White Sox Take Flier On Manny Banuelos In Trade With Dodgers

Image credit: Manny Banuelos (Photo by Jennifer Stewart)

The White Sox and Dodgers have made the first player-for-player trade of the offseason.

The White Sox traded minor league infielder Justin Yurchak to the Dodgers on Thursday for lefthander Manny Banuelos, the former highly touted prospect who has been stuck in Triple-A.

Banuelos, who ranked as high as No. 29 on the BA Top 100 Prospects list in 2012, will be on his fourth team in as many years.


Manny Banuelos, LHP
Age: 27

Banuelos is the cautionary tale that not all pitchers successfully make it back from Tommy John surgery. Banuelos was a top pitching prospect in the Yankees’ system before Tommy John wiped out most of 2012 and all of 2013. He hasn’t been the same since and devolved into a minor league journeyman. Banuelos played in the Yankees’ system in 2014, the Braves’ in 2015-16, the Angels’ in 2017 and the Dodgers’ in 2018. He appeared in seven games in the majors with the Braves in 2015, but had a second elbow surgery—this time for bone chips—after that season and hasn’t returned to the big leagues since. Banuelos’ fastball now sits 91-92 mp and touches 94 mph—down from 92-95 and touching 97 mph at his peak—and his best secondary is a mid-80s slider that’s effective when he puts it on the back foot of righthies. His changeup and curveball flash moments of effectiveness but are not consistent. He prefers starting to relieving and it showed in his overall results. He went 8-5, 3.55 in 18 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year compared to 1-2, 4.67 in 13 relief appearances. Banuelos no longer has anything plus, but he’ll an opportunity to return to the majors with the pitching-starved White Sox. 


Justin Yurchak, 1B
Age: 22

Yurchak was high school teammates with Braves 2016 first-rounder Ian Anderson and hit .313 as a freshman at Wake Forest before transferring to Binghamton, where he hit .320 after sitting out a year. Yurchak’s bat-to-ball skills got him drafted by the White Sox in the 12th round in 2017, but he hit just .256 with one home run at low Class A Kannapolis this year in his first full season. Yurchak is a below-average athlete limited to first base, so he’s going to have to rediscover the hitting ability he flashed in college to be anything more than a minor league role player.

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