a 20 year old. Let alone his mind for MLB situations. He’s a jewel just being polished and the care of bringing it to a shine takes some time and preparation.

    The Yankees can ham and egg it with the foursome of Garcia,Colon,Nova and Mitre until June/July if need be a trade. Manny B. needs to throw 130 innings in 2011 by 2013 should be good to go with no limitations at the ripe old age of 22. This is an org. with money and a developing farm system. Patience good gives us a rotation of Sabathia, AJ, Hughes, Manny B. and Nova or Betances. A very good group of 6 to start.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Just like patience gave us a “Big Three”? You can’t assume pitchers will get better with age. Too much can happen. Wouldn’t it be a hoot it IPK ends up as the most successful of the “Big Three”?

      Manny has the stuff now and with nothing to be gained in the minors. It’s time a supposed stats-based site like this owns up to the latter fact, no matter how much Mike wants to believe otherwise.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    + 1 Mike. I think the Yankees have to give Manny a full season of 150 innings in the minors. MB’s change-up is sick, but he still has trouble spotting his fastball and still needs to refine his curveball.
    I love the prospects and I’m excited to see them contribute, but Manny is still a year away.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      And yet none of those things will he really need to excel at AA, especially Trenton, or even AAA. He’s certainly not going to have his “ass” handed to him there.

      Joba, Hughes, and IPK all dominated in the minors. Heck, David Phelps did last year.

      The majors are the place where major league pitchers are made.You can’t do that work any where else. A pitcher who makes guys like Youkilis and Pedroia look silly is plenty good enough.

      Age is just a number.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        I could care less if he dominates AA or AAA, I just want him to learn to spot his fastball better and throw his curveball with consistency. Period. Since coming back from surgery last year, his fastball gained 4-5 mph, but he’s still learning to throw it consistently. If he has trouble throwing his fastball for strikes, then why stick him in NY? There is absolutely no reason to rush him. None.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          AJ Burnett has trouble spotting his fastball. That’s not disqualifying and in fact, Manny, with his mechanics, is well-positioned to learn his craft on the fly.

          You’re not rushing a player if he’s ready. He clearly is.

          • Guest

            Ready and fully developed are two different things. Who wants AJ if they can have Doc Halladay?

            You’re point seems to be that Manny will develop at the same rate or even faster in the majors than in the minors. Most of us disagree. (See earlier comment for why I believe your reliance on the Jaffe study may be misplaced).

            Manny will be better with a better curveball and I just don’t think the best place for him to develop it is the majors. He just won’t throw it enough. Phil didn’t start working his changeup in earnest until he was already (primarily) in the Bigs. He constantly talks about shying away from throwing the pitch in “game situations.” That’s not an issue in the minors where a coach can say to a pitcher “throw 20 changeups, don’t worry about the results.”

            In the majors, results matter. Because of this, young/underdeveloped pitchers in the majors tend to go with what got them there, not the pitch that could take them next level if they ever mastered it.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              “Most of us disagree.”

              The facts are on my side. Pitchers improve a bit from their first year in the majors. They don’t improve from upper level innings in the minors.

              “That’s not an issue in the minors where a coach can say to a pitcher “throw 20 changeups, don’t worry about the results.””

              It doesn’t work that way even in the minors. Coaches always want pitchers to have confidence in what they’ll throw. If it were as easy as you say, Hughes would already have a third offering. He doesn’t. He still goes with what got him there.

              • Guest

                Phil started working on his changeup in earnest in ’09. He had a few starts in the minors and then got called up because of the Wang debacle. Then to the bullpen. He didn’t spend much tmie in the minors working on the changeup. I find it hard to believe he would throw the changeup in the Bronx as often as he would in Scranton. Maybe I’m wrong.

              • Sweet Dick Wiliie

                Pitchers improve a bit from their first year in the majors

                Go check Sandy Koufax’s record and report back.

          • S

            And AJ Burnett was brought up directly from AA to the majors without a ton of innings under his belt then…yeah he has electric stuff but look at his career, injuries, injuries, Thommy John, injuries, several healthy seasons but all overall his career has been consistently inconsistent.

      • LarryM.,Fl.

        Age is a number but as good as Manny B. is. He had the weapon of Youkilis not knowing his selection. The thing about the majors is the ability to change and learn. He hasn’t been educated enough. 15 innings at Double A is a small sample. What does he have 90 innings in professional baseball?

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          Youkilis is one of the best hitters in the majors. He wasn’t close. the separate from the #1 and the movement on the change is that good.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            It was mid-March, who cares how Youkilis looked.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              Next time you try to argue stuff, Mike, I’m going to remember this thread. You’re throwing a principled approach out the window because you’re paranoid.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                You can’t be serious. You’re the one supporting your argument with “he made Kevin Youkilis look silly” with NO CONTEXT added. It was a Spring Training game.

                Yes, I’m paranoid because I want a 20-year-old to go back to Double-A. How illogical of me.

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  The context is his quality of offerings. You know this. Hitting 94 from the leftside with that changeup and his mechanics stands on its own.

                  If your heart wasn’t so broken over the complete mishandling of the “Big Three” you’d see Manny clearly for what he is.

                  That statement says everything though. If he’s 22, you’re wetting your pants, not hoping he has his ass handed to him. That’s a lame criteria and you know. That’s why this post was so bad. You’ve got nothing but paranoia.

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                    If he were 22 presumably he’d have more pro innings under his belt. That’s the difference. If he were 20 and had 450 innings it would even be a different story.

                    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                      What if he really *is* 22? I mean supposedly he was signed what he was 17? What’s the story there?

                      I point this out, because it really doesn’t matter. Manny’s stuff is good enough to be good enough in the 5 slot. It helps the team and the player.

  • Johnnyb93

    As a long time Red Sox fan I want to advise you Yankee fans that you might want to temper your enthusiasm about Banuelos. I don’t have the time to look it up but I can report anecdotally that the Sox are notoriously baffled by pitchers the first time they see them. That is not meant to deny Manuel’s talent or potential. It’s just that there have been a lot of mediocre guys who looked good against the Red Sox lineup the first time and later on not so good. I seem to remember the same kinds of pitchers fooling the Yankees the first time around. Personally I think the Yanks might trade him as part of a package for an established starter.

    • Jess

      I see what you did there.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Really, there’s an abundance of lefthanders sitting at 92-94 and making great hitters look foolish off of a changeup?

      Neither Francona nor Pedroia had any reason to pump up Banuelos, and both were rightly praiseworthy.

