Last Saturday Manuel Banuelos pitched in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase. He was impressive as he tossed two innings and struck out three.
Here is what ESPN’s Keith Law had to say about his performance:
… a ridiculous changeup that had plus arm speed and hard, late fading action, and he touched 94 as well. I don’t see much physical projection with Banuelos, who is already pretty maxed out physically (unless he gets taller — he is just 19), but his feel for pitching and fastball command are extremely advanced and tightening his curveball would give him three above-average or better pitches too.
MLB Network aired the game live. It was my first chance to see Banuelos pitch and it was impressive. He did allow a run, but it was unearned. I have seen a handful of 19-year-0lds pitch at the professional level (mostly in short season A-ball) and he looked better than all of them.
It’s a big jump from there to the next level and the major leagues so he’s got a long way to go. He’ll turn 20 during spring training which gives him plenty of time before he’s ready for the majors. Realistically he should probably spend all of 2011 in the minors and probably at least part of 2012 too.
It’s great to hear he’s doing so well though. It’s really something to look forward to in the future.