Manny Banuelos just learned that baseball can be a very fickle game.
Banuelos, 23, was once one of the gem’s of the Yankees farm system. He was ranked as a consensus top 50 prospect prior to the 2011 and 2012 seasons and was – alongside his “Killer B’s” teammate, Dellin Betances – expected to anchor New York’s rotation for years to come.
Despite all of that promise, Manny Banuelos is now a Brave. The Yankees traded the lefthander to Atlanta on Thursday evening in exchange for relievers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve.
Signed out of Mexico in 2008, Banuelos made great strides in the Yankees farm system and seemed poised to be a big part of the club’s future before things went off the rails in 2012.
He struggled out of the gates before an arm injury cost him most of the season. He eventually had Tommy John surgery in October of the same year. He missed all of 2013 rehabbing after surgery and – when he did make his way back to the mound in 2014 – Banuelos was largely ineffective.
He pitched across three minor league levels and posted a meager 4.11 ERA, with a 71/31 K/BB ratio, 11 wild pitches, five hit batters, and he gave up 10 home runs in 76 2/3 innings spread over 26 games.
Apparently, that was enough for the Yankees to move on from the talented southpaw and continue revamping their bullpen with two solid arms from Atlanta.
Carpenter, 29, has been a solid piece of the Braves bullpen the last two seasons posting a tidy 2.63 ERA, 1.121 WHIP, a 141/36 K/BB ratio, and averaging 10 K/9 making him one of the most effective relievers in the National League.
Throughout his four year career in the big leagues, the right-hander has a solid 3.62 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, and a 201/65 K/B ratio in 186.2 innings. His numbers are inflated by a very poor showing in 2012 split between Houston and Toronto before hitting his stride in Atlanta.
Carpenter figures to work as an elite setup man alongside whichever one of the aforementioned Betances or Andrew Miller doesn’t win the closer’s job in spring training.
Shreve, 24, made his big league debut with the Braves in 2014 and posted a sparkling 0.73 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, and a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 innings spread over 15 appearances with the big club. His minor league numbers were equally impressive last season with a 2.67 ERA, 0.984 WHIP, 87/12 K/BB ratio, and 12.2 K/9 in 64 total innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
He has always had big-time strikeout potential, averaging nearly a strikeout per inning throughout his minor league tenure, but control has been his biggest issue. If the lefty can replicate the success he had in 2014, he’ll be a big part of the Yankees bullpen for years to come.
I think both clubs walk away pretty happy here. The Yankees shore up their bullpen with two electric arms. The Braves, entering into an odd quasi-rebuild as they wait for their new stadium to open, get their hands on restoration project that was once a former top prospect.
More than anything this move shows how quickly a player’s stock can tumble in baseball. Banuelos went from can’t-miss-prospect to trade fodder in just over two years’ time.
Talk about a fickle game.