    • S

      Then maybe you guys should have traded Bucholz, and Lester when they were young? You have to trust that some of your pitching prospects will reach their potential or else your stuck doing what the Yanks have been doing a long time, scrambling every other year for parts to fill out the rotation.

  • Jess

    Haven’t Colon and Garcia basically EARNED jobs this spring? Are does nothing done in ST count in the Yankee Universe?

    • Jess

      ^ “Or”

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      They can earn jobs in the bullpen for all I care. Right handers sitting at 89-91 are very common and in Yankee Stadium they’re going to get crushed. There’s a reason they’re both on minor league deals.

  • The Real JobaWockeeZ

    I agree with the premise in the article but anyone else think ManBan could pitch in AAA?

    He’ll struggle there no doubt but let’s see if he can handle that. He won’t face a Youk, an AGon, an Ortiz and a Pedroia there everyday.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      Why will he struggle in AAA? David Phelps didn’t.

      • Donny

        How in the world is he supposed to work on his curveball in the majors?

        What if his slide step sucks?

        I imagine its much harder to work on a pitch in the majors b/c it’ll get crushed. What if his change flutters when he’s not out of the stretch and instead of the Yankees losing games b/c he’s fixing it he’s better off in the minors working on it.

        What if he shies away from further development of his curveball b/c he’s in the majors and it keeps getting hammered? (ummm Hughes’ change come to mind?)

        Yes, these are hypotheticals… But we don’t know what the coaches see that would be better off worked on in a league where the consequences to him psychologically and to the team aren’t so great.

        You act as if you are in possession of all the facts. There are things we don’t know about his development and many of use are willing to concede that fact.

        You, however, seem omniscient.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          The standard assumption here is that more innings = better pitcher. That opinion is not supported by 30 years of evidence.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Zack McAllister did. What’s your point?

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          That AAA and AA have no correlation with major league outcomes.

          Still waiting for you to refute that or retract your opinions.

          He’s certainly not going to get his ass handed to him in Trenton.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            I’m not refuting anything. AA and AAA performance doesn’t mean much, it’s all about the experience of facing better hitters. In AA, you can just throw a 94 mph fastball down the middle when you get behind in the count. You can still get away with that in AAA to a certain extent, but very rarely will in the big.

            He didn’t pitch that well in Trenton last year, let’s stop acting like he was a hero down there. 23 baserunners in 15 IP.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              Who cares? The stuff succeeds at the majors right now. If the Yankees had better options, do you really think I’d be pushing so hard? He is the best option. And he’ll develop the most facing batter who can actually foul off the fastball after the changeup.

              You keep thinking that AA/AAA helps a pitcher develop. It doesn’t.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                You’re right, AA and AAA are there for show.

                /facepalm

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  The evidence doesn’t support your opinion. You’re working hard to support nostalgia and common wisdom rather than really thinking through the evidence.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                Also, you seem to be confusing development with end results.

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  You are confusing experience with development.

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                    Nope, you’re dead wrong there. Experience is absolutely part of development, they go hand-in-hand. And development takes place everywhere, at every level, and it never stops. Players just do a whole lot more of it when they’re younger.

                    If you can’t recognize that, then you’ve lost the battle and the war.

                    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                      Except the Jaffe study says they don’t. So again, I present evidence and you present your opinion. That’s sad, and especially for this site.

                      The Jaffe study also shows that they develop in the majors.

                      It’s not about raw experience. You know that too or else you wouldn’t clamor for guys to get promoted.

                    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                      Mike, if you keep surrounding yourself with cheerleaders, you’re never going to develop as a writer or as an analyst.

                      I’m done now. Cheers for all your work here. You can’t always live up to your lofty body of work. Hoping a guy gets his ass handed to him because you feel wronged is the stuff of Chass and CHB. Accept that and move on. Then come back and read this post and thread one year from now.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                “You keep thinking that AA/AAA helps a pitcher develop. It doesn’t.”

                Please stop saying this. I understand Jay’s study. I read it. But you’re drawing a false conclusion based on his sample. You’re also applying the general principle universally across the population. Please, let’s not act as though every pitcher is the same.

                • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                  Please point to pitchers who made huge leaps forward in AA and AAA, relative to A- and A+ then sustained those results in majors.

                  The converse is guys who utterly dominated those levels yet still struggled in the majors. That’s very common. In fact, it’s been true of all the Big Three.

                  The hypothesis is upper level experience doesn’t matter. As I thought it through, it makes sense. The best way to learn to get out major league hitters is by pitching against major league hitters. Jay’s study supports this view too.

  • stunna4885

    im sure alot of you yankees fans convince yourselves your being realistic but bartolo colon is a pitcher that whenever hes been healthy has pitched effectively. hes been hurt the last few years but now appears to be healthy and throwing hard with movement,also his secondary pitches have been sharp. scouts believe he can still pitch as well baring injury. freddy garcia despite the venom thrown his way had 18 quality starts last year and without 4 or 5 really bad starts his era is in the lower 4′s as apposed to 4.64. sure both these guys “could” get hurt or pitch poorly but acting like your too good for these pitchers is laughable. im now convinced more than ever that 80% of the yankee fanbase is ignorant,annoying, and so damn negative.

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      All of baseball acted like they were too good for these pitchers. Not one team offered them a guaranteed contract?

      • stunna4885

        u just dont get it guy. you paid nothing for 2 guys that can help your rotation and if they dont who cares. the fact remains that freddy garcia is a quality #5 starter period. colon i will continue to monitor but for now hes healthy and effective enough to get ml hitters out.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          Sure, you’re right and 29 other teams are wrong. Oh-kay.

          • Guest

            Both had offers from other teams. And the main reason they have Minor League deals is because of their injury history. Who wants to give a starting pitcher who has been out of baseball for quite some time (Colon) or a pitcher who has gotten injured lord knows how many times (Prior) a major league deal? NO ONE. Garcia has a lot of concerns regarding his durability as well, which is probably why no one offered him a major league deal. Just because a guy gets a minor league deal, that doesn’t mean he sucks. I could give you an entire book on minor league deals that worked out really well if you want.

  • stunna4885

    heres reality folks, #1 offense in baseball coming back + #1 bullpen on paper in baseball with the 2 best closers in the al on the same team. cc, aj, and hughes makes up a pretty good top 3 and yes burnett is a good pitcher despite his 1 outlier of a year[2010] anything we get out of nova, freddy, and colon will be enough to be a really good team. factor in money and prospects to make a move later in the year if necessary and were good. by the way the 1 advantage the red sox supposedly had on us was the back end of there rotation and there trying to move beckett or matsusaka. are u kidding me? the sox rotation basically has lackey as the main difference in this race.

