New York Yankees: Manny Banuelos

Banuelos needs Tommy John surgery

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
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Manny Banuelos, the organization's top pitching prospect, will undergo a surgical procedure named after a former Yankee. Banuelos will not pitch at all next season.

Full news story here.

Buzz: Man Ban DL'd

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
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A recurring feature of the blog, Buzz, will follow Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, as well as other top Yankee prospects, all season long.

Manny Banuelos was placed on the 7-day DL with a sore back, Triple-A Scranton announced Friday.

The highly-touted pitching prospect -- known as one of the “Killer B’s” -- is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in two starts (14 hits and six earned runs over 5-1/3 innings).

" Big Ben Roethlisberger was on the field before the game and chatted up Derek Jeter. Steelers offensive tackle Willie Colon, who hails from the Bronx, was also in attendance.

Freddy Garcia: Pitchin' magician

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
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If the competition for the No. 5 starter's job is truly on-the-level, then Freddy Garcia took a step ahead of Phil Hughes today at The Boss, shutting down an admittedly B-level squad of Atlanta Braves for three innings, allowing just one hit and no runs.

"That was vintage Freddy out there,'' Joe Girardi said after Garcia's 33-pitch outing, in which he twice set the Braves down in order on eight pitches or less, and worked through a slightly troublesome second inning in which he surrendered a ground ball single and a walk before killing the threat with a strikeout of Brandon Hicks on a changeup.

For Garcia, his second outing of the spring lowered his March ERA to 3.60. Quite uncharacteristic for a pitcher whose typical spring ERA is in the double-digits. But knowing that he must clearly outpitch Hughes to earn the final rotation spot -- Garcia was handed the No. 5 role last spring despite having been outpitched by the beloved Bartolo Colon -- seems to have raised the 35-year-old righty's training camp game a notch or two.

"I know I have to fight for a spot so I have to pitch good,'' he said. "Before that, I used to have my spot in the rotation. But this year, I don't want to take it for granted.''

Garcia was followed by Rafael Soriano, who threw a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Manny Banuelos, who threw two scoreless innings and struck out three, and D.J. Mitchell, who appears to be emerging as a candidate for the spot occupied by Luis Ayala last season, who also threw two scoreless innings.

ManBan Mania, Part II?

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
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Manny Banuelos, the teenage sensation of last year's camp, got some cheers at The Boss by throwing two scoreless innings at the Triple A-laden squad the Braves sent over to Tampa today.

Banuelos allowed a two-out double in the fifth but got out of it with a strikeout of Jose (Not George) Constanza, and had a runner at second with one out after Michael Bourn, one of the few Atlanta regulars in the lineup, singled leading off the sixth and took second on a wild pitch.

But Banuelos got Matt Diaz to ground out and then blew a fastball past Freddie Freeman to end the inning. Yankees leading 2-0 as we head to the seventh.

Buzz: Roommats Betances & Banuelos

March, 6, 2012
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A recurring feature of the blog, Buzz, will follow Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, as well as other top Yankee prospects, all season.

The future of the Yankees not only share high expectations, they shared a room. Last year, at Double-A Trenton, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos lived in a large two-room, $2,200 per month apartment with teammates, Melky Mesa and Jose Pirela.

Betances and Banuelos would stay in one room, while Mesa and Pirela had the other.

"On the road, Manny was my roommate, too," Betances said.

Betances, 23, would wake up at about 10 a.m. for a 7 p.m. game. Often, he and Banuelos would have lunch.

"I've known him for a long time," Banuelos said. "This is the third year play together. He is a nice person. He is a nice buddy."

Having grown up in the city, Betances, who turns 24, takes a leadership role with a lot of the Spanish-speaking players, helping them understand their leases and other tasks that are made more difficult being in a foreign land.

"I try to help the Latin and Spanish guys because a lot of times they don't know how to fill out the application [for the lease,]" Betances said. "That is why a lot of times I stay with them."

Yankees' kids are all right

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
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That would be David Phelps, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, all of whom were mentioned by Hal Steinbrenner the other day as key components in his master plan to slash the Yankees' payroll by 10 percent, to $189 million, by 2014 to avoid going over the luxury tax threshold.

All three pitched acceptably in the Yankees' 8-5 win over the Phillies on Saturday, combining for five innings of two-hit, no-run ball, but to rank them in order of effectiveness it would have to be Phelps, the least-heralded of the three, who performed the best; Betances, the 6-7 fireballer from Brooklyn who had the most difficulty, and Banuelos, the most highly-touted of all, somewhere in the middle.

