It is only November and I had already have had enough talk of starting pitching to last the next five years. I bet the Arizona Diamondbacks’ management team is a little weary of hearing about it as well. Nevertheless, we have a blog to maintain and we do our best to keep our readers apprised of everything relevant surrounding the D-backs. As you know, we have been reviewing many of the prospects in the Arizona organization and where they will be spending the 2016 season. Since we opened with a brief comment about starting pitcher, how about we move on to our latest prospect: left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda.
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How he came to the organization: The D-backs actually selected Banda in the 33rd round of the 2011 Draft from Sinton High School in Sinton, Texas. However, he decided to attend San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas. After his first year there, another Major League team drafted Banda, this time the Milwaukee Brewers in the tenth round. He decided to put his academic career on hold and become a member of the Brewers’ organization. At the trading deadline in 2014, Banda was traded to the D-backs along with outfield prospect Mitch Haniger for Gerardo Parra, a popular player for the Snakes.
Minor League career: Banda spent the remainder of the 2012 season with the Brewers’ Rookie squad in Arizona, appearing in 14 games. He spent all of 2013 with Helena of the Pioneer League where he struggled with a 4.45 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. He started to improve the following season with Wisconsin of the Midwest League, swinging between starting and relieving and making a total of 20 appearances. He compiled a 3.66 ERA and struck out 83 batters in 83 2/ innings. When he arrived in the D-backs’ organization in August, he stayed in the Midwest League and started six games for the South Bend Silver Hawks. Banda allowed only six earned runs in 35 innings pitched while punching out 34 batters. He continued to improve his stock in the organization in 2015 while throwing for the Visalia Rawhide of the California League. In 151 2/3 innings, Banda struck out 152 batters while walking only 39 and finishing the season with a 3.32 ERA in 27 starts and one relief outing.
Where he will be in 2016: The 6-foot-2, 190 pound Banda, who turned 22 in August, should begin 2016 at Double A Mobile. MLB.com has him on track to reach the Majors in 2017 and feels he has the potential to be a number three or four starter in a Major League rotation. However, if history is a guide, the D-backs won’t hesitate to bring him up next year if injury and/or ineffectiveness riddles the starting rotation. All you have to do is look at Zack Godley in 2015.