  • stunna4885

    banuelos is the most advanced 20 year old ive seen. flawless mechanics, 3 quality pitches already, poise, and something not all pitchers have is that “it” factor and u know it when u see it. picture jon lester with more polish and you have manny banuelos.

    • Donny

      Manny has a LOOOOOOOOOONG way to go before he is anywhere NEAR as good as Lester.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Great artice Mik. Couldn’t agree more. My hope is that both Banuelos and Betances dominate in AA and move up to AAA the All Star Break. Maybe next year they’ll have a shot at the big leagueclub. In the meantime, I’d love to see Noesi, Warren and Brackman make it up here some time this season. Who knows Next Spring wemay be havin this same debate about Brett Marshall and Jose Ramirez

  • Monteroisdinero

    I have enjoyed this UYW (James) against the world thread. What about the way Madison Bumgarner has been/was handled by the SFG? 10IP as a 19 year old and 111 innings as a 20 year old and a world series start. Seemed to work out for them.

    • Zack

      You mean the Madison Bumgardner who had 100IP in AA and 80 in AAA?

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Except they sent him down because he had a tired arm. Moreover, what improvement did he show in AAA or even AA over A+?

        • Not Tank the Frank

          The “improvement” comes in the form of sustaining a high level of performance against older, more experienced and more talented hitters. This is something Banuelos has yet to do. We’re talking about a pitcher who has 25 (unspectacular) innings at the Double-A level. Now, I’m not trying to argue that a pitcher needs a certain amount of innings at each advanced level, but you simply cannot make the assertion that a pitcher with 25 innings in Double-A is ready to pitch in the majors. Especially when your argument is that he struck out Kevin Youkilis in spring training.

          I understand your argument about the lack of correlation between high-level minor league experience and major league success. I personally don’t want Banuelos to get knocked around. I want him to dominate the Double-A level. I want him to prove what we already think we know. But he needs sustain that performance over a reasonable sample. It’s just that simple.

  • Tony S

    Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James) , what age was Doc Gooden when he started for the Mets. I think Banuelos & Doc are a good comps. The Ian Kennedy comparison is a bad one. Kennedy was not mature at all. From all indications Banuelos maturity is there. If you have an asset use it. The whole point is to use the best in the majors. If Banuelos is the best he should be used & not wasted in the minors.

    • Donny

      How are they good comparison’s in any way shape or form?

  • stunna4885

    are there any intelligent yankee fans in the world anymore?

    • Donny

      oh lord…

  • mike_h

    take your time with Banuelos, let him reach 140IP this year in AA, and stretch him out more in AAA in 2012 with about 170IP, that will clear him to be the 4th or 5th starter in 2013 without innings limits.

    • AndrewYF

      If his innings limit is 170, and he’s ready for the majors, the Yankees will slot him into the rotation in 2012. You can achieve a cap of 170IP (or if circumstances dictate, slightly over) very easily in the major leagues. Look at Hughes.

  • MonteroSmash

    this thread is hilarious…

  • kosmo

    Banuelos in a sense controls his own destiny.If he continues to pitch well in ST and if Girardi feels Banuelos is as composed and self assured as he seems to be then maybe just maybe NY gambles a little and begins the season with Banuelos in the fold.
    But the likeliest scenario is 10 starts for Trenton and a promotion to Scranton if he pitches well.
    I see alot of Fernando in Banuelos .
    I also think Noesi will prove to be a tremendous asset as the season progresses.

  • Adam

    I’m glad to see RAB is still talking sense when everyone else seems to be caught up in his tantalizing talent and not thinking what’s best for him. Clearly, Manny is a talented pitcher, but with his innings and his age there’s no good reason to bring him up. Sure, part of me would love ot see him up, but we don’t want another Joba on our hands and potentially waste a talented guy by rushing him. You look at pretty much every really good starting pitching in the majors today save for a few outliers like Lincecum they all made their bones in the minors and learned how to pitch and deal with failure before they come up and be ready to dominate. I just hope Cashman stays firm because I think if he can resist the urges of the Tampa contingent and the unruly and unreasonable fanbase because he’s a special talent and can become a stud.

  • Guest

    BTW, Mike: this “musing” was spectacular comment bait. Spectacular. Somehow, I don’t think the Romulo Sanchez post will garner the same level of interest…

    • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

      That’s why I think he’s the one trolling us. The problem is he keeps repeating the same tripe.

      It also nicely separates the RAB cheerleaders from those of us who actually come here to think.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        I keep repeating the same tripe? Yes, your arguments have been fresh and original every single time.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          At least I’m bringing evidence to bear on the questions. All you’re bringing is your opinions, and misguided ones at that.

          IPK? Seriously?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            I just used him as an example in the post, that’s it. You’ve taken it to this next level where I suddenly compared his development path to Banuelos.

            Either way, I’m done. Work calls.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              But it was a terrible example that didn’t even support your point. You really think you did well there?

      • Rick in Boston

        And you keep repeating the same article as if it’s gospel. It’s one study, and a recent one at that where there hasn’t been time to really stop and study the data closely. There are a lot of issues with Jaffe’s study – the biggest one is that he’s taking hotshot young prospects with little minor league time (Doc, Prior, etc.) and including them with guys who spent significant time in the minors.

        The issue with Banuelos is he needs innings to strengthen his arm. He’s not been healthy enough to throw an entire season’s worth of starts. We have zero idea how he will hold up. I’d rather see Banuelos get stretched out in the minors for 2011, ensure he’s strong enough, then let him come up in 2012.

  • Mike HC

    Banuelos pretty clearly seems ready to pitch in the Major Leagues this upcoming season. Not saying he will be an all star, but he is obviously better than almost everything we have at AAA and fighting for a 4/5 rotation spot. His stuff is phenomenal, he gets rave reviews from everyone, and he legitimately made some of the best hitters in the world look bad. Whether the Yanks want to bring him up now when he is only 20 is completely up to them. It would probably be better for him to continue to mature for another year or so before coming up. The big leagues are not going anywhere and a little more maturity could not hurt. On the other hand, he is probably already one of the best pitchers in the organization on any level.

  • Andy

    The problem I have with holding him back is that is the Yankee way, and then you have to overreact and get a Burnett for way too many years at way too much money or rely on flotsam and a prayer (i.e. Colon). The Yanks need to incorporate young guys into their rotation, especially now that they have a bunch of them and they have spots available. Give your top prospect a chance to get his feet wet, see what he can do. Almost all of the top pitchers in the game came up really young. If he is going to be as special as you think he is, give him a shot.

