Oakland Athletics’ Pitcher Sean Manaea Has A Promising Future

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If there has been prospect that has looked nothing but promising since coming into the Oakland Athletics’ organization, it has been Sean Manaea. At the July 31st trade deadline, the Oakland Athletics got themselves a deal: the 23-year old left-hander from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Ben Zobrist. They have not regretted the decision since. The knock on Manaea was he was an injury-prone flamethrower, and with the pattern of prospects possessing similar characteristics, concern would be understandable. Even in the A’s own ranks, they’ve had young pitchers fall victim to serious injuries – most notably Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin – that have been key factors in the derailing of the 2015 season.

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However, Manaea (so far) has put those rumors to rest, absolutely dominating at Double-A Midland with a consistency not found in many southpaw prospects. During the second half of the Rockhounds’ 2015 season, Manaea twirled 42.2 fantastic innings, registering a 1.90 earned run average to achieve a perfect 6-0 record in just seven starts. The mid-season jersey switch into the typically hitter-friendly Texas League didn’t affect the left-hander at all as he struck out 51 batters, while only walking 11 and surrendering 34 hits – only three of which were home runs. From start to finish, he was absolutely dominant, which is a major relief considering that prior to the trade, he was dealing with multiple injuries.

Going back to his consistency, Manaea truly embodied the definition of it during his season with Midland. Not once did he ever pitch less than five innings and not once did he even allow more than four earned runs in a game – he went six innings in that outing and struck out seven. He began with a beautifully pitched game against the Houston Astros’ Corpus Christi Hooks, going seven shutout innings and setting down nine batters on K’s, while only allowing three hits with no walks. The only no-decision he received apart from his six wins in seven starts came when he allowed only two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings – although he did walk a season-high four batters in that game.

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However, his best outing (ironically) came in his last one. Last Thursday night on the road against the San Diego Padres’ San Antonio Missions, Manaea dominated the game, tossing six shutout innings and striking out a career-high 13. Manaea faced 22 batters and threw 70 percent of his pitches for strikes – 93 pitches total. According to MiLB.com, “all of the 13 Missions he fanned went down swinging – including seven in a row at one point between the first and third frames.” As a result of his thrilling performance in his final outing of the season, he was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6.

What may be the most notable part of Manaea’s overall skill set – including what he showed last Thursday – is the ability to sustain his fastball deep into games. As a talented-but-raw southpaw, Manaea typically goes as his fastball does, which to some could be seen as problematic in the future. Yet, with the consistent outings he put together this year, it seems as if he’s proven that his fastball is not only just as good as advertised, but also is effective from pitch 1-100. With an imposing velocity range of 90-96, Manaea has demonstrated his ability to not only maintain the effectiveness and life of his true plus pitch, but also has shown he can command it throughout the later parts of a ballgame. This will definitely help him in his (hopefully bright) future with the Green and Gold, and his great first season within the organization should give A’s fans a lot to be optimistic about.

Next: Can Josh Phegley Fill in For Stephen Vogt?

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