Velocity Bump For Banda

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—Whenever the Diamondbacks defend their practice of trading away recent high draft picks, the first thing they do is point to some of the young talent they received back in other deals.

Among those players is lefthander Anthony Banda, who has seen his velocity bump up this spring to levels that could change his standing as a prospect.

Banda, whom the D-backs acquired as part of the July 2014 deal that sent outfielder Gerardo Parra to the Brewers, has topped out at 96 mph this spring, according to scouts and team officials.

“He was probably more 89-91 (mph) and sat at 90 (in previous years),” minor league pitching coordinator Dan Carlson said.

“It’s bumped up four miles an hour right now on average, which is a big deal, especially from the left side. You go from average to now an above-average heater.”

Banda points to a number of factors to explain the jump, starting with improved mechanics.

But Banda also said he worked out during the offseason with former big league reliever Mike Gonzalez, a fellow native of Corpus Christi, Texas.

“He really got me to the point where I was feeling really great and going into spring training with a lot of confidence,” said Banda, 22, a 10th-round pick in 2012 from San Jacinto (Texas) JC. “That really helped, especially coming from a former big leaguer. It was an amazing experience. I’ve been blessed with him coming into my life.”

Banda posted solid numbers last year at high Class A Visalia, going 8-8, 3.32 with 152 strikeouts in 151 innings.

Carlson sees similarities between Banda and D-backs starter Patrick Corbin, noting that both are athletic lefthanders with fastballs that can reach the mid-90s.


• Though he didn’t know much about center fielder Evan Marzilli prior to spring training, big league manager Chip Hale mentioned Marzilli first when asked about pleasant surprises at camp. He went 12-for-34 (.353) with seven extra-base hits in 17 games in the Cactus League.

• Outfielder Peter O’Brien’s home run on March 22 came off his bat at 119.5 mph, according to Statcast data. That made it the hardest-hit homer of the (albeit short) Statcast era. The blast was projected to have traveled 461.6 feet.

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