    I am also a bit of a Nolan Ryan follower, and believe you have to push pitchers more than the Verducci Rule allows, so I am less concerned with his innings, although that is the biggest concern. When Ryan, who was an absolute horse from an era of horses, speaks, I listen, all due respect to a certain baseball writer.

    In the end, if he is the best option, he should win the spot. Handling prospects with kid gloves all the time can be short-sighted too.

    • Guest

      I think we feeeel like Nolan is from an era of horses, but I don’t think we actually knoooow is from an era of horses.

      Why? Because we only remember those pitchers who DIDN’T flame out. With few exceptions, (Fidrych, etc.) we don’t remember all the promising young arms that flamed out due to overuse. Only the pitchers who later went on to have memorable careers stick in our minds.

      Doesn’t mean the flame out rate was actually any lower back when young pitchers were pushed to and beyond their natural limits.

    • Tony S

      Good point

  • A.D.

    One reason I want to see Banuelos go back to the minors is because I want to see him get his ass handed to him.

    This is really no guarantee to happen, it didn’t with IPK, It didn’t even really happen with Hughes, they both had to get to the show to really struggle.

    Otherwise for me the Man-Ban to the ML rotation is why the rush, you control the kid, and he’ll always be there, you can let the veteran re-treds fail and call him up in a couple weeks, but you cannot do the opposite.

    I find it odd that after 7.2 Grapefruit innings he’s ready for the show, when there seemed to be no mention of him being anywhere near that all through last year and fall ball. What has really changed? Is it just some exposure, and he was ready last year?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      It’s the Shiny New Toy syndrome. Remember when scouts were talking up Ramiro Pena two years ago while Jeter and A-Rod were away at the WBC (giving him more playing time)?

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Wow, great comp! You’re a roll, Mike!

        At least your cheerleaders can repeat back your witty monikers.

        Like I said, I was in a very different place one month ago. Jaffe’s study – which is more work than you’ve ever done on the topic – and Banuelos’ stuff and poise make it clear that your opinions are completely empty on this matter.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          I didn’t compare Pena to Banuelos, but keep putting words in my mouth and insulting your fellow commenters. It’ll get you far.

          • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

            Why bring up Pena then?

            Mike, when commenters merely repeat back a moniker as evidence of something you know your community is going down the dark path of group think and boosterism.

            I respect this site because of the emphasis on evidence. In this case, you failed to live up to your own standards. Let’s move on.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              Pena = example.

              Could have used Jon Weber, Phil Hughes four years ago, Dioner Navarro seven years ago…

              • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                An example with no bearing on the current discussion. Got it.

                • A.D.

                  What it shows is the history of scouts and fans to latch on to small spring samples and have a strong belief that a player is now going to dominate the show, or is ready, which is happening now.

                  Is not to say Man-Ban won’t be successful if he started in the majors this year, he definitely could be, but we shouldn’t believe that because of 7.2 spring innings, and a series of fans and media latching onto those innings.

    • gc

      He made Youkilis and Pedroia look silly in one at bat. That’s what’s changed. DUH!!

      • Mike HC

        I wouldn’t downplay those at bats too much. Pedroia, Crawford, Gonzalez, Youk … it was their entire lineup. I’m not saying that he doesn’t have a ton to work on, but he clearly has major league stuff right at this moment. And those at bats were not BABIP luck. They looked over matched at points.

        • Guest

          Adam Loewen made them look silly in one at bat too. And for the love of Pete, it was SPRING TRAINING. I like Manny a lot, but I would like to see him develop a curveball, or at least try to. It would make his fastball and changeup that much more deadly. The majors is NOT the place to develop a pitch.

          If you want to go by Spring Training stats, Mitre’s looked pretty darn good. Why isn’t anyone talking about him?

          Also, if you bring up Manny now, he’ll be a free agent when he’s 26. I might bring him up in September to have an extra arm out of the bullpen. Even then, I wouldn’t use him that often.

          • Mike HC

            If, when you watch Banuelos, you don’t clearly see a special pitcher, with a bright future, and also someone who has major league ability right now, then I’m really not sure what you are watching. What is best for his overall development is up for debate, but his talent really is not.

  • Evan

    It took him 53 pitches to get through 2.2 innings and he walked 3 and gave up 2 hits versus Boston the other day (so a WHIP a little under 2). Lets not act like it was that great of a start. Let him face some better hitters in the minors and learn to put guys away.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      And UYW is acting like Banuelos crushed AA last year. He threw 15 IP with Trenton, allowed a hit per inning and walked eight.

      • Mike HC

        Didn’t he also just recently have a spike in his velocity. If would be nice to see that stick for another year before bringing him up and anointing him the next Lester/Santana.

        Banuelos seems to be the type of 20 year old to get excited about, but a little patience is probably the best way to go here.

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Again, AA and AAA have no correlation with performance in the majors. Let. That. Sink. In.

        Now go back to hoping a young pitcher gets his ass handed to him so you can feel better about your ill-informed opinions.

        • The Real JobaWockeeZ

          So let’s call up Pat Venditte then. AA and AAA don’t matter so call him up now.

          • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

            I would love to. Why mess around? Throw him to the wolves and see if he’s got anything useful to offer. He’s certainly not going to develop any more.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              He’s certainly not going to develop any more.

              This is what bothers me. Every pitcher is developing at every moment of their career. As long as they’re gaining experience, they’re developing.

              To think that Banuelos is a finished product is as foolish as it gets.

              • Mike HC

                Chad Pennington said it best, “If you are not getting better, you are getting worse.”

              • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                That’s what bothers me. The goal is to get out ML hitters. The minors aren’t the place to learn that if the stuff is in place to do so.

                • Ted Nelson

                  And Banuelos can clearly get out MLB hitters based on 7.2 meaningless innings even though he couldn’t get out AA hitters for 15 innings last season, right?

                  If someone is actually ready… sure. You have failed to prove Banuelos is ready, though. I don’t even think you’ve attempted to prove it actually. Just stated it as fact.

                  • Mike HC

                    You have a habit of calling out everyone on their proof and logic, and then never taking a stand yourself. It is easy to poke holes in peoples arguments on blog comments, but rarely actually take a stand yourself. You like to just poke holes and ask for more proof while rarely ever really having a firm opinion of your own.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      A. I try to provide proof where I can, and think that most comments (including my own) without objective proof in this anonymous context are pretty useless (depending on the subject of course). So, yeah I ask for proof. I think people should ask for proof and not just accept what they’re told. If your (or my) opinion doesn’t stand up to being challenged, then it’s probably not an opinion you (or I) should hold fast to. If it does stand up even after a challenge, it’s that much stronger and more defensible an opinion.

