Manny Banuelos played in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase earlier this week, and then returns were quite positive. Keith Law had the following to say:
His opponent, Yankees lefty Manny Banuelos, was also excellent with a ridiculous changeup that had plus arm speed and hard, late fading action, and he touched 94 as well. I don’t see much physical projection with Banuelos, who is already pretty maxed out physically (unless he gets taller — he is just 19), but his feel for pitching and fastball command are extremely advanced and tightening his curveball would give him three above-average or better pitches too.
Manny’s changeup is starting to be viewed as one of the best in the minors, and his increase in fastball velocity has greatly increased his prospect standing. Kevin Goldstein of BP confirmed Law’s report, noting that “Banuelos showed multiple swing and miss offerings, which for now is what matters.”
People have been debating over the last few months how to rank the “Killer B’s” of Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman. I think Banuelos is the clear choice for the #1 slot, and would likely consider him the Yankees’ best prospect after Jesus Montero. He is now displaying top of the rotation stuff to go with strong command and plenty of polish, and does not have major injury concerns. While the other two may have slightly higher ceilings, they also have a much higher bust factor. I’d be much quicker to include either Brackman or Betances in a deal than Banuelos, and Manny’s performance in the Arizone Fall League has done nothing but confirm this evaluation.
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