Despite his 1-2 W-L record, Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Anthony Banda should be a regular part of the starting rotation.
Diamondbacks rookie Anthony Banda has been impressive in three starts, earning himself a spot in the rotation.
Anthony Banda pitched in 19 games for the Reno Aces this season before being called up to the big leagues on July 22.
In Reno, Banda was 7-6 with a 5.13 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
While the rookie was already on the 40-man roster and would have made an appearance after September roster expansions, the Diamondbacks were forced to call him up early. The line drive that hit Robbie Ray and sent him to the DL on concussion protocol also brought Banda to the show to face the Washington Nationals.
Since then, Banda has pitched 15.2 innings in the Major Leagues, 11 of them scoreless.
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He struck out 16 of the 65 batters he faced and retired 68 percent of them. He’s given up eight earned runs, seven of them while facing the Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, two first-place teams.
Even with those outings not going his way, Banda is quick to see his own faults and hopefully learn from them in future starts.
"“I was getting ahead of myself. I was trying to press too hard. I wasn’t executing my pitches,” Banda said to Fox Sports Arizona in a post-game interview. “But, I mean, after that I found a groove, stayed within myself and just tried to put up zeros and let this ball club get back in the game.”"
The reality is, he was nearly untouchable after the first inning against the Dodgers where he gave up three runs. He faced 10 more batters, retiring nine of them, four via strikeout.
He owns the Diamondbacks second highest, 4.60, ERA and the third-lowest, 1.21, WHIP for the 2017 season. By WHIP-standards, he is pitching better than Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin.
If Torey Lovullo and the Diamondbacks staff aren’t looking at this yet, they better start. With September call-ups around the corner, Banda makes an excellent candidate for the fifth or sixth spot in the rotation.
Upon Ray’s return, the Diamondbacks will have a few options.
Send Banda back to Reno, assuming Ray returns before September call-ups. This would let Ray return to his spot as if Banda was simply filling a hole.
Keep both of them in a six-man rotation throughout the rest of the season and any potential postseason games. This is possible, but with both Corbin and Walker struggling, it’s unlikely.
The last option, and my suggestion, is that they keep Banda in the rotation and move Corbin to the bullpen for the rest of the season.
This is what the team did with Archie Bradley after the 2016 season and he has rocked his new role as the Diamondbacks set-up guy in the eighth inning. Corbin can be a regular option in the bullpen, or a long-relief option if starters get into any trouble.
The last thing I’d want to see is Banda return to Reno after such an impressive beginning to his career.