On Sunday it was Dellin Betances who had the big day and yesterday it was Manuel Banuelos‘ turn. In a 6-2 loss to the Tigers yesterday, Banuelos faced three batters over three innings and struck out two of them.
Buster Olney described him as impressive as he struck out both batters on curveballs. He said he was hitting 93 mph consistently and hit 95 once.
Unfortunately Banuelos’ performance was not televised, but he has been on TV in the past. He features a fastball that he commands very well, a strong curveball, and an even more impressive changeup. He also knows how to use his pitches to get hitters out which is potentially the most important thing.
Like Betances though, it’s easy to get excited by Banuelos, but we must remember that he’s still not ready in 2011 even if his stuff looks like it sometimes. First of all, he’s still only 19 even though it’s easy to forget that. Even if he stayed in the minors for another two full seasons, he would still be one of the youngest pitchers in all of baseball.
It is also important to note that his arm is not nearly built up enough. In his minor league career the most innings he threw was 109 back in 2009. Last season an appendectomy limited him to just 64.2 innings. Even with his Arizona Fall League experience that is not nearly enough to jump to potentially 200 innings in the big leagues.
Banuelos will be in the Bronx soon enough, but right now is too soon. It’s possible that he could debut later on in the season, especially if the Yankees need a lefty reliever. Realistically he’s a 2012 option though and it is important to remember that. Having him break camp with the team is just too soon.