MLB Bound: Will The Freshly Recalled Brandon Woodruff or Anthony Banda Make An Impact?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Today we’ll see two pitchers summoned from Triple-A to make important starts for playoff contenders.  What can we expect from each?  Is there any upside over the remainder of the season?  Let’s take a quick look:

 

Brandon Woodruff – Milwaukee Brewers
He was supposed to make his debut a few weeks back, but a hamstring injury just before the game cost him that chance.  He certainly deserves the opportunity, as his 4.46 ERA over 15 Triple-A starts is a bit deceiving.  He’s flashed all three skills that we look for from a starting pitcher:

  • Strikeouts – 8.67 K/9
  • Walks – 2.97 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 48.1%

A lot of his “issues” has been poor luck, including a .320 BABIP (despite an 18.1% line drive rate) and 63.9% strand rate.  His home ballpark, which is among the more unfriendly confines in the Pacific Coast League, also plays a role:

  • Home – 5.75 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
  • Road – 3.19 ERA, 1.12 WHIP

The owner of a minor league BB/9 of 2.5, his arsenal should play well in the Majors:

“Woodruff’s fastball operates at 93-95 mph with late sinking action that helps him miss barrels and consistently generate ground-ball outs. His slider is the better of his two secondary pitches, receiving above-average grades from scouts, though his changeup has the chance to be at least a Major League-average offering.”

The makeup and upside is there to have a significant impact over the remainder of the season if he sticks in the rotation as an innings limit is not looming (74.2 IP in ’17 after 158.0 last season).

Current Grade – B

 

Anthony Banda – Arizona Diamondbacks
His first MLB start was unimpressive (4 ER over 5.2 IP), and his 5.13 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 107.0 IP at Triple-A do not elicit much optimism for a strong performance this time around.  While he brings some strikeout potential (8.41 K/9), his control (3.70 BB/9) and relative lack of groundballs (40.3%) are concerning marks.

His control has never been impressive (3.3 BB/9 in the minor leagues), nor has he ever generated many groundballs (GO/AO):

  • 2017 – 1.01
  • Minor League Career – 1.11

The southpaw has also struggled against right-handed hitters this season, as they own a .270 BAA with 10 HR against him.  As if all of those numbers weren’t enough, this glowing report from MLB.com just adds to the skepticism:

“He has had success with a solid, if unspectacular, three-pitch mix, commanding all pitches fairly well. His fastball is above-average, thrown in the 90-95 mph range, and he’s shown the ability to reach back for more when he needs it. His curveball has developed into a plus pitch and he has good feel for his changeup. When he’s on his game, he executes his gameplan better than most.”

It all comes together for a fairly ugly outlook, both for ’17 and beyond.

Current Grade – C

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!

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