#4 – Anthony Banda P Visalia Rawhide
This list of course would not be complete without a mention of the guy who led the Visalia Rawhide pitching staff this season. Drafted in the 10th round of the 2012 draft, Banda came to the Diamondbacks in the trade that sent Gerardo Parra to the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, Banda wasn’t an unknown heading into this season as he actually pitched in the last exhibition against the Cubs before the season started. The 22-year-old from a community college in Texas is a 6’2″ left-handed pitcher who sits in the low to mid 90’s and has three solid pitch offerings.
In the grand scheme of things, Banda does not have the naturally athletic ability or velocity that screams top of the rotation. What he does have, however, is a solid arsenal that could play well with his control and ability to throw to both sides of the plate. In the majors, he looks like he would be a #4 or even a #3 in the rotation. Although that may not elicit the kind of love from casual fans that creates a fan favorite, it’s the exact type of prospect a team needs to find in order to maintain a long run of success.
In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Miguel Gonzalez of the Baltimore Orioles and Alex Wood of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In both instances, you have guys who are hardly superstars and household names, but both add value to a rotation at an affordable price. Banda has similar stuff to both. There will be days when he strikes out more than a batter and inning, but there will also be days he strikes one guy out while giving up two runs in 7 innings. He’s a high floor type of guy, with a limited ceiling. Your classic slide stopper.
Next: Brad Keller