Saturday, November 15, 2014

Yankees Prospect Banuelos to Compete for 2015 Rotation Spot

It appears the Yankees are finally convinced that Manny Banuelos is ready for the big leagues.

Team assistant general manager Billy Eppler recently told Baseball America that it expects Banuelos to compete for a spot in the 2015 rotation next spring. Banuelos, 23, missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John Surgery, and has a 3.29 ERA over six professional seasons.

“He was able to achieve the objective to build innings and increase the workload [this season],” Eppler said. “He was on a plan designed by Gil Patterson and monitored by our medical people.”

Banuelos is coming off a year in which his ERA was a somewhat high 4.11 at High-A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. According to Eppler, the average speed of Banuelos' fastball this season was also just 91.7 mph, a dip from the 95 he hovered around the year before.

Nonetheless, Eppler is confident in his abilities.

“He is still in the stage of where you have to watch him but he will be ready to roll in spring training," he said. "He will come in and compete for a job. The velocity was there and he developed a cutter as well.”

It's a safe bet that Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Brandon McCarthy (if he gets re-signed) are all already guaranteed starting jobs, but that shouldn't stop Banuelos from at least having a chance. Ivan Nova is expected to be out until May, essentially leaving the uncertain likes of Shane Greene and David Phelps as his only competition. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)