Those who stuck around long enough during last night’s Red Sox-Yankees game were given quite the treat.
In addition to watching the impressive glove work of Red Sox prospect shortstop Jose Iglesias (here’s an example of what you missed), Yankees prospect left-hander Manny Banuelos struck out three over two scoreless innings of work.
Banuelos, who turns 20 years old later this month, is widely considered the best pitching prospect in the Yankees’ farm system. The 5-foot-10 left-hander has a 2.59 ERA over his first 215 2/3 professional innings, averaging 9.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Baseball America recently ranked him as baseball’s 41st best prospect.
I hadn’t seen Banuelos pitch prior to last night, but I was mostly struck by just how smooth his delivery is for a 19-year-old. According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Russell Martin had even higher praise.
“He has as good stuff as I’ve seen,” said Russell Martin, who caught Banuelos’ two scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Friday. “I compare it to [Clayton] Kershaw or even more polished than Kershaw, which is pretty good.”
Oh boy. The New York hype machine has found its new best friend.
The entire Marlins roster will wear the number 16 on the backs of their uniforms in remembrance of pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident on Sunday morning. After that? “No one will wear No. 16 for the Marlins again,” team owner Jeffrey Loria said on Monday evening, as Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reports.
Though Fernandez only pitched parts of four seasons for the Marlins, he already ranks fifth in career WAR in club history, according to Baseball Reference. He also owns the best career winning percentage as well as the second-lowest single-season ERA (2.19 in 2013) and the second-lowest single-season WHIP (0.979 in 2013). Fernandez was already one of the best pitchers in Marlins history and was on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star, if not a Hall of Famer.
Then add to that his outstanding personality and what he meant both to the Marlins organization and to the city of Miami. Loria has gotten a lot of criticism over the years, but he nailed it with this decision.
As Craig mentioned earlier, the Marlins will all wear No. 16 jerseys to honor pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died in a boating accident on Sunday morning. It’s a fitting tribute as the Marlins return to the playing field after Sunday’s game was cancelled.
We don’t often hear about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on during these special circumstances. As Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports, workers at the Majestic manufacturing facility in Easton, PA — about two hours north of Philadelphia — stayed up all night Sunday night into Monday morning in order to make those custom No. 16 jerseys for the Marlins. They were shipped via air so they would arrive in time for the game tonight.
FanGraphs writer Eric Longenhagen notes how hard those Majestic employees work — often for low pay :
Kudos to Majestic for making a concerted effort to help the Marlins out in their time of need.