Manny Banuelos is listed at a mere 5-foot-11, 155 pounds, but he sure doesn’t live up to that stature on the mound. With a bulldog mentality and good downard tilt, he pitches more like he's 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.
Recovering from an early season blister on his pitching index finger, Banuelos has rebounded with no ill effect. If you're looking for a player who could shift some MLB odds in a hurry and stick around for a while, he's someone to keep an eye on.
In his April 25th start at Richmond, Banuelos’ fastball ranged between 90-94 MPH with good downward angle and slight arm side run. He geared the pitch up to 93-94 MPH in swing-and-miss counts and sat 91-92 MPH for the majority of the night. He will overthrow his fastball at times -- hit two batters and walked two in this particular 4.2 inning outing. When he's under control, Banuelos pumps his fastball for strikes at the knees.
He compliments his fastball well with a changeup that looks deadly similar, in terms of arm action, to his fastball. He releases his changeup from a high, over-the-top slot. It dives low and away to righties and generates plenty of swings and misses. He'll throw his changeup, which sat in the 80-83 MPH range, early in the count or ahead in the count to righties. In this outing, he was forced to use it to lefties, as his curveball was inconsistent all night.
When on, his curveball on is good pitch for him, but he can struggle when it comes to commanding it in the zone. It sat 76-79 MPH in this outing. Banuelos has the arm slot to develop a good slider that he could throw as a power strikeout pitch. Still a youngster for the upper minors, he has plenty of time to further refine his curveball or develop a slider.
Banuelos has a near Major-League-ready arm, and he's very young for Double-A. As soon as he's able to consistently throw a breaking ball for strikes, he'll be ready to face off against Major League hitters.