                      B. I think I take stands quite a bit. 90% of my energy on RAB is spent defending Eduardo Nunez and Freddy Garcia or talking about why the Soriano signing isn’t totally awful. In all 3 cases I have taken a stand against the consensus opinion and been criticized quite a bit for those stances.
                      I don’t think it’s always good to have an extreme position, though. I think that the truth in life often lies somewhere in the middle, especially when predicting the future. I see little value in predicting with 100% certainty or anywhere close what will happen in the future. I would prefer to look at the probability of different outcomes, because certainly more than one outcome is possible. If it’s something I have 100% control over I might tell you it’s going to happen, but I see little value in guessing exactly what’s going to happen with baseball players I have zero contact with let alone control over.

                      So, yeah, when people take extreme stances on issues, especially without proof, I often challenge them. In this very thread I’ve challenged both commenters who say Banuelos absolutely should be in MLB from opening day and those who say he absolutely shouldn’t.

                • Mike HC

                  Still curious on what you think Banuelos numbers will look like in the majors this year?

                • Guest

                  But it is a place where results don’t matter. (Or they matter a lot less).

                  He’s got two plus pitches right now. He is twenty and shown some feel for other secondary pitches (most notably the curveball). Let him get more seasoning in a place where he will much less pressure to go with only fastball/change so he can develop a third pitch.

                  Let him learn how to grind through a long professional season in a place where his every failure is not splattered across tabloids read by millions.

                  Let him pitch somewhere if, IF, everything breaks right, the rest of us are wrong, and his 2011 season is akin to Doc’s 1984 season, the Yankees can still shut him down in August (thereby reducing the chances he becomes another cautionary tale).

                  Let him pitch! Let him pitch!

                  (UYW, you have broken me).

                  • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

                    Reason FTW! :)

                    • Guest

                      Well, I still think the place they should “let him pitch” is the minors.

                      I said you have broken me because I realized I was starting to sound like a preacher giving a sermon, that’s how wound up you’ve gotten me.

                      So, I presume you still believe my reason is wrong.

        • Mike HC

          I think you make a ton of great points. Proving that it is not such a clear cut decision either way. A lot of your points are very general though. Specifically looking at Banuelos, a 20 year old who just saw a spike in his velocity this past year, you have to see some of the downside of having him open camp with the major league team. He has had very few innings to perfect his newfound elite stuff. It might be best to have him test it out in the minors for another year, perfecting it, before reaching the very top level.

          Just curious, what would be your projected performance for him in the major over 150 innings?

        • hogsmog

          Hey Yankee Warrior, why don’t you think about the article you’re blindly quoting instead of just using it as proof? The mean age of pitchers in that study was 24. The mean average of all CY Young winners in the last 5 years is 21. So, we can say that, in general, the best pitchers don’t wait until they’re 24 to break into the bigs. This means that the pitchers who get the most innings in minor league ball aren’t the best, which makes sense if the future-CYA winners are not kept down there any longer than they need to be. So of COURSE innings aren’t going to be correlated with success, because the more time you spend there, the worse you probably are. There’s most likely a sweet spot of time played in the minors, but in this study it’s drowned out by the rush-deliveries and the ancient AAAA players. This guy is trying to draw a directly proportional correlation between data sets that simply don’t function that way. It’s like saying “There’s no correlation between weight and how long you live” when your study includes starving Africans and morbidly obese people.

  • Kyle

    Your on point Ultimate Warrior. Let the best arm pitch, especially in a tight division where every win counts.

    Unfortunately, your going to get trumped by the coddling school of thought. Sit back and watch Manny dominate AA and AAA hitters while increasing his long-term durability? Rest assured, he will be a much better pitcher at 24 when he finally reaches the bigs.

    We can re-address this issue when Garcia is pushing 5+ ERA while Colon eats funnel cakes in the bullpen. Valiant attempt my friend.

    • Mike HC

      Most people are saying it is one year too early. He just had a breakthrough, performance wise, at age 19. Taking a step back, maybe it is best to probably see him maintain that for one more year without the pressure of pitching for the Yanks every fifth day.

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Thanks Kyle. I don’t know what happened to this place but group think is running rampant and now any old slop qualifies as a post on a non-gameday.

        Mike – His stuff took a huge leap forward. Going from 89-91 to 92-94 is HUGE, especially from a lefty.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          I’m well aware that his stuff took a huge leap forward. Stuff is just one piece of the pie. If it was the whole pie, Romulo Sanchez would be an All-Star.

          • Ted Nelson

            If Sanchez had control like Banuelos he might be an All-Star… I don’t really think that’s a good comparison. Stuff is not just how hard you throw, whether James thinks it is or not.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              Stuff is velocity, movement, different pitches, etc. Control and command have been treated separate from stuff for eons. They’re difference pieces of the puzzle.

              • Ted Nelson

                Again, stuff is not just how hard you throw. Movement and different pitches have nothing to do with how hard you throw. A knuckle-ball has movement. You can throw 6 pitches and throw none of them above 90 MPH. Even if Romulo Sanchez had better control, I don’t think he has the stuff to be an All-Star starting pitcher.

        • Rick in Boston

          Do we know if it’s a spike or if it’s sustainable?

      • Kyle

        I WANT to see if he can maintain it amidst the pressure of pitching every fifth day for the Yankees. He will never have less pressure on him than now given his age, lack of experience, etc.

        You want to see pressure? Let him dominate the minors and get called up in the heat of a pennant race. The fans will be expecting Strasburg.

        Let him take the 5th spot and send Colon back to IHOP.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          Exactly. There is nothing to be lost by giving the kid a few tries at the 5th slot in April. It’s sheer paranoia that will keep him down.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            There’s a lot to be lost. There’s an option to be lost, confidence to lost (possibly, can’t say for sure), depth (in the form of releasing Garcia/Colon) to be lost, development time to be lost (if they skip around starts in April).

            • Ted Nelson

              I also don’t think he should open the season #5 for NYY. However… it’s hard to say he needs to fail and then turn around and say that if he fails he’s going to lose confidence permanently.

              And his 2011 innings are going to be his 2011 innings whether they come in April, May, June, July, August, September… Above you argue that he’s only good for 150 innings (I agree) and then here you argue he can’t skip any starts.