Kim Klement/US PresswireIvan Nova worked the first two innings Saturday before handing off to young guns David Phelps, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.
All three were aware of what Steinbrenner had to say; he basically threw down the gauntlet to his young pitchers, and Ivan Nova, to improve their games to the point where the Yankees could promote them to the big leagues rather than pay the kind of salaries that free agent starters will command.

And all three had heard Joe Girardi, in his introductory message to the team last week, single out pitching as one area of the team in which kids who start the season in the minors had a realistic chance to make it to the Bronx sometime this season.

"I said, 'Look, we used 28 pitchers last year and I guarantee that all 28 were not on the 40-man roster when the year started,'' Girardi said. "'So if you’re thinking we’re not going to call you up because you’re not on the 40-man, think again. Everyone in this room has an opportunity to pitch for us this year or you wouldn’t be here.' And I think it’s important for them to know that.''

After Nova worked the first two innings, allowing two runs (one earned after an error by Eduardo Nunez) on a HR by Hunter Pence, the procession of kid pitchers began.

Phelps, a 25-year-old righty who went 6-6 for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate last year, showed the best command, walking no one, striking out one and allowing a single in his two innings. Banuelos fell behind to several batters, walked two and struck out none in his two innings. and Betances, who had trouble throwing the ball over the plate during his September call-up last year, had difficulty repeating his delivery with his 6-7, 240-pound body, walking the first two batters he faced and sailing one pitch clear over the heads of both his catcher, Gary Sanchez, and the home plate umpire. But he escaped trouble with a double play and a pop out and wound up pitching a scoreless inning.

"Phelps is a much different guy than what we saw last year,'' Girardi said. "Much more relaxed, much better command. Banuelos was a little around the zone, and the same thing with Betances. The one thing you can't do when you're out there is think about your mechanics. You've got think about making your pitch.''

The last two innings showcased two lefties who are battling for the final spot in the bullpen. Cesar Cabral allowed two hits in the eighth but escaped damage. Mike O'Connor had all kinds of trouble, surrendering a two-run HR to Kevin Frandsen and another run when Tyson Gillies doubled to make it close, but finally ended the inning and the game with a strikeout.

"There's opportunity here for these kids,'' Girardi said. "They just have to step up and take it.''

Buzz: Manny Banuelos now a cool kid

February, 28, 2012
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A recurring feature of the blog, Buzz, will follow Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, as well as other top Yankee prospects, all season.

When Manny Banuelos showed up in the Tampa clubhouse, he looked a little lost. The Yankee locker room is sort of set up like a high school lunch room with the cool kids in certain corners and the others relegated to the middle island of lockers. So the 5-foot-9, 20-year-old Banuelos wandered around, peering up, trying to find his new stall.

Finally, after circling the locker room like a car trying to find parking spot in the city, Banuelos came across his name plate. He was with the cool kids. Next to him was the BMOC, CC Sabathia.

"It surprised me," Banuelos said.

Deep in one corner of the clubhouse is Sabathia's locker. To Sabathia's left is Michael Pineda. To Sabathia's right is Banuelos. Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda are on the same row. It is not by accident that Banuelos, the Yankees' top pitching prospect, can see how Sabathia and Garcia go about their work each day.

"That helps me a lot," Banuelos said. "They have a lot of experience here. They have a lot of years."

Sabathia knows the value of mentoring. As young Indian, he said he learned from guys like Dave Burba, Chuck Finley, Jim Thome, Ellis Burks and Matt Lawton. They taught Sabathia how to be a teammate first. Sabathia doesn't try to force anything on Banuelos or Pineda, but he knows if a young player hears the right words, it can contribute to the growth process.

"I think I would definitely be more brash than I was when I was younger," Sabathia said. "I would definitely always speak my mind to a certain extent. I had no filter back then. I was younger. I'm a lot more calm and laid-back than I was when I was a kid. That is definitely a tribute to the clubhouse I was in."

To read more about Banuelos click here.

There's a new lefty in camp

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
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Actually not so new. Andy Pettitte showed up today, in uniform, but before you get any crazy ideas, he's just in Tampa for a couple of days to serve as sort of informal "guest instructor'' for the pitchers. Pettitte stood behind the batting cage and watched Manny Banuelos throw live batting practice, then chatted with the writers for about 20 minutes.

