It's been an up-and-down season for Anthony Banda, but Friday certainly constitutes an "up" day.
The D-backs promoted their top prospect from Triple-A Reno to make his Major League debut Saturday against the Nationals in Phoenix.
In 18 starts this season, the 23-year-old left-hander is 7-5 with a 5.08 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 101 innings with the Aces. Banda's ERA is at its highest point since it was 5.49 on April 23. The Corpus Christi, Texas, native is also coming off a rough start on Monday, when he was tagged for a season-high seven runs and a career-worst 15 hits over five innings in a 7-1 loss to Salt Lake.
The 2012 10th-round pick had allowed three runs or fewer in his previous four starts and five of his past six before getting stung by the Bees. While his ERA may look ugly, Banda ranks 15th in the category among 28 qualified pitchers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
The San Jacinto College product was much better during his first Triple-A stint in 2016, when he went 4-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 13 starts after registering a 2.12 ERA in the same number of outings with Double-A Mobile. He thrived with a 3.32 ERA in 2015 with Class A Advanced Visalia in the California League, another notoriously hitter-friendly circuit.
The southpaw's plus curveball is his best asset, and he also throws an above-average fastball that sits in the low- to mid-90s. His control is considered average, but he has taken a step back this season with 43 walks in 101 innings after he issued 55 free passes over 150 frames in 2016.