Joe Girardi thinks so, anyway. Manny Banuelos, the sensation of last year's camp as a 19-year-old, when he was ManBoy, has made two appearances so far as a 20-year-old -- he turns 21 on Tuesday -- and has allowed no runs, three hits, struck out three and walked two in four innings.
"I thought he attacked the zone better and was able to get his secondary pitches over,'' Girardi said of Banuelos, whose best moment came against his final batter, Jose Constanza, who swung through a high fastball with a runner at second base.
Girardi liked Banuelos' aggressiveness in that situation but stopped short of proclaiming the 5-9 left-hander ready for the big leagues. “If you look at his numbers last year, he had some high walk totals against right-handed hitters,'' Girardi said. "That’s something that he has to correct, because you don’t want walks beating you. I think his command can improve, and when that improves I think he’s a major league pitcher. Obviously we love the talent and what he can become.”
Girardi attributed Banuelos' walks in Double-A and Triple-A last year to "nibbling a little too much,'' a side effect of being a teenager pitching to grown men. "I don’t think he’s real concerned about them hitting the ball hard,'' Girardi said. "I just think he’s a young kid and it’s learning your body, how to repeat that delivery and attack the zone.”