Yes, he misses being around the guys. No, he's not coming back.

And maybe, just maybe, he'll throw some batting practice on Tuesday. He said he wants to; Joe Girardi said he'd like him to. We'll see if he does.
Keith Law's Top 100 prospects are out. The Yankees have four players on the list. Those who follow this closely know who Mason Williams is, those who don't soon will. Here is what Law says about the Yankees' top prospects:

On No. 23 Manny Banuelos:
Banuelos' season started out on the wrong foot, as he had to go home to Mexico for a personal matter in April, missing some ramp-up time that set him back in his routine and his pitch counts. He pitched into the seventh inning only twice all year, so he needs to build up more stamina in 2012.

When he's right, he'll show an above-average fastball at 90-94 mph (but was a tick below that in 2011), an above-average to plus changeup and a solid-average curveball with good two-plane break. His command and control were off all year, especially to right-handed hitters, and no matter how good your changeup is, you're not getting opposite-side hitters out if you can't locate your fastball first.

Everything still points to Banuelos commanding the ball in the long term as he did before 2011, and much of the disappointment in his season is a function of our high expectations for him. He still projects as a solid No. 2, assuming his previous level of command returns.
On No. 34 Mason Williams:
Williams, the son of former New England Patriot Derwin Williams, is an outstanding athlete who showed a much better approach and feel for the game in his first full year in pro ball than expected.

He's an above-average-to-plus runner with a plus arm, but the most impressive part of his game in 2011 was the quality of his at bats, which improved over the course of the summer. He's listed at 6 feet, 150 pounds, and has barely begun to fill out; much of the 'power' you see in his stat line was the product of his speed (six triples in 68 games), but he has the hip rotation and leverage to hit for real power when he's not quite so skinny. His bat is quick, but his stride is very long and he glides on to his front side, so he doesn't have as much time as he should to pick up off-speed pitch.

Williams finished second in the New York-Penn League in batting average, 10th in OBP, and 14th in slugging despite being one of the 10 youngest regulars in the league, and he's barely begun to scratch the surface of his ability.
On No. 55 Gary Sanchez:
Sanchez's first full year in pro ball had major positives and negatives -- the bat is more advanced than anyone thought, and the glove is less so.

He can really hit with present above-average power and projects to hit 30 to 35 homers a year down the road, having demonstrated a solid approach for an 18-year-old in full-season ball. Sanchez's priority is working on his bat, and his glove has lagged; he has arm strength, and has a better chance to remain a catcher than former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero, but Sanchez's receiving was terrible last year and he'll need to spend more time working on all aspects of his defense besides throwing. Sanchez's immaturity showed up publicly last year, as he was suspended for attitude issues, and while we can forgive him his youth, if it's affecting his play on the field, it affects his outlook until he matures.

He could be a star, the worthy successor to Jorge Posada, if he puts the effort into learning his craft behind the plate.
At No. 83 Dellin Betances:
At 6-foot-8, 260 pounds, Betances is huge, throws hard and has a history of missing bats since coming back from Tommy John surgery. But there's still a strong sentiment among pro scouts that he ends up in the bullpen long-term because of command questions. He'll pitch in the low 90s but runs it up to 97 mph and would likely sit 94-97, if not better, in relief. The curveball remains wildly inconsistent, with outings when he doesn't have it at all and outings when it looks like an above-average pitch.

Betances is not a good athlete and struggles to maintain a consistent delivery. When he's in sync, he takes a good, long stride to the plate with a mild shoulder tilt but only a little bit of torque from his hips, generating velocity from his stride and arm. He's also a below-average fielder for a pitcher, not a critical flaw but something you'd rather not see. He's 23 now, still not very experienced, but he has size and velocity you can't teach. The lack of progress and athleticism make a bullpen role more likely than a spot in the top half of a rotation.

25Q/25D: When will the Killer B's arrive?

January, 29, 2012
1/29/12
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25 Questions, 25 Days: Day Five

The Killer B's, lefthander Manny Banuelos and righty Dellin Betances, are those dream prospects tucked away in the minors like Christmas presents that fans can’t wait to unwrap. One day it will really be Dec. 25, so when does the future become the present?

“They just have to refine their command,” Yankees VP of Player Development Mark Newman said. “Just learn how to pitch.”

