Yankees: Former Top Prospect Manny Banuelos Signs in Taiwan
By Adam Weinrib
Former Yankees top prospect Manny Banuelos is heading to the CPBL.
Who had Manny Banuelos on the board as the first prominent Yankee you’d be able to see in action in 2020?!
Although it took a sequence that could only be referred to as “nightmare fuel” to get here, Banuelos certainly deserves congratulations for pouncing on a perfect opportunity, just as his career seemed to have dissolved once more.
One among the game’s top pitching prospects, and the leader of the Yankees’ Killer Bs, Banuelos will be heading to the CPBL in Taiwan, a league that has once again begun admitting fans as their nation’s safety begins to rise. He’ll join the Fubon Guardians, your new favorite team.
Give Taiwan all the credit in the world: they were the first nation to bring baseball back in 2020, due to their exceptional containment of the coronavirus, and they’re also the first to bring fans back to their games (though we’ll miss their robot crowds immensely).
Banuelos has bounced around quite a bit since his Yankees days, and most recently spent time with the Seattle Mariners, prior to bolting the country for this bountiful opportunity.
Banuelos was signed by the Yankees in 2008, and by the following summer, he was appearing in the All-Star Futures Game. He ranked as the system’s fourth-best prospect by the time he arrived at Spring Training in 2011, at which point Mariano Rivera called him the best pitching prospect he had seen.
Unfortunately, the stout lefty with the devastating changeup struggled with injuries in 2012 and eventually succumbed to Tommy John surgery. He was never the same, and was dealt to Atlanta in 2015 for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve, starting his MLB journey anew (luckily, he beat the odds and made his first major league start that summer).
Banuelos’ time stateside may not have gone the way Yankees fans long hoped, but he’s gotten yet another opportunity in a burgeoning league in 2020. Hey, plenty of Yanks wish they could get on a mound right now and compete. It absolutely could be worse.