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Banking on a Fresh Start

The San Diego Padres made a seemingly insignificant roster move yesterday. The club claimed right-handed pitcher Josh Banks off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays, after the Jays designated him for assignment when Shawn Camp was added to the roster. Banks is exactly the type of pitcher that can thrive at Petco Park and his stuff is much more suited to A) the National League, and B) a spacious park.

Banks, 25, is a former second round draft pick from the 2003 draft, who was actually a fringe first rounder until blister problems hampered him during his junior season at Florida International University. The track record for success is there. He blew through the lower levels of the minors with his plus control but hit a wall in Double-A at the age of 21.

The numbers tell it all about Banks. In 2005 in Double-A, Banks walked a total of 11 batters in 162.1 innings (that’s a 0.61 BB/9). But the next season in Triple-A, Banks allowed 35 homers in 170.2 innings. From 2005 to 2007 his strikeout totals dipped from 8.04 K/9 to 6.64 K/9 to 5.38 K/9.

Banks doesn’t walk anyone; in fact it seems like he would rather give up a hit – even a home run – than walk someone. Unfortunately, he gives up a lot of homers because he works up in the zone and leaves too many pitchers over the heart of the plate. His control is good, but his command is not as impressive. He throws six or seven pitches, including an 88-92 mph fastball that is a little too straight, a splitter (his out-pitch), slider, curve and change-up.

Banks is likely headed down to Triple-A Portland but keep that name in mind when the Padres organization needs its next Cla Meredith or Heath Bell or Chris Young. A change of scenery may be all that he needed.