3. Manny Banuelos
Banuelos began his professional career as a highly-touted Yankees farmhand but he never fulfilled his full potential in the Bronx. Now he’s returned to New York as a journeyman left-handed reliever doing everything he can to break onto the 40-man roster.
The fact that he’s not on the 40-man is the biggest thing working against his efforts to make the team. His performance during Spring Training has been excellent. He’s pitched three innings without giving up a hit to go along with four strikeouts.
Banuelos doesn’t have overpowering stuff but he’s just the sort of crafty southpaw who can eat up some valuable innings during the slog of a regular-season campaign. That may not be a sexy quality for Yankees’ fans desperate to add difference-makers to the bullpen, but it’s a steady contribution that might appeal strongly to Boone’s sensibilities as a manager.
The odds are slightly against Banuelos making the team at this point unless Cashman can swing a favorable trade to open up a spot on the 40-man roster. Don’t rule that out as a possibility as Opening Day approaches.