MANNY BANUELOS, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: March 13, 1991
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2008 (Yankees)
How Acquired: Trade (with Yankees)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|After signing out of Mexico, Banuelos quickly made his way up the Yankees’ prospect lists. At 5’10”, he was considered more of a finesse lefty, with low-90s velocity and a potentially good curve and change. His velocity eventually got up to 96-97. Once he reached the upper minors, Banuelos’ performance had a lot of ups and downs, and he’s repeatedly struggled with injuries, including Tommy John surgery back in 2013. His brief chances in the majors mostly haven’t gone well. His walk and K rates have been erratic, with the former often being a problem. He’s a ground ball pitcher and gopher balls generally haven’t been a significant problem in the minors, but they have in the majors. He’s had significant platoon splits in the minors.
The Yankees sent Banuelos to the GCL and he quickly got established as a prospect at age 17. He had a strong season and Baseball America ranked him as the team’s 14th best prospect after the season.
Banuelos pitched mostly in the rotation in low A and again had a strong season. BA moved him up to sixth in the system.
After having an appendectomy during spring training, Banuelos missed the start of the season. He eventually made ten starts in high A, which went very well, including a much-increased K rate. BA ranked him fourth in the system.
Banuelos continued to pitch well, but not quite as well, in AA. He did have considerably more trouble with walks. Banuelos finished the season with seven starts in AAA. BA ranked him second after the season.
Banuelos started having elbow pain after six AAA starts and was shut down. He had Tommy John surgery in October. The Yankees nevertheless added him to the 40-man roster after the season.
Banuelos missed the season following the surgery.
Banuelos worked his way back up to AAA after returning from the surgery. After the season, the Yankees traded him to Atlanta.
The Braves sent Banuelos to AAA to opened the season. He got excellent results there, although the analytics weren’t as impressive as his ERA; his xFIP was 4.11. The Braves called him up and he made his major league debut in July. Banuelos mostly struggled in the majors, then he missed much of the last couple months of the season due to a bone spur in his elbow that required surgery.
The surgery kept Banuelos out until late May. He went to AAA and didn’t pitch especially well, and Atlanta, having obtained a fourth option for him, used it. In August the Braves released him. He signed a minor league deal with the Angels a few days later, but he didn’t pitch again until the following year.
The Angels kept Banuelos in AAA all year, using him mostly as a reliever. He didn’t have a good season, getting hit fairly hard and having control issues. He became a free agent after the season and signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.
Banuelos again spent the season in AAA, mostly as a starter. He had a better season than the year before, with improved walk and K rates. After the season the Dodgers traded him to the White Sox, who added him to their 40-man roster.
The Sox kept Banuelos in the majors to start the season. He opened in the bullpen and pitched decently, then moved to the rotation. The move didn’t work out; Banuelos had a 4.50 ERA in relief and 8.05 as a starter. Starting in mid-June, Banuelos spent much of the rest of the season struggling with recurring left shoulder inflammation, and saw only limited action. Chicago outrighted Banuelos after the season and he elected free agency. Seattle signed him to a minor league deal.
Banuelos never appeared for the Mariners and they released him in May. He caught on in the Chinese Professional Baseball League and pitched well without dominating.
Banuelos pitched in both China and Mexico, mostly the former. He again pitched well. After the season he signed a minor league deal to return to his original organization, the Yankees.
In AAA, Banuelos pitched well, mostly as a starter. The Yankees called him up in late May and he got into four games as a reliever. He again pitched well, but was designated for assignment a month later. The Pirates obtained him for cash and he became their primary lefty out of the bullpen. He didn’t pitch especially well or badly for the Pirates, putting up mediocre numbers, but that’s generally more than enough for the Pirates. He was far more effective against left-handed batters, holding them to a .497 OPS, compared to .661 for right-handed batters.
The Pirates set the bar for relievers . . . well, pretty much for everybody . . . extremely low, which is why their bullpen collapsed in the last couple of months of 2022. When you typically need 3-4 relievers to get through a game and they’re all mediocre at best, most of the time at least one of them, often more, will have a rough day. The Pirates desperately need to try to find actual, good relievers, but their habit of clogging the roster with replacement-level pitchers prevents them from even trying. Banuelos wasn’t terrible for them in 2022, but “non-terrible” shouldn’t be the standard. They need to start adding relievers with legitimate upside to the roster.
|2023: Major League Minimum
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 7/2/2015
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2027
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2012
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
MLB Service Time: 2.106
|March 30, 2008: Signed by the New York Yankees as an international free agent.
November 20, 2012: Contract purchased by the New York Yankees.
January 1, 2015: Traded by the New York Yankees to the Atlanta Braves for Chasen Shreve and David Carpenter.
August 12, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves; released on August 13.
August 18, 2016: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Los Angeles Angels.
November 6, 2017: Became a free agent.
November 18, 2017: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
November 1, 2018: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Chicago White Sox for Justin Yurchak.
November 1, 2018: Called up by the Chicago White Sox.
October 28, 2019: Outrighted to AAA by the Chicago White Sox.
November 4, 2019: Elected free agency.
February 11, 2020: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Seattle Mariners.
May 28, 2020: Released by the Seattle Mariners.
January 8, 2022: Signed as a minor league free agent by the New York Yankees.
May 26, 2022: Called up by the New York Yankees.
June 28, 2022: Designated for assignment by the New York Yankees.
July 3, 2022: Traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates by the New York Yankees for cash considerations.