Manny Banuelos trails only Jesus Montero in the Yankees‘ prospect rankings. Banuelos is clearly the best hurler the Yankees have in the minors, and he’ll get a long look in spring training this season.

If his career minor league statistics are any indication of his future successes, he’s going to be a quality pitcher for a long time.

Banuelos is the smallest of the Yankees young crop of hurlers. Listed at just 5′ 10″, he is a mere shadow to the gargantuan Dellin Betances. Also, Banuelos is just 155 pounds.

Luckily, his small stature has no bearing on his skill level.

Banuelos was signed by the Yankees as a 17-year-old out of Mexico in 2008. 

In his first professional season, Banuelos pitched in the Gulf Coast League. In 12 games (three starts), the young left-hander pitched to a 4-1 record with a 2.57 ERA. In 42 innings, he struck out 37.

He spent nearly the entire 2009 season with the Yankees Single-A affiliate in Charleston. The lone game that he didn’t pitch for Charleston was with High-A Tampa. 

Combined, Banuelos recorded a 9-5 record in 2009. In 109 innings, he posted a 2.67 ERA with 106 strikeouts. He displayed impeccable control, walking just 28 batters over the course of the season.

Banuelos’ biggest strides came in 2010, when he pitched at three separate minor league levels. He pitched in the Gulf Coast League, in High-A Tampa, and also in Double-A Trenton.

He would have began the season at Double-A Trenton, but an emergency appendectomy in spring training kept him sidelined until late-June. With just two rehab starts, he was ready to begin his season.

In total, he started 15 games in 2010. He threw 64.2 innings, while ringing up 85 batters. He posted a career-low 2.51 ERA. Despite very respectable stats, he posted an unimpressive record of 0-4.

Banuelos began his career with the Yankees as a frail left-hander whose fastball rarely topped 90 mph and whose off-speed pitches were inconsistent at best.

After spending three years in the Yankees’ system, Banuelos has developed very nicely. Still very frail, his fastball now ranges from 90-94, and has topped at 96.

His off-speed stuff has progressed as well, as he now features a changeup that fades away from right-handed hitters. His curveball is still a work in progress.

Banuelos has a very smooth, deceptive delivery that makes his pitches seem faster than they actually are. Although 94 is not overwhelmingly fast, his deceptiveness allows him to consistently pitch up in the zone.

His control and command has already been deemed Major League ready, and it’s still improving as he continues to grow and develop as a pitcher.

A growth spurt is probably out of the question for the 20-year-old Banuelos, so don’t expect much of a change in his figure.

No matter his size, Banuelos projects to be a top-of-the-rotation starter that the Yankees will be happy to have for years to come.

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