Dodgers Team News

Reclamation Project Anthony Banda Reveals How Dodgers Revitalized His Career

The Los Angeles Dodgers are known for finding struggling players and turning them into above-average major leaguers. Sometimes, they’re even able to turn them into All-Stars.

Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, and Evan Phillips are just a few of the many examples of seemingly unimportant deals the Dodgers made that led to major success for their franchise.

This year, they may have found their next success story.

On May 17, the Dodgers made a trade with the Cleveland Guardians, acquiring left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda for cash considerations. Banda made his debut on May 19 — a 1-2-3 inning in which he earned the win against the Cincinnati Reds — and hasn’t looked back since.

Banda has made 10 appearances, throwing 11.1 innings and allowing just seven hits and zero earned runs while striking out 11.

Banda has not only turned into a reliable major leaguer, but he’s turned into a shutdown left-hander in the bullpen alongside Alex Vesia.

Banda was pitching well in Triple-A for Cleveland before the Dodgers made the trade, sporting a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings. However, he was never able to put it together at the major league level. In 90 previous appearances across the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Washington Nationals, Banda had a 5.69 ERA.

So what is the reason for his sudden success with Los Angeles? He spoke about it on Thursday on MLB Network Radio.

“They draw a box on a piece of paper and they say attack it. And that’s kind of what we’ve been doing and it’s been working,” Banda said. “It simplifies a lot of things, simplifies trying to be too perfect, knowing what kind of pitcher I am. I’m not a command pitcher, I’m a control pitcher, if that makes sense. If I look back in my career even early in my starting days, me trying to hit spots and all that fancy stuff that the elites do, it’s hard, and you fall behind and you get into bad counts and that was something that I think changed and recognized with me that the movement on my pitches have been pretty good it’s just about getting them in the zone and that’s the main priority and message for me.”

He also revealed the message the Dodgers gave him.

“You don’t need to change anything, you just need to attack the zone with your stuff. You’re throwing 97-98 (mph) from the left side, just get into the zone,” Banda said the Dodgers told him. “And that was the main message to me, along with other things, but simplifying things and that’s just what I go out and do as far as my mindset, and I don’t make it any more complicated than that. You know, of course, I’m fired up. I’m anxious, I have some anxiety there. But I accept it all, I really do. At the end of the day this is my job as far as throwing the ball over the plate and getting outs.”

This approach has clearly worked for Banda, as he’s turned into a high-leverage left-handed reliever on one of MLB’s best teams.

He, along with Vesia, have turned what appeared to be one of the Dodgers’ biggest weaknesses entering the year into a strength.

Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.

One Comment

  1. He looks like he could be Joe Kelly’s doppelganger or vice versa. Just hope he can keep hucking the pea like he has been. Maybe Kelly can get him a different color mariachi jacket and they can show they are brothers by different mothers… lol

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