Now 25, Banda isn’t far removed from a run as a well-regarded prospect. When Banda’s previous team, the Diamondbacks, promoted him to the majors for the first time in July 2017, he was seen as one of the game’s top 100 farmhands. Banda threw 25 2/3 innings with the Diamondbacks that year before they sent him to the Rays in a three-team trade centering on outfielder Steven Souza in February 2018.
In his first year with the Rays, Banda turned in effective results before going under the knife. He logged a 3.64 ERA/3.29 FIP with 10.50 K/9 and 3.86 BB/9 across 42 innings and eight appearances (all starts) at Triple-A Durham. Banda also picked up a bit more major league experience, notching a 3.68 ERA/3.30 FIP with 6.14 K/9 and 1.84 BB/9 over 14 2/3 frames (three appearances, one start).
Should he return this season, Banda could be a reinforcement for the playoff-contending Rays’ pitching staff – whether as a starter, opener or reliever. The club has a 2 1/2-game lead on the American League’s top wild-card spot, and also figures to welcome breakout righty Tyler Glasnow back from the injured list in the coming weeks.