The Rays are by far the hottest team in baseball.
With young right-hander Chris Archer yielding only one run over seven innings and both Evan Longoria and Luke Scott providing home runs, Tampa Bay won its sixth straight game on Sunday afternoon in a sweep of the Blue Jays at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
Archer has a 0.41 ERA over his last 22 innings and the Rays have been winners in each of his last six outings. The 24-year-old right-hander boasts a 2.76 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 58 2/3 total frames since his promotion to the major leagues on June 1.
The Rays are now just one game back of the Red Sox in the American League East standings.
They’re 20-4 since June 21.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.