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LHP Anthony Banda makes Baseball America’s preseason Top 100 Prospect list

Banda is the only Diamondbacks prospect that made the list, checking in at 88th overall.

Baseball America has released their preseason prospect rankings, and only one Diamondbacks prospect made it into the Top 100. That distinction belongs to LHP Anthony Banda, who is the consensus #1 prospect in the organization. Banda was initially acquired on July 30, 2014 in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers that involved shipping off OF Gerardo Parra. Two seasons later, that trade is turning out very favorably for the Diamondbacks as Banda has developed into a legitimate rotation prospect. I currently have him projected as a #4 starter, with the ceiling of a #3.

Banda ended up sliding in at 88th in BA’s Top 100. He has made incremental progress every year and in 2016 experienced another velo bump, going from 88-92 to 91-95. He complements that fastball with a very good curveball that generates a lot of whiffs. His change-up is a third distant pitch, but it flashes average most of the time. Banda isn’t going to put up gaudy strikeout numbers, but he throws strikes and keeps the ball on the ground. Banda had an impressive showing in Spring last year, then dominated at AA to start the season. After a promotion to Reno in late June, Banda more than held his own at Reno. The amount of progress Banda made last year to jump from middle of the pack to top the ladder.

Banda’s strong 2016 landed him a 40-man roster spot and likely a legitimate shot to compete for a rotation spot. In terms of development, there is very little development needed before he’s ready to take on MLB hitters. With three average or better pitches and above average control, Banda makes for a safe MLB starter projection, even with a modest ceiling. His debut will come sooner rather than later in 2017. For 2017, he probably starts the year in Reno to polish off the last bit of areas that need improvement.