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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Top 10 Players from 2011 - No. 9: Manny Banuelos


Why He's Here: Continuing the theme from last week, Banuelos was the other of Trenton's big-name pitching prospects from 2011. Like his much taller counterpart, there were a lot of ups and downs to his season, and as such he wasn't able to provide that true No. 1 starter the team missed all year long.

Just like Betances, Banuelos flashed excellent pure stuff all year long but struggled to command the strike zone and regulate his pitches deep into games. For whatever reason, only a few parks in the Eastern League keep pitching counts, so the data is shoddy.

That said, here are the three games from this season during which pitch counts were recorded, one from April, one from May and one from June:

April 25 - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 SO, 2 BB, 2 HB -- 73 pitches, 47 strikes
May 27 - 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO -- 90 pitches, 47 strikes
June 23 - 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 6 SO -- 96 pitches, 61 strikes

As you can see, none of those starts was bad. In fact, the Thunder won the latter two (though the middle win came because the game was completed early because of incredibly dense fog at Portland's Hadlock Field). The point remains, though: For Banuelos to live up to his potential No. 2 starter down the line, he must increase his pitch efficiency. Forty-seven strikes in 90 pitches is simply not going to cut it.

From a purely team-oriented standpoint, the elevated pitch counts got him out of the game sooner, thus taxing the bullpen. All that work caught up to the relievers late in the season, which certainly contributed to the Thunder's monumental late-season collapse. 

Most Memorable Moment: This is going to be incredibly obscure, but Banuelos threw two curveballs this year that stood out from every other pitch I saw from him. Both were for third strikes and featured devastating two-plane break. They reminded me very much of the hook thrown by Oakland's Brett Anderson.

If you're looking for a game, it's probably the duel he had with Casey Crosby -- one of Detroit's brightest young arms -- at Erie's Jerry Uht Park.

After allowing five runs on 11 hits in is previous 8 2/3 innings, Banuelos posted six zeroes with seven strikeouts, and worked around three walks and a hit batsman in the process. It was one of just two starts he made with the Thunder that lasted six innings or longer and, to that point, it was his best start of the year.

Outlook for 2012: Unless he breaks camp with the Yankees (which I think is unlikely), Banuelos is headed into the rotation of the Empire State Yankees as they tour the Northeast on a seemingly interminable string of bus rides. 

2 Comments:

Blogger Andreea said...

Wow he's studly

December 26, 2011 at 4:36 PM 
Anonymous Plank said...

River Ave Blues gives pitch and strike counts for every pitcher for every game in the Yankees minor league system. Maybe they have it all collected there, or maybe someone put it in a spreadsheet.

December 26, 2011 at 7:35 PM 

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