              The real reason to not open in the rotation is to let him prove himself in the minors while keeping depth at the MLB level. 7.2 ST innings are indicative of nothing. It’s a ridiculously small sample. If he dominates AA early in the season the Yankees can start to think about how hard to push him.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                Just to be clear, since UYW has a way of putting words in my mouth: I never ever ever said he needs to fail in the minors. I said I wanted to see him get hit around a bit and come out of it. That’s it.

                • Ted Nelson

                  “One reason I want to see Banuelos go back to the minors is because I want to see him get his ass handed to him.”

                  He’s more likely to fail at a higher level than a lower level. As you point out, IPK didn’t fail till MLB. Maybe Manny fails in AA (he didn’t do too well in his 15 regular season innings), but if he’s as good as we all hope maybe he breezes through it.

                  Ultimately I guess there’s a balance between challenging and coddling. It’s just hard to argue both that he needs to fail and that if he fails he’ll lose confidence. I agree more that he needs to fail, but I also agree that failure should not come at the MLB level to start 2011.

            • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

              How many of Joba and Hughes’ options have been used? This is not an organization where one option means much.

              If his confidence is that fragile, he’ll never succeed in NYC.

              I have no problem losing that “depth”.

              As for development, you’re still conflating experience with it.

          • Mike HC

            You act as if pitching in the minors and pitching in the big leagues is identical. It is possible to develop bad habits, in order to survive in that present moment to get the best hitters in the world out, that you would not have developed if you were able to continually work on your delivery and location in a pressure free environment. Nobody is claiming that Banuelos is a finished product. Letting him develop against kids his own age one more year, rather than throwing him in the fire against men, really can’t hurt.

            • Mike HC

              And this isn’t the NL West where most of the hitters are anything but world class. Many of them are barely out of the minor leagues themselves.

    • Kyle

      We’re arguing about the #5 starting spot during the month of April. Please elaborate on how this is a detriment to Manny’s long-term development.

      You put the best pitcher on the mound.

    • The Real JobaWockeeZ

      So we’re banking on the guarantee that he’ll be better than Garcia at age 20?

      Because this obviously worked before with previous pitching prospects.

      • Kyle

        I’m not banking on anything other than he is the best arm available for the #5 slot.

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        And babying them worked?

        • The Real JobaWockeeZ

          And that’s relevant how? They got their chance and they failed. “Babying” came after that. And Hughes and Joba were at more advanced stages than ManBan.

          But let’s ignore that fact.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          They weren’t babied at all. They were thrown right into the fire in 2008.

          • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

            And from that one example, what was the response?

            Babying.

            • AndrewYF

              They were babied! Wait, they weren’t! But then they were!

              Make up your mind.

      • Kyle

        What your all failing to realize is that we are arguably the 3rd best team in the east. Do you really think that sending Colon out for April wins is irrelevant?

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, it has worked before with previous pitching prospects. A few recent examples of Yankees prospects is not the entire history of baseball. Widen your lense a little. Right on the Yankees you have CC who went straight from AA to MLB at 20. There are other examples of elite pitching prospects coming up early and having good careers. Some took their lumps early, some didn’t really.

        I don’t think Banuelos should open the season in the rotation, but I also don’t think he would be doomed to fail forever if he did. If he gets rocked he’s gotten the failure Mike wanted and can go back to AA.

  • Ted Nelson

    I don’t think Banuelos should open the season in MLB, but I do think if he does his thing he could get a chance later in 2011 (innings limit sort of minimizing the chance somewhat… maybe in the pen).

    I think that the point about needing to fail doesn’t really fit that well with sending him to AA. Maybe he fails at AA, but I think we’ll all be disappointed in that case. The needing to fail argument fits better with an approach of pushing and challenging prospects than with a coddling, slow development approach.

    • Kyle

      WHY TED? Show me statistical proof explaining why Manny will be best served in AA while the big league club takes a L every five days.

      • Rick in Boston

        That’s a faulty argument though – is pitching Manny a guaranteed W? Is Colon/Garcia starting a game really a guaranteed L? In the same environment that Banuelos is pitching well in, so is Colon.

        • Kyle

          No, but pitching the better arm improves your chances right?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            They why not start Romulo?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

        Show me statistical proof that the Yankees will take a loss every five days.

        • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

          Show me they won’t.

          • AndrewYF

            UYW has jumped the shark.

          • gc

            Wow. Really?? It’s official. You really need to take a step away from the computer and go for a walk or something. You’ve made this entirely too personal.

          • hogsmog

            “Prove to me that the sun WON’T explode if I eat six ice creams while standing on my head. YOU CAN’T! QED!!!!”

      • Ted Nelson

        Show me statistical proof that a guy who couldn’t handle AA hitters late last season is ready to handle MLB hitters.

        I don’t think you actually read my comment and are just blindly arguing with every single person on this thread because you have an irrational love for Manny after 7.2 meaningless innings.

        • Kyle

          You couldn’t be more wrong on my “irrational love.” I could care less who is out there so long as it’s the best man for the job. A lefty with heat and a wicked change seems to be a great candidate compared to the trash heap we have assembled.

          I have to run, it’s been fun.

          • Ted Nelson

            But why is Manny the best man for the job? 7.2 scoreless ST innings? He didn’t do well at all against AA hitters late last season.

            Garcia had more quality starts than Phil Hughes last season. Colon is a former Cy Young winner. The Yankees won 5 of Nova’s 7 starts last season. Why is Banuelos better than those guys right now? You have failed to convince me he is in any rational way. He’s a lefty and throws hard with a change does not guarantee instantaneous MLB success.

    • Kyle

      give him an innings limit in the majors. there is no difference.

      • Mike HC

        You don’t think there is a difference between pitching in AA and the Majors/AL East. The level of competition is extremely different. Depending of the level of competition you play against, your game most certainly changes. Now, maybe it would be a good thing to face the best in the world and adjust accordingly. But on the other hand, it can also cause pitcher to get into bad habits and possibly overwork themselves.

        I’m not saying I know what is best for Banuelos, but there is surely a difference and being “ready” for the big leagues is not some myth. It is a real thing.

        • Kyle

          read my sentence again slowly and then you may understand it.

          • Mike HC

            Read it again. Maybe I mis understood. I thought you said that limiting his innings in the majors would be identical to limiting them in the minors. Please correct me if I am wrong.

        • Ted Nelson

          A. A lot of smart baseball people think Banuelos is “ready.”

          B. I think you’re overstating the difference. Where’s your proof? What bad habits are you forming? Banuelos is only in control of Banuelos, not the hitters he’s facing. He needs to throw his best stuff regardless of who he’s facing.

          C. Where’s your proof altering your approach has a negative long-term impact? Plenty of guys start out in the bullpen or move to the bullpen mid-career–usually throwing less pitches out and the pen and maybe altering their approach in other ways–and then move to the rotation and have success.

