by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Acquired as part of the trade that sent Steven Souza to Arizona, left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda is set to join the Tampa Bay Rays and make at least one start. How long he stays remains to be seen, but he would appear to be an intriguing option considering his 3.50 ERA and 11.0 K/9 over 36.0 innings at Triple-A. The key word is “appear”, obviously, as there are questions.
Prior to the season we had graded him as a “B-“ prospect, which had him fall short of the Rays’ Top 10. At the time we cited a few concerns, so let’s take a look at those and try to determine if he’s answered them or not:
Banda spent the year at Triple-A, before reaching the Majors, and struggled to a 5.39 ERA. While there is upside, he failed to show a standout skill:
- Strikeouts – 8.56 K/9 (10.3% SwStr%)
- Walks – 3.76 BB/9
- Groundballs – 42.0%
The lack of groundballs is a particular concern, especially now that he’ll have to try and maneuver through the AL East with regular matchups against the Yankees and Red Sox. Just imagine what the newly added sluggers like Giancarlo Stanton (.323/.449/.764 against LHP in ’17) and J.D. Martinez (.376/.464/.892 against LHP in ’17) may do against him.
He is a left-handed pitcher who throws hard, and that’s going to keep him on radars and afford him more opportunities to stick as a starting pitcher. However with the control and home run issues looming large, he’s a tough sell.
Control – With a 4.00 BB/9 at Triple-A this season, it remains a significant concern.
Groundballs – A 42.1% groundball rate in ’18 is on par with last year’s mark, and while he didn’t get burned by the long ball (0.25 HR/9) facing the right-handed power that fills the AL East will ultimately pose a problem.
Strikeouts – His SwStr% has ballooned to 13.4%, though it’s been fairly hit or miss as he has four starts with 8 K and three starts with 4 K (including his last two starts, with 8 K over 11.1 IP).
We can point towards a .375 BABIP as a reason for the bloated WHIP, but that’s not enough of an excuse. There are concerns, especially since he could just be up for the double-header tomorrow. There could be upside, but it’s not to the level of some of the other recently recalled starters and therefore it’s hard to get excited even if he sticks in the rotation moving forward.
Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:
- 10 Team League – Not worth owning
- 12 Team League – Not worth owning
- 14+ Team League – Worth stashing, but hard to trust
- AL-Only League – Worth gamble
- Keeper/Dynasty – Worth stashing, but hard to trust
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs
Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings? Make sure to check it out by clicking here. Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists: