CPBL Foreign Players Updates Volume #150
Fubon Guardians News: Manny Bañuelos
Manny Bañuelos was a breath of fresh air for the Fubon Guardians in 2020.
It wasn’t always obvious he would be – in fact, the signing was originally announced in the hectic days of mid-June. The apparent increase in the availability of talented pitchers led Bañuelos to the team at a similar time in the season to when the Uni-Lions were beginning their complete pitching overhaul.
With the Uni-Lions making those transaction headlines, it’s easy to argue that the Guardians’ addition of Bañuelos was slightly overshadowed, but it was one of the biggest factors in their large second half improvement.
Now, on December 17 of the same year, the team has officially announced via their Facebook page that the left-hander from Mexico will be returning to the club for the 2021 season.
“I am excited to be able to wear the Guardians uniform again,” said Bañuelos. “I am grateful to the team for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to helping the Guardians to win the championship in 2021.”
It’s unsurprising that he’s pleased to be returning, as his 2020 stats with the team were very good. Despite only pitching in 10 games, he ranked 17th in the CPBL in strikeouts with 62. He also pitched to a 2.60 ERA in those 52 innings pitched, with a 6-3 record and a 1.25 WHIP to show for it.
His most impressive day on the hill was on October 3, when he struck out eight and held the eventual championship runner-up CTBC Brothers to zero hits through seven innings.
Fubon Guardians' Manny Bañuelos flirted with no-hitter last night as he tossed 7.1 scoreless innings and struck out 8 without allowing a hit. #CPBL 💎 pic.twitter.com/Rkf5RwTfFG
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) October 3, 2020
Bañuelos, still only 29 years old, was once a highly ranked prospect for the New York Yankees. In 2009, he was on the World roster for the Futures Game, and he was often mentioned alongside current New York Mets reliever Dellin Betances as potential future stars for the club.
Instead, Bañuelos dealt with several injuries on his path to MLB, and though he made appearances for the Braves (2015) and White Sox (2019), he was eventually released from a minor league contract he had signed in Seattle early in 2020 and opted to head to Taiwan.
“Bañuelos is a hard-throwing left-hander with a high strikeout rate,” said Guardians GM Chris Tsai. “Most importantly, he gets along well with his teammates.”
Bañuelos’ full repertoire is available on Brooks Baseball and Baseball Savant. Both sources have him listed with five pitches, but he most often throws his slider, sinker, and four-seam fastball.
He looks set to compete in a Guardians rotation that also includes Henry Sosa, Mike Loree, Chen Shih-Peng (陳仕朋), and Chiang Kuo-Hao (江國豪). This is the first major signing of the offseason for the Guardians. Earlier this offseason, the team lost Lai Hung-Cheng (賴鴻誠) to the Rakuten Monkeys in free agency.
Fubon Guardians' Manny Bañuelos pitched 6 innings and piled up a career-high 10 strikeouts last night against the Monkeys. #CPBL pic.twitter.com/1RzNmytb8U
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) October 21, 2020
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Foreign players come and goes, therefore we compiled a foreign players tracker to keep track of all the foreign players signing for the 2021 CPBL season.
Another obvious re-sign in Banuelos was willing to return. He pitched extremely well for the Guardians. If Fubon can find some offense, they have the starting pitching they need going into 2021.
There’s rumour the Guardians are going to poach the Brothers’ Esmil Rogers this offseason. Would be very interesting to see what will happen. Also according to their GM, they are not going to stop with just 4 foreign players, they will invite more foreign players to attend the 2021 spring camp.