by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Braves acquisition of Manny Banuelos from the Yankees this offseason went somewhat under the radar. New York received David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve in exchange for the once top prospect, giving up on a player once viewed as a future rotation cornerstone.
Atlanta is primed to be the benefactor, as Banuelos has starred at Triple-A this season and is set to make his Major League debut later today. In 70.2 IP he’s posted a 2.29 ERA and 8.02 K/9 which, when coupled with a bit of name value, has got some anxiously awaiting his arrival. However sometimes things aren’t quite what they appear to be.
Banuelos has struggled with his control, posting a 4.33 BB/9. That’s been a consistent issue for him (4.37 since 2011) and could easily cost him in the Majors. As it is he’s carrying a 1.36 WHIP at Triple-A, in part thanks to the poor control.
It also hasn’t been one poor month for Banuelos, skewing the numbers:
- April – 4.43
- May – 3.62
- June – 5.50
Control issues get accentuated even more when there is potential home run problems at play. While he’s posted a 0.25 HR/9 this season, he was at 1.17 in 2014. He also owns a 40.3% groundball rate and will pitch in Turner Field. That’s simply not a good combination.
Walks + Home Runs = Potential Disaster
It doesn’t matter how many strikeouts, though it gets that much worse since we’d expect him to be in the 7.0-7.5 range. There simply isn’t much to get excited about at the moment.
Banuelos currently ranks #11 among Braves’ prospects according to MLB.com. They describe him by saying:
“At his best, Banuelos attacks hitters with four average or better offerings. His fastball velocity returned in 2014, as he consistently threw the pitch up to 94 mph. His curveball and changeup are solid offerings, and he has added a cutter to his arsenal.
Having stayed healthy and recovered his stuff in 2014, Banuelos once again appears to be on the cusp of the big leagues entering 2015. The Braves believe he still has all the tools necessary to be a solid starting pitcher.”
Sure there is potential, but there also is tremendous risk. While he’s worth owning in dynasty formats, those in redraft leagues should be able to find a better gamble (outside of NL-Only and the deepest of mixed formats). Monitor him, just in case, but in most cases don’t bother.
Sources – Minor League Central, MLB.com