PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. — Anthony Banda, who came to the Rays a key piece of the Steven Souza, Jr. trade, is a promising lefty who has certainly moved up the Rays starting pitching depth chart as both Brent Honeywell and Jose DeLeon have been lost to Tommy John Surgery.
Recently, DRB’s Carl Gonzalez profiled Banda, noting his fastball, change-up and curve ball.
But, DRB has just learned, Banda is debuting a new pitch this year. Since December he has been working to add a slider to his arsenal.
December is when I started with it and it’s gotten to the point where I’m throwing it in games, I’m getting outs with it. I’m really pleased with that. I want to complement that with the fastball, throwing in the same tunnel with the fastball and slider.
Banda also credits new pitching coach Kyle Snyder with helping him settle in after a rough Spring Training start:
My second outing was tough. Command was off, velo was down. I wasn’t worried but I was a little frustrated because I didn’t know what was going on. But me and Kyle sat down, we saw some video from last year .... He showed me my back leg, and a lot of people have always said “use your back leg” but I never really understood what that meant until he sat me down and showed me. So after that my next outing, I was concentrating on my backside, my hips, driving off the legs. Not jumping but driving, allowing my body to work together. I found that my command got better, my velo came back and my stuff was more consistent. It was great.
Banda is scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Minnesota Twins.