Manny Banuelos has inspired equal parts excitement and frustration since signing with the New York Yankees for $450,000 in 2008. After six turbulent seasons in professional baseball, however, the 23-year-old left-hander is finally poised to vindicate the club that signed him more than a half-decade ago.
Banuelos, who missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgey, is ready to compete this spring for a spot in the major-league rotation after logging 76 2/3 innings between three minor-league levels last year.
“He was able to achieve the objective to build innings and increase the workload,” Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler told George King of Baseball America. “He was on a plan designed by Gil Patterson and monitored by our medical people.”
Once lauded as the Yankees' top pitching prospect, Banuelos boasts a 3.29 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP over six seasons as a professional, managing a 23.5 percent strikeout rate while allowing 31 home runs over 446 innings (0.6 per nine)
“Everybody walked away feeling good,” said Eppler, who noted that Banuelos’ fastball averaged 91.7 mph and touched 95, which was about where it was before the surgery. “He is still in the stage of where you have to watch him but he will be ready to roll in spring training. He will come in and compete for a job. The velocity was there and he developed a cutter as well.”