A fellow blogger asked me for some advice this morning: what do you do when you want (or need) to write an article about a player, but you aren't sure you have anything worthy of saying?
Don't kid yourself, Dear Readers: that happens to every writer, particularly in the blogosphere: an event or a person needs to be covered, but try as you might you don't have anything pithy to say. Sometimes you can cover for that by writing an article as a straight news story, but in the baseball player analysis/pundit business more is usually expected.
My advice was that, when faced with such a situation, to take the player or topic in question and turn it into a discussion topic for readers. That works quite well here at Minor League Ball given our active and intelligent community, and today I need to take my own advice.
The subject today is Atlanta Braves rookie Manny Banuelos. He's made two starts this month since moving up from Triple-A and has performed decently, giving up one run in 11 combined innings in outings against the Nationals and Brewers, with seven hits allowed and an 8/3 K/BB. Before his promotion he had a 2.29 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett, with a 69/38 K/BB in 83 innings, 63 hits allowed.
As you no doubt remember, Banuelos as a hot prospect in the Yankees system for several years but missed most of two seasons trying recover from Tommy John surgery. His stuff didn't look as good last year despite being healthy and he was traded to the Braves over the winter.
He's still not throwing as hard as he did pre-surgery: he hit 94-96 in the old days but tops out at 91 now, though his secondary pitches look better this season and as noted he's performed well.
But aside from that, I don't have anything insightful to say about him. Based on his Triple-A numbers and his scouting reports I think he's a number four starter at this point, but I haven't studied his first two big league starts closely.
However, some of you no doubt have. So let's turn this into a discussion topic and share some insights.
***If you have seen Banuelos pitch this year, in person or on TV, what are your impressions? I am particularly interested in his big league outings.
***What is your projection for his future? Fourth starter? Reliever? Or something better?