Another former Brave has made a shocking return to the majors

749150906009 Braves at Natioanals

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about a former Braves top prospect that fell out of favor with the organization, was traded, played in several different countries, and eventually made it back to the majors five years later. His name was Christian Bethancourt, who is now a member of the Athletics. That’s a name I never thought I would hear again when talking about Major League Baseball, and it’s what makes this game so amazing. There are stories like this in every organization, and I’ve found another involving another former top prospect for the Braves.

As Atlanta turned their heads towards a total rebuild before the 2015 season, they traded David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve to the Yankees for a highly-touted left-handed pitcher named Manny Bañuelos. Bañuelos was assigned to AAA to start the season, but it didn’t take long for him to work his way to the majors. In 16 starts for Gwinnett, he posted an outstanding 2.23 ERA, and on July 2nd of 2015, he made his major-league debut against the Nationals. At that time, Washington was a high-quality team, so when Bañuelos went out there and struck out seven over 5.2 innings without allowing an earned run, Braves Country thought they had found a gem.

Unfortunately, everything went south after that. A bone spur caused him to miss some time, and when Bañuelos finally did return to the majors, the same issue popped up again. He was expected to compete for a spot in the rotation in 2016, but more problems with his arm emerged, and before the end of the season, he was designated for assignment.

After that, Bañuelos bounced around several farm systems, and he even spent time in China and Mexico before signing a minor-league contract with the Yankees — the team that originally traded him to the Braves — this past offseason. The now 31-year-old Bañuelos was assigned to AAA Scranton to begin the season, where he owns a terrific 2.35 ERA over 30.2 innings. And because of that, he’s finally getting another opportunity in the majors.

Who knows how the rest of Bañuelos’ career will shake out, but like Bethancourt, the fact that he’s made it this far is nothing short of amazing. I’ll be keeping an eye on him moving forward, and it would be awesome to see him carve out a nice little career for himself at the top level.

Photo: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

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