They will both start at Triple-A in 2012, but Banuelos, 20, is probably closer to the big leagues than the 23-year-old Betances. Last year, Banuelos’ combo numbers from Double-A and Triple-A were 6-7 with a 3.75 ERA. The number that must improve is his walks. He walked 71 in 129 2/3 innings, which is nearly five per every nine innings.

Baneulos, like many young pitchers, must improve his precision. Even his fastball, which often develops before the secondary stuff, needs to be located more consistently. Still, he was the highlight of last spring with none other than Mariano Rivera declaring him the best pitching prospect he has ever seen in Yankee camp.

Even though Betances was on the major league club in late September, he is still behind Banuelos. His overall numbers last year were 4-9 with a 3.70 ERA. Like Banuelos, he also nearly walked five batters for every nine innings. At 6-foot-8, he is a classic guy that scouts love a lot because of his potential, but wonder if he can coordinate those large body parts fluidly enough to be consistent.

It would seem that the additions of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda would have give Banuelos and Betances more time to develop. A member of the organization said that they would not have rushed Banuelos or Betances even without Pineda and Kuroda. He pointed to David Phelps and Adam Warren, legit depth guys who could step in if there is poor performance or injury at the major league level.

(Plus, if the Yankees hadn’t made the Jesus Montero deal, they would still have Hector Noesi). So Banuelos and Betances will arrive in the majors at their own pace.

The earliest, I believe, we could see them with the big club is June. For that to happen, they will have to dominate at Triple-A and outperform Phelps and Warren. Plus, there will have to be a need because of lack of performance or injury among the major league starters.

How else could we see them? The Yankees considered Banuelos as a lefty reliever last year. There were some in the organization, including Stick Michael, who thought he would come quicker. The thought was he could be the lefty specialist. It stands to reason that could be in play this year if Banuelos is up to it and there is a need.

Betances could also be a candidate for a relief role, in theory, but he has limited experience in that area and there is quite the logjam in front of him.

If neither arrives in 2012, a year from now, Banuelos and Betances -- if they aren't traded -- should be legit candidates to compete for the starting rotation. For this to happen, they have to control their pitches and dominate Triple-A.

Here is the question: Do you want to see the Yankees bring these guys up in relief like they did with Joba?

Tomorrow: Will the real Phil Hughes please stand up?
The Yankees have been mentioned as prominent players in the scramble to obtain Matt Garza from the Cubs, who have made it clear they are open for business on the 28-year-old righthander.

But the word out of Yankeeville-- also known this winter as The Land of No -- is that the asking price is out of the question. The problem is not money this time, at least not immediately -- Garza will make about $8 million this year and is not eligible for free agency for two more season -- but prospects; like everyone else in baseball, the Cubs are demanding at least two, and possibly all three, of the Yankees Holy Trinity of Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.

If the Yankees wouldn't part with Eduardo Nunez for Cliff Lee, you can bet they're not parting with even two of those three for Matt Garza.
After being a spring training sensation last year, Manny Banuelos looked as if he might shoot all the way through the system and to the majors. At least, that is what super scout Gene (Stick) Michael thought.

"I thought he might come a lot faster," Michael said here at the Winter Meetings. "I like him. He has a good arm. He has a great change-up, an above-average curveball. He needs to locate a little better. Maybe not pick quite as much as he was. But he is going to be a good one.

"He probably tries to hit spots a little too much. He should let his stuff work for him maybe a little more. I had a scout that told me -- and I'm using a line that a scout told me -- I said, 'I thought he was going to come a little faster, but the scout said to me -- and this is a good line, too -- 'He'll figure it out.'"

Banuelos, 20, was 6-7 with a 3.75 ERA at Double- and Triple-A. He is expected to start next season at Triple-A, but he could be up at some point.

Danks proposal

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
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A name, if you haven't already, you are going to hear connected with the Yankees is John Danks.

What would you give up for a 26-year-old lefty who was 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA? In 2010, he was 15-11 with a 3.72 ERA.

He only has one more year left on his contract and then he can become a free agent.

There was a report that the White Sox asked for Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos for Danks. A Yankee official said that was not true. The Yankees, I doubt, would include even one of those two fro Danks.

Would you want Danks? If so, what would you give up for him?
When asked if Manny Banueolos or Dellin Betances would start at Triple-A this year, Yankees GM Brian Cashman left the door open.

"Probably," Cashman said. "But you never know."

