Seattle Mariners part ways with former top prospect Manny Banuelos

The Seattle Mariners have parted ways with LHP Manny Banuelos.

Once considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, LHP Manny Banuelos is among the hundreds of professional baseball players now without a job as a majority of MLB franchises release waves of minor leaguers.

Banuelos signed a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp with the Seattle Mariners back in February and appeared in two spring training outings before Covid-19 brought an end to sports across the globe.

The 29-year-old lefty is now in wait-and-see mode to find out if another organization gives him an opportunity to stick in the major leagues, likely his final opportunity.

Originally signed by the New York Yankees as a 16-year-old out Mexico in 2008, Banuelos ranked as high as 29th on Baseball America’s list of top prospects in the game and has high as 13th on MLB Pipeline’s list. Pipeline also ranked Banuelos as the fourth-best LHP prospect during his time as a Yankees prospect.

One year after signing with the Yankees, Banuelos found himself pitching in the 2009 MLB Futures Game at the All-Star break, highlighting the hype surrounding the hard-throwing prospect. The hype was ultimately short-lived.

Injuries played a big role in the struggles of Seattle Mariners pitcher Manny Banuelos.

Injuries plagued the southpaw’s early career as a professional pitcher, including missing all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery. His major league debut wouldn’t come until 2015 after being traded to the Atlanta Braves.

In seven appearances with Atlanta, Banuelos posted a 5.13 ERA and 1.59 across 26 innings, walking almost just many hitters (12) as he struck out (19).

It would be four years before Banuelos would reach the majors again, appearing in 16 games with the Chicago White Sox in 2019. Overall, the former noted prospect went 3-4 with a 6.93 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, a 5.9 BB/9 IP rate, and a mediocre 7.8 K/9 IP rate.

His top two outings, unsurprisingly, came against the Baltimore Orioles in back-to-back starts in late-April. Banuelos combined to give up just two runs across 9.2 innings with 10 strikeouts, including a season-high six punchouts in his April 29th start.

Unfortunately, it was a downhill slide from there for Banuelos who became a free agent at the end of the season.

After committing to continue paying their minor leaguers a $400/week stipend, the Seattle Mariners reportedly cut approximately 50 minor league players, including Manny Banuelos. Complete lists of confirmed roster cuts across the league are slowly becoming available.

A compiled list of known cuts can be found on Baseball America.