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Yankees prospects: Manny Banuelos could make team as a reliever

There's a chance Yankees' prospect Manny Banuelos could make the team as a reliever, despite missing two years due to elbow problems.

Christian Petersen

According to the dynamic duo of Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, Yankees' prospect Manny Banuelos could make the big league team as a second left-hander out of the bullpen. A "front office source" of the Yankees tells ESPN New York that "Banuelos has got that big arm. If it's still there and the lightning still strikes, then you're going to hear people say, 'f--k it, bring him with us on (Opening Day)'"

Despite missing what amounts to nearly two full seasons due to elbow problems, which ended in Tommy John surgery, Banuelos turns just 23 years old in March. At the moment, the Yankees have what appears to be only three guaranteed relievers (David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, and Matt Thornton) that will make the Opening Day roster, so, if he shines this spring, Banuelos could make the team and help out with the thin bullpen.

My reaction? I really hope this isn't something that will happen. Yes, Banuelos did lose nearly two years of development due to elbow issues, and that is no small task to come back from. However, before the injury, Banuelos had, and probably still does have, the upside of a number two or three starter. If anything, the Yankees should see what they have in Banuelos in 2014 as a starter, and if he fails tremendously, then we can talk about putting him in the bullpen. I'm just hoping Cesar Cabral has a killer Spring Training so he makes the big league roster and we don't have to have this conversation about Banuelos being a reliever, at least for now.