You do never know, but the bet here is that Banueolos has to locate his fastball better and Betances needs to control his mechanics and dominate Triple-A before you will see them as a regular part of the rotation.

Banuelos, 20, combined to go 6-7 with a 3.75 ERA last year at Double-A and Tirple-A. In 129 2/3 innings, he struck out 125 and walked 71. That is almost five walks per nine innings, which is too many. He needs to get that down. But the youngster Mariano Rivera told me was the best pitching prospect he has ever seen, will again be the center of attention during the spring. Still, it seems like he won't be in the majors until mid-season, at the earliest, and a lot of things would have to happen to make that come true.

Betances got a taste of the majors at the end of the season, but I think he may be further from returning than Banuelos. Betances was part of the 40-man, while Banuelos wasn't. The Yankees don't have to protect Banueolos in the Rule-V draft because he was not called up for active duty, which will allow them to save a player. Betances, as part of the 40-man, had no roster implications.

In six innings 2 2/3 major league innings, Betances had six walks. He needs to be able to control his 6-foot-8 frame before he can be a regular member of the Yankees staff. He is just 23 so he has time, but he needs to show he can handle Triple-A before he is realistic option for the big club.

In Double-A and Triple-A combined, he was 4-9 with a 3.70 ERA. He struck out 142 in 126 1/3 innings. He also walked too many batters. He had 70 walks overall, which is five for every nine innings.

So they both need to be able to throw strikes before they will be trusted in the Bronx with a prominent role. Even Cashman admits it "probably" won't be at the beginning of the season. In my opinion, it won't be until mid-year, at best, and maybe not at all next season.

Yankees Briefing 11/5/11

November, 5, 2011
11/05/11
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With their biggest offseason hurdles out of the way – the re-signings of Brian Cashman and CC Sabathia -- the Yankees can now focus on some of the other needs for their team, most importantly help for the starting rotation.

Discussion of the Day: Since it’s now just past two years to the day that the Yankees won the World Series, what is your favorite memory of the 2009 season?

Behind Enemy Lines: Jackie MacMullen chronicles Ben Cherington's rise to GM of the Red Sox. The Yankees haven't had a new GM in over a decade, and Cherington will face unique challenges with the Boston team.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that Brian Cashman doesn’t have a clear vision for the Yankees.

The Yankees’ GM is returning to the Yankees for three more years, but the current offseason posits a quandary in that the best free agents available don’t suit the Yankees’ current needs and that the team’s most highly touted prospects outside of Jesus Montero might not yet be ready to take on a full season at the major league level. Still, the Yankees have already re-signed CC Sabathia, which was arguably their biggest offseason task, and Cashman’s ultimate goal for the Yankees – to win the World Series – remains.

2) Ian O’Connor praises Sabathia’s new deal with the Yankees.

In three years as a Yankee, Sabathia has averaged just under 20 wins a season, with an ERA that’s gotten better each year as a Yankee, and about 200 strikeouts a year. Further, Sabathia has remained health, even despite concerns about his weight. Sabathia has been worth every penny for the Yankees; had he reached free agency he would have easily become the most-sought after free agent pitcher on the market. The Yankees got to retain their ace, for less of a price than he would have commanded on the free agent market, and while rotation concerns remain, they need not be as serious as they might otherwise have been.

3) Eric Schultz at The Yankee Analysts takes a look at the Yankees in-house pitching depth.

Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are the biggest names, as concern pitchers, in the Yankees’ system, but Hector Noesi, Adam Warren and David Phelps could all make significant inroads in 2012. The biggest issue with depth is that it only lasts as long as one doesn’t need to use it, and if Warren or Phelps or Noesi struggle at the major league level, the Yankees will need to have a fall-back plan. Banuelos and Betances might offer the highest ceilings, but the Yankees will not push their star prospects too far too fast. It’s more than likely at least one of the pitchers will be involved in a trade, though for who remains yet to be known.


4) The writers at River Ave Blues took a look at what went right, what went wrong and what went as expected for the 2011 season.

While it’s easy to say that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia had better-than-expected seasons for the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez did not, the review of the team as a whole is a reminder that in any baseball season, nothing will go entirely to plan, and that despite the problems the Yankees had, they still had enough go right to make the playoffs and take the Tigers to a fifth game in the ALDS.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 22
RBIB. McCann 71
RB. Gardner 85
OPSB. Gardner .757
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.77
SOM. Tanaka 139