As you may know, I also post on the minors throughout the year. There was one thing over 2014 that disturbed me, and that was the lack of innings I was seeing from Manny Banuelos.
Now I know that Banuelos was coming back off of Tommy John surgery. He missed most of 2012 and all of 2013. So “babying” him at the beginning of the year was no surprise.
But over the course of the year, I kept waiting for outings that were longer. Where were the five, six, seven inning outings? Banuelos started 25 games in 2014, relieved in one more and threw a total of 76 2/3 innings. That is 3 innings/start and a 1 2/3 inning relief outing if you want to look at it that way.
Starters need to give innings. Banuelos didn’t in 2014 whether it be to his fault or the Yanks babying him. But here is another thing. With young pitchers, you don’t want to increase their workload more than 30 innings from the previous year. Which means only 107 innings in 2015? That, for a starter, won’t do.
Which is why the Yanks may have seen him as only a reliever. And if they saw it that way, Banuelos was in trouble and it could be why he was traded. Miller, Wilson, Shreve are three lefties that could all be with the Yanks in 2015. All have MLB experience.
Then you have fast-rising Jacob Lindgren. The Yanks first round pick of 2015 went 2-1, 2.16 in 19 games from rookie ball right through AA and struck out 48 in 25 innings. You read that right. Fast riser, indeed. While Shreve is 24, Lindgren is 22 soon.
Then you have Tyler Webb, 24, who went from A to AAA last year, 3-6, 3.80, 12 saves and 94 K in 68 2/3 IP.
James Pazos, 23, was in A and AA last year. 0-3, 2.42, 10 saves and 75 K in 67 IP.
Four lefties, 24 years old or less, and that is not counting Miller or Wilson, and all with K/IP ratios of over 1.00. Good.
Maybe Cashman takes two of them and uses them in a package deal for a solid starter, maybe not. But if Banuelos couldn’t give the innings as a starter, and the Yanks thought he would have to go to relief, he had stiff competition.
Not only that, but as a starter he had competition. Jaron Long, a righty (Kevin Long’s son) went 12-5, 2.18 between A and AA levels in 2014. He actually threw 144 1/3 innings in 2014. By contrast, Banuelos has topped 100 innings pitched in a season only once since 2009.
I’m not sold yet on Chase Whitley (started great, 2.56 ERA but wound up 4-3, 5.23, he’s 25) Esmiel Rogers or Bryan Mitchell (unimpressive minor league numbers) but don’t forget about Luis Severino.
Severino, 21 in February, was 6-5, 2.46, in going from Low A to AA last year. He struck out 127 in 113 1/3 IP. Hopefully he can be stretched out to 145 innings or so. Who knows if he can make a jump from AA to the majors. Maybe in 2016.
There is only so much room. There were lefty relievers ahead of Man-Ban on the depth chart, and apparently he dropped behind some other pitchers as a starter too, like Long and Severino.
That is, if the Yanks still considered Banuelos to be a starter. After averaging just three innings per start last year, and having only one season of 100 or more innings since 2009, maybe they didn’t.
And if so, it cleared the way for Man-Ban to be dealt, while his stock was still good.
For if Banuelos (Man-Ban) had a year in 2015 like he had in 2014, the Yanks wouldn’t get two major leaguers, one a 24 year old prospect who has already hit the majors for him.
You wonder what, if anything, that they would have gotten then.