We recently released our annual top 100 prospects list here at Scout.com, and to follow that up we will be providing team quality first-hand scouting reports on select prospects from that list over the course of the off-season. Here’s a scouting report on prospect #9 from that list, Manny Banuelos.
Name: Manny Banuelos
Team: New York Yankees
Events Scouted: MiLB Season
Banuelos had added some bulk to his frame in the last year or so, but he still will never have height on his side. He's strongly built and weighs significantly more than his listed weight. He's at a perfect weight right now, and will have to be careful about letting his frame get away from him as he gets older.
Known to have well-above-average command in prior seasons, Banuelos had some issues in that department in 2011. But, for the most part he is very consistent with his delivery. Working from a high-three-quarters arm angle, he gets excellent extension out in front and creates a nice downward angle despite his lack of height. Sometimes he does run into the common problem of working underneath his pitches, however, and his typically sharp offerings flatten out up in the zone. It's a rut he will get into now and then, but at his age it's far from a serious issue.
Topping out at around 96-97 mph, there's no doubting Banuelos' fastball. He sits mostly around 92-95 mph and has the impressive life necessary to miss bats in the big leagues. However, he needs to have his command of his fastball bounce back. Once a huge strength, Banuelos had some issues locating his fastball in 2011. Getting ahead with the fastball will give him the advantage of going to his impressive secondary pitches.
The curveball has always been an x-factor for Banuelos. When he's right, it's a 60 pitch on the 20-80 scale. He throws it at 75-79 mph with tight, 11-5 action. But, the problem is that it's not always there for him. He needs to be sure he's getting through the pitch, or else you'll see him consistently missing high and away to righties. It's a potential plus pitch, but the consistently does need to come along.
It's been his best pitch since he first turned pro and it's still the case today. Banuelos has a swing and miss changeup he throws at 79-82 mph with some outstanding fade to his arm side. He'll miss bats at any level with this pitch and it remained consistent for him command wise in 2011.
Don't forget just how young Manny Banuelos is. He'll only be 21-years-old on opening day and he already has Triple-A experience. So, some mild command issues as he adjusts to some new found velocity is not a big issue at this stage. He's a lefty with the potential for three plus pitches and a feel for pitching well beyond his years. He will overcome some of the speed bumps he hit in 2011 and continue to develop into a front end type starter.