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2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Review: #32, Anthony Banda

Our top pitching prospect made his debut in the majors this year.

Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
  • Date of Birth: August 10, 1993 (Age 24)
  • 2017 Line: 8 G, 4 GS, 25.2 IP, 5.96 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 25:10 K:BB
  • 2017 Value: 0.5 fWAR, 0.1 bWAR
  • 2017 Salary: MLB minimum, Arb Eligible in 2021
  • SnakePit Rating: 4.49

2017 Analysis

There wasn’t a lot to see from Banda at the Major League level this year. Banda served as a spot starter, making his MLB debut on July 22nd and making 3 more starts in August when Robbie Ray went on the DL after taking a liner to the head. Banda then came back up as a September call-up and made 4 relief outings. Banda’s brief MLB results weren’t great (5.96) ERA, but he flashed the upside that we’ve been looking for as a prospect, as he posted an above-average 8.77 K/9 and a not-terrible walk rate. In the minors, we saw a similar trend in his first full season at AAA: 5.39 ERA, 8.56 K/9, 3.76 BB/9. The PCL skews numbers, but his strikeout rate was 9th-highest among PCL starters with at least 100 IP.

Here is where Anthony Banda stands on the latest MLB prospect rankings for AZ:

  • Baseball America: 1st (mid-season)
  • 4th (mid-season)
  • ESPN: 1st (preseason)
  • FanGraphs: 1st (preseason)

Banda did nothing to hurt his prospect status, though a strong draft has added a few players that might compete with Banda for #1 in the system, but don’t view that as a knock to Banda - he had a solid 2017, especially for only being 23/24.

2018 Prospects

With regards to Anthony Banda, it’s all about the future. And so far, it looks to be pretty good. This year, we saw the standard three pitch mix from Banda: four-seam fastball, curveball, and a changeup. Banda’s best pitch is his curveball and he has a lot of velocity on his fastball (especially for a lefty), sitting 92-95 and topping out at 98 MPH. In fact, Banda showed the 7th-highest velocity among LHP starters in 2017 at 93.98 MPH (for reference, Robbie Ray was 4th at 94.49 MPH). The changeup is considered a work-in-progress according to most scouts and seems to project as an average pitch for him, though in a VERY brief sample, he recorded a very solid 15.79% SwStr% on it at the MLB level, so there might be some hope to his development on the pitch.

Going forward, Banda is still in development and at a young 24-years-old, he has plenty of time to keep growing. He’s already showing flashes of being a #2/#3-type starter in the MLB and still has plenty of upside from there if his curveball and/or changeup develop into elite pitches. He likely won’t get much action at the MLB level in 2018, barring significant injuries, as the Dbacks should still have a rotation of Greinke, Ray, Walker, Corbin, and Godley under team control and Shelby Miller coming back from injury (at some point). Banda will continue to be developed as a starter, so it’s unlikely that we’re going to see much from Banda until 2019 and beyond.