Oakland Athletics Vs. Colorado Rockies Recap: Sean Manaea Shines In Debut
The Oakland Athletics’ top pitching prospect, Sean Manaea, dazzled through the first two innings of Friday’s split squad game against the Colorado Rockies.
Manaea’s only missteps occurred when he allowed Gerardo Parra to get a free pass in the first inning, and gave up a base hit to Kyle Parker on a ball that found its way into the outfield after deflecting off of third baseman Danny Valencia. Manaea may also wish he could get another shot at throwing to first base when he committed a throwing error during a pickoff attempt in the second inning.
But hey, it’s spring training.
The more important takeaway from Manaea’s performance is how solid he looked while earning four strikeouts, and keeping the ball on the ground when batters were able to make contact.
And in case you were wondering how hard the 24 year-old hurler was throwing…
This is the first chance that Bob Melvin has had to coach Manaea in a game situation, and it is evident that he liked what he saw. It’s still only one start in spring training, but A’s fans and management couldn’t have hoped for anything better than what they saw out of their starting pitcher today.
Billy Beane has said in the past that he hasn’t ruled out bringing Manaea up to the majors late in 2016. Perhaps we’ll see him in time for a mid-September rendezvous at Kauffman Stadium, where he could get an opportunity to start against the team that traded him.
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Reddick could not have asked for a better start to spring training, as he singled, doubled, and walked to complete his two-for-two outing. Valencia also got on base multiple times with a base hit and a walk. Billy Butler contributed to the total bases by also earning himself a free pass
Despite the A’s miserable 2015 season, strikeouts were not among the problems that plagued them, as the club struck out the second fewest times in the American League. However, this did not necessarily translate to a higher team on-base percentage, where they fell to tenth in the AL last year. This is why I am encouraged by the way the A’s showed their ability to earn both hits and walks today. They’re demonstrating an impressive amount of plate discipline for early spring training.
Lastly, I have been critical of Butler in the past for being a baserunning problem for everybody that follows him in the lineup. Today, I will give him credit for scoring from second base on a Carson Blair double in the second inning.
Franklin Barreto cranked a home run in a pinch hit situation in the sixth. Barreto’s offense picked up steam in the latter part of the 2015 season with Stockton, so it’s an encouraging sign to see him continuing his momentum in spring training.
The next batter was Joey Wendle, who lifted a fly ball to center field that was good for a triple. Wendle has been the topic of a lot of speculation about whether or not he will ever join the Athletics’ middle infield, considering he logged an impressive 2015 in Nashville while slashing .289/.323/.442. Wendle may be in his do-or-die season, considering Chad Pinder may be right on his heels, and Barreto, Richie Martin, and Yairo Munoz may be key future figures for the A’s infield. Wendle has a lot to prove this spring training if he wants to have a future in Oakland.
Dillon Overton logged two impressive scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth innings. Parra once again spoiled what would have otherwise been a perfect inning when he poked a ground ball into right field for a base hit. Overton was otherwise perfect with a strikeout. He often gets lost in conversations regarding his future with the A’s pitching staff, given the wide range of starters and relievers that Melvin has to pick from now. He is still the third highest rated pitcher in the A’s system, however. This is a crucial spring training for him in terms of development and seeing how he stacks up against the other Oakland pitchers.
The A’s get their first look at newly-acquired starting pitcher Rich Hill in a game against the Brewers on Saturday. Milwaukee’s starter is still TBD at the time of this writing. The game starts at 3:05 EST / 12:05 PST.