          D. Isn’t is just as easy to pick up bad habits facing inferior competition as it is being challenged by better hitters who won’t let you get away with being sloppy?

          All that said, I don’t think Banuelos should be in the MLB rotation to open the season. I also don’t think he world would end if he was, or if he got called up mid-season.

          • Mike HC

            Yes, I already said it is a two sided coin. Like everything. And you seem to agree that keeping Banuelos in the minors is the thing to do. So I guess we agree. But you also throw out that smart baseball people think he is “ready.” So you are saying you are a stupid baseball person? Or that other smart people don’t think he is “ready.” So both people are wrong? Both right? What are you saying?

            • Ted Nelson

              Two smart people can disagree. However, no, I don’t think I’m as smart a baseball person as most scouts.

  • Kyle

    now you’re just being a smart ass.

  • Kyle

    Is Romulo a better SP alternative than Colon/Garcia/Nova/Manny?

    My argument is you put the best SP in every five days who gives you the best chance to win. If you honestly believe that any one of the aforementioned 4 (or Joba for that matter) is that guy, than he starts.

  • thenamestsam

    Ultimate Yankee Warrior,
    The Jaffe study that you keep citing as irrefutable evidence does not say what you think it does. There is a difference between correlation and causation. Finding one is not the same as finding the other, and importantly in this case, not finding one is not the same as not finding the other. There are obvious reasons for high level minor league innings to be both positively AND negatively correlated with major league success, namely seasoning and talent. That he finds no correlation suggests that EITHER neither of these effects are real, e.g. seasoning and talent both have no effect, or that seasoning has no effect and that the correlation between talent and minor league innings is very low, or that the two effects are canceling each other out, or that there’s even another effect coming into play. You cannot correctly conclude that seasoning has no effect based on the evidence.

    • Guest

      What I was trying to say earlier, but couldn’t. Thank you.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I’m stunned that UYW is ignoring you. Stunned I tells ya.

      • NJYankeeFan

        Great stuff Guys.

        I love to hear a debate on this topic on the RAB radio show with Mike vs. UYW

      • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

        Like you ignoring all evidence in favor of your pre-existing paranoia?

        Sam –

        Of course, correlation isn’t causation. But in baseball it’s the best we got. I’ll eagerly read any study that refutes or adds to the conclusion. But until then it’s all we can go off of.

        As for the claim that they’re canceling each other, we should be able to find some pitchers who got much better at each level of the minors. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s very common. If anything, the pitchers who rise seem to show similar results at each level. Look at the Big Three. The was little change in their performance as they moved up. In some sense the development could be canceled out by the tougher competition. In another, there simply isn’t development. The pitcher is who he is. How do we test each of those hypotheses?

        The part that stood out for me with Jaffe was first the lack of any real correlation with the upper minors. Then the next nugget was the the slight improvement from the first ML year to the careers. It really does seem like the best preparation for developing in the majors is actually pitching in the majors. That makes a ton of sense.

        See, you can point out many problems with the study. But at least we’re talking about evidence. Otherwise, poor Mike is left to stew in his own hurt feelings and wishing for a prospect to have his ass handed to him.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Why do you keep saying my feels are hurt and I’m paranoid? You seem to be more obsessed with me than the topic at hand.

        • AndrewYF

          If Banuelos were a pitcher who had just pitched a full (150+IP) (or near-full) season in the minors, and who had nothing to work on in the minors (holding runners, getting more experience with throwing his various off-speed pitches, etc), and who had not recently had a severe change in his stuff to get used to, you would actually have a point.

          Unfortunately for you, those things are not true, and you don’t have a point.

          Anyway, you can’t really compare any pitching prospect with any other pitching prospect because human cloning has yet to be perfected. Every single pitcher is different, as are their circumstances. Manny is not CC Sabathia, or Tim Lincecum, or Clayton Kershaw, or anyone else Jaffe mentioned in his column. He’s Manny Banuelos, and he needs more time in the minor leagues. Mike’s ‘ass handed to him’ comment was his own personal preference. He had many other points in his article that you are conveniently ignoring because they would weaken your already wafer-thin position.

    • gc

      Thank you. NOW I understand more clearly what that Jaffe article was all about. Going by what UYW was saying, and my reading of it, his conclusions weren’t making sense to me. Thanks for clearing that up!

  • Sean P

    Nice post Mike, I think you’re 100% right.

  • http://twitter.com/tjamato T.J.

    I’m with Mike.

    Long-term development for Banuelos is more important than the short-term success of the club.

  • Timmy Hands

    This article is spot on. Piggy-backing on Mike’s point, let’s all not ignore the 800 lbs. gorilla in the room – trade bait. If Banuelos was ever brought up and got knocked around, selling him as some kind of wunderkind would be even more difficult. It’s one thing to struggle in the minors; scouts don’t grade on that because they expect it. Plus, players in the minors still have “prospect” flagged above their heads. But once they are pitching in MLB games, the grading curve gets tougher, not easier. See “Dollar Sign on The Muscle.”

    On top of all of this, it’s very simple: it is Spring Training, a time in many cases the pitchers are more advanced than the hitters. While I do believe with my amateur eyes Banuelos seems special, I don’t think that is a bloom you want to rush off the rose just yet. Plus, if he is lockdown impressive at Trenton, he will be bumped up accordingly. And you know what else? As a Yankees fan, I don’t want to see him called up anyway, for it would likely mean the team is struggling and looking for the proverbial lightening in a bottle, ala’ Chamberlain ’07 (which actually did work out).

    Bottom line: even without a bevy of stats and metrics, Mike is in my opinion correct. There is absolutely no reason for him to be making appearances in the Bronx any time soon. When he’s ready, everyone else will be, as well.

    • Ted Nelson

      Ehhh… I think one would more expect a 20 year old to struggle against MLB hitters than AA hitters…

      “There is absolutely no reason for him to be making appearances in the Bronx any time soon. When he’s ready, everyone else will be, as well.”

      And what if he’s ready soon? Then there is a reason for him to be making an appearance in the Bronx soon by your own logic.

  • Ted Nelson

    “Garcia’s and Colon’s inevitable flame-out”

    I don’t think Garcia’s flame-out is any more likely than Hughes or certainly Burnett’s. So… if his is inevitable, I guess the Yankees are going to need 4 starters from the minors/trades this season.

    Colon’s I’d call likely almost to the point of being inevitable… but one never knows.

  • Gonzo

    I guess I am super late on this, but there are three main reasons this article gives for ManBan not being in the rotation.

