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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-28, Anthony Banda

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Our top prospect makes his appearance on our countdown - likely with a bullet...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 28: Anthony Banda

  • Date of birth: August 10, 1993
  • Ht/Wt: 6’2”, 190 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • 2016 MLB numbers: N/A
  • SnakePit Rating: 4.86 [pattern of votes below]

#ThankYouBrewers Because they’re who signed Banda after drafting him in the 10th round of 2012. Although he had been on the D-backs’ radar before that, as Arizona drafted him the previous year, in the 33rd round, but he didn’t sign. We finally got our man at the 2014 trade deadline, receiving Banda and Mitch Haninger from Milwaukee for Gerardo Parra. At the time, Banda projected as “a back-end starter or a bullpen option,” but both flourished here, becoming the organization’s minor-league pitcher and player of the year last season. Banda posted a 2.88 ERA across 26 starts at the Double-A and Triple-A level, with 152 strikeouts and 55 walks in exactly 150 innings.

Now it’s all about Banda for Arizona, with Haniger part of the Taijuan Walker trade with Seattle. He’s the only Diamondback player to be named on any major top 100 prospect list, at #88 in Baseball America’s ranking, and comes into spring with a legitimate shot at a starting job at age 23. Farm director Mike Bell credits new self-belief as a key factor of late: “Just watching him last year, the confidence he had in himself on the mound, I think that was his biggest thing. His stuff has been his stuff and it’s above average, he commands the ball really well, but it’s just this inner belief in himself. I think he finally believes in himself as much as we do. I think that’s when he started taking off.”

I would probably be surprised if he makes the Opening Day rotation, but would predict we will see him in the major leagues for Arizona, at some point in the coming campaign. And it’s cool he is one of the bespectacled fraternity. :) Here’s an interview with Banda (via @Cap_Kaveman) after his first spring appearance:

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