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.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.