    1) He doesn’t have enough experience in the upper levels.
    2) You want him to struggle in the minors.
    3) He is slated for 150ip this year, roughly.

    Look, he is totally going to start in the minors. I think everyone knows the FO wants him there. However, when is someone going to actually argue that he will perform worse than Colon.

    For me, I’ve heard from a few worthwhile baseball scribes that he doesn’t need more “seasoning” in the minors. If you accept this as true (totally understand if you don’t), you have one more question you ask.

    Does 150ip of ManBan + 20-30ip of scraps work out better than 170-180ip of Colon/Nova/scraps?

  • Mike HC

    Excellent article Mike. It led to some great discussion. Continue to have strong opinions.

  • http://twitter.com/nebkreb Nebkreb

    Man this post is SOOOOOOO GOOD!!111!eleven!1! I mean, Mike is always right and the RAB guys never get anything wrong on this site. Even those weekend writers with their ponytails and weird references.
    /endsarcasmdirectedtowardsultimateyankeewarrior

    Seriously though, there is a point to be made for bringing Manny up now, and one to be made for keeping him. The IP point argued above is an important one, as well as the age factor. He just turned 20. If he took two years to progress to the majors and started in 2013, he would still be ahead of schedule in terms of a major league starter.
    It’s a matter of risk/reward. At 20, if you bring him up, sure there is a chance he blows the league away and you have a new stud. From everything I know about baseball, there is a much more significant chance that his elbow/shoulder explodes and he’s out for 2 years. He has thrown anywhere from 15 to 50 innings to AA hitters. You cannot dismiss that. That’s like taking a 7th grader, who has been in 7th grade for a month, and throwing him to freshmen year of college and shutting the dorm door. Sure, he might thrive but most likely he’s going to end up hungover and failing his classes.

    BOOM /analogy’d

    • Kyle

      so his arm is more likely to explode at the MLB level than the minors because…

      • pete

        It actually is. Chances are he would struggle much more against major league hitters, resulting in longer, more stressful innings. Those can take a much bigger toll than the same number of pitches distributed more evenly.

        Of course, struggling through innings (as Manny did on Monday) is good for developing a pitcher’s skills. But Manny threw, all told, about 100 innings last year. There’s still a lot of room for physical development, much of which can be achieved this year by a combination of proper workouts and stretches (which he has probably been doing since joining the system) and throwing ~130 low-stress innings.

        People forget that manny really hasn’t been stretched out much at all as a starter. I, for one, would like to see him get a “full” season under his belt before he starts throwing 30 pitch innings to major leaguers all the time. And that will happen if he’s in the ML rotation this year. I’d put money on that.

  • TraderJones

    Fans are too myopic. I totally agree with keeping Manny in the minors for at least 1 more season. He could be nasty they just have to develop him right.

  • pete

    This thread is hurting my brain.

    Here’s my line of thinking: there is a legitimate chance that exactly zero of the following pitchers will provide significant value above replacement level in 2011:

    Garcia (stuff, age)
    Colon (age, possibly weight/injury concerns, the fact that he hasn’t pitched in the majors in 3 years)
    Nova (inexperience, lack of evidence to suggest he can get through a lineup 2-3 times)
    Mitre (general suckitude)
    Brackman (inexperience, mild injury concerns, level of competition faced thus far, no dominant results yet)
    Noesi (inexperience, meh secondary pitches)
    Warren (inexperience, stuff)
    Banuelos (inexperience, injury concerns)

    Do people here honestly think, based on 7.2 spring innings, of which they’ve been able to see at most 5, that ManBan belongs in the rotation to start the year? Come on, people. That e-card says it perfectly. Put him in the rotation to start the year and there’s a very good chance that we’re not talking about “lumps” that amount to an ERA between 4.50 and 5.00. We could easily be talking about an ’08 redux, with him putting up an ERA over 8.00 and struggling to get through five innings every start. That does the team no good whatsoever.

    Sure, his stuff is, for the most part, probably ready for the show. And he appears to have good composure, and he’s got excellent command for a guy his age. The exact same thing could have been said for Kennedy and Hughes, and they got shelled. Kennedy may have had worse stuff, but both his numbers and command were better. Believe it or not, heading into 2008, Kennedy was probably a better prospect than Manny is now. But 2008 was not a “lumps” year for him. 2009 was. 2008 was a horror show. Same goes for Phil, except his stuff was actually, by most accounts, better than Manny. And he had thrown 149 minor league innings in 2006. He was arguably the best pitching prospect in baseball. He had even had a decent amount of experience facing major leaguers in 2007 – something Manny has not had.

    I love ManBan. So does Mike, and probably just about everybody on this site. And he very well could be capable of giving us 140 or so quality major league innings this year, which the team could desperately need. But there is absolutely zero historical evidence to base such hopes on. Hell, I’ll even agree that he’s got more upside than most of the guys, if not all, on that list. But right now, he’s got way more downside, too. He’s not somebody you can probably count on for over 100 innings and an ERA around or below 5.00.

    Like Mike, I too would like to see the guy struggle some. And that may not happen if he stays in the minors this year, I understand. And I’m sure Mike does too. But the struggles I (we) would like to see don’t include meltdowns of epic proportions like we saw in 2008. They don’t include the team missing the playoffs because of him (a possibility if he is given an extended chance this year). Maybe he gets a midseason call-up in 2012 and struggles to the tune of an ERA around 5. Maybe he pitches 20 innings out of the bullpen at the end of this year and gets knocked around a bit. Who knows. But basing the assumption that he is a major-league caliber pitcher right now off of 7 spring innings, or 50 innings against AA competition, or the words of a few scouts, is ludicrous.

    History tells us, loud and clear, that he probably isn’t. Yet.

    Is it that hard to be patient?

  • Cult of Basebaal

    Just because no one else bothered to do so, here’s Jay Jaffe again, in his concluding paragraph of the article linked by UYW:


    As to what any of that means to the Yankees with regards to their Killer B’s, there’s less to take from this quick-and-dirty exercise than hoped. Upper-level minor-league experience as determined by innings isn’t a particularly helpful yardstick in projecting whether a pitcher will succeed either in the short term or the long term. Which shouldn’t be too surprising given the complexity of pitcher development, and the importance of marrying scouting information to the stats. Nor should it be terribly surprising that the Yankees as well as most outside prospect experts feel that Banuelos and Betances could use more seasoning. That may mean more Garcia and Colon in the short term, but it doesn’t preclude the possibility of the young whippersnappers reaching the Bronx later in the year.