Yankees’ Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Considered by most to the unanimous top pitching prospect within the New York Yankees organization, big things were expected from Manny Banuelos this season as he continued to climb through the minor leagues. The 21 year old left-hander was expected to start with the team’s Triple-A Scranton affiliate with the possibility of a late season start in the Majors Leagues a realistic proposition. Things didn’t quite go as planned for either side and it would now seem as though the prognosis isn’t getting any better.

Spring Training 2014 will likely be the next chance for the Yankees to see their top pitching prospect, Manny Banuelos, on the mound. (Image Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE)

Banuelos made just 6 starts on the 2012 season, totaling 24.0 innings. He finished 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA and 8.2 K/9, but struggled with command and with runners on base. By mid-May the team had shut him down with what was described at the time as elbow soreness. The team conducted their usual array of examinations (MRI, etc.) but found no structural damage. So Banuelos was simply shut down for a few weeks until the arm felt better. By late-June he was back on a mound, throwing bullpen sessions at the team’s minor league training complex in Tampa. A lack of comfort in throwing his curveball and a nagging back issue led the Yankees to shut Banuelos down for the season on August 6th. The organization termed the injury at the time as a simple bone bruise and expressed an expectation that Banuelos would pitch in winter ball and join the team in Spring Training.

Late Tuesday afternoon a new announcement was made with regards to Banuelos, simply that he would be undergoing Tommy John Surgery on Thursday and will miss the entire 2013 season.

Now the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, who may have been MLB-ready next season, will have missed two full years of development and his prospect status will likely take a hit. Upon returning for the 2014 season Banuelos will still only be on the verge of his 24th birthday, so all is certainly not lost for the young left-hander from Mexico. But for New York, it’s a big blow for an organization hoping to infuse homegrown talent into an aging roster so that they can continue to ratchet payroll back under the luxury tax threshold. The team’s disappointment was apparent when Joe Girardi was asked about the announcement prior to Tuesday night’s game (per Mark Feinsand):

It’s not what you want to see out of your young players that you think have a bright future for you, but a lot of guys have had setbacks and went on to have great careers. He has an opportunity to heal up, get strong and be a factor after that. I’m sure it’s frustrating for him and it’s frustrating for us, but you have to make the most of it.

While you never wish that a player on an opposing team succumbs to injury (particularly when this writer happens to be more of a Yankees fan than a Sox one), losing Banuelos could benefit Boston simply based on the fact that the Sox won’t have to face him next season. Banuelos was described as “having the potential to be the Yankees best homegrown pitcher since Andy Pettitte” by Baseball America in their 2012 Prospect Handbook before the start of the 2012 season. They also project him to be a possible #2 starter once he reaches the Major Leagues. Had he remained healthy and continued to refine his pitches, it is entirely possible that he could have been a viable option for the Yankees next Spring as they assemble their rotation. Now those discussions will have to be pushed back at least another year. Boston’s had its fair share of problems facing the Yankee pitchers in the past, so delaying the addition of a second talented lefty to the New York rotation can’t be a bad thing for the Sox.

Topics: Boston Red Sox, Manny Banuelos, New York Yankees

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  • lyn

    I am a regular reader of this Red Sox page, so, when I opened it up today, anticipating stories about the Big Game tonight, I was shocked to see a huge picture of the Yankees logo on the featured story.

    Your piece was well written, but clearly on the wrong website.
    And, then you wrote: “(particularly when this writer happens to be more of a Yankees fan than a Sox one).”

    Why is a Yankee fan writing on my Red Sox website? Why don’t you take your writing talent and interest in the Yankees to a Yankees website?

    This is a page for Red Sox fans and Red Sox writers; how can we trust anything you say?

    Best of luck to you on some other website.

    • Aaron Somers

      Lyn, I appreciate the comment. But unfortunately, I have to at least partially disagree with you.

      While you’re first point is correct – this page is for news about and pertaining to the Sox – unfortunately that is only part of the way I view things. In order to fully understand what Boston is doing and why and what their chances at, it’s important to understand what the competition is doing. And to me, it’s big news when one of Boston’s chief rivals loses a key player (even if just a prospect) for a major injury. But, that is my opinion and everyone is entitled to theirs.

      Furthermore, just because I am not principally a fan of a team, why does that mean I am not qualified to write about them and to do so objectively? Sure, my opinions may not be based on the passion that many Sox fans have – which is a lot, let me tell you. But I’m more than knowledgeable about the franchise, the roster, the organization, and the history. I’ve lived outside of Boston for a long time and have been surrounded by Sox fans all my life. I go to and watch as many games as I can. I’m no stranger to this team. But no, I don’t bleed Red Sox red. Does that really disqualify me from expressing an educated opinion?

  • jason

    What does this have to do with the Red Sox? Why is it posted on the Red Sox site?

    • Aaron Somers

      Jason, please see my comment below explaining my thought process here.