Sean Manaea Set to Make Major League Debut For Oakland Athletics on Friday
Many expected right-hander Jesse Hahn to get the start instead, considering that it synced up with his spot in the rotation and he had two brilliant starts to open the season in Triple-A before being thrown off track by a rainout. However, according to Slusser, Hahn is currently dealing with a blister issue and will not be able to take advantage of this opening in the rotation.
Manaea, who was the first round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2013, has been even better than Hahn this season. In three starts, he’s pitched 18 innings, allowing just three earned runs. If there is a complaint to be had about Manaea, it’s that he’s had fairly steady traffic on the basepaths: 16 hits and four walks. However, he’s only allowed one home run, and has done an excellent job of limiting the damage. His ERA sits at just 1.50, and he’s already earned a pair of wins.
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Manaea’s path to the big leagues has been a relatively quick one. After being drafted by the Royals, he spend two years in their minor league system before being dealt to the A’s last season at the deadline, in exchange for utility man Ben Zobrist. Last season may have been tough to watch for A’s fans, but if Manaea pans out like the team thinks he will, it could be worth it.
Right now, Manaea is the second-ranked prospect in the A’s system, and is ranked 48th overall by Baseball America. MLB.com’s overall rankings have him listed 65th overall, as well as naming him the seventh-best left-handed pitching prospect in the league.
The 24-year old was dominant in Double-A Midland last season, posting a 1.90 ERA after joining the A’s. This was a marked improvement over the 5.14 ERA he had posted in two starts with Kansas City’s Double-A squad prior to the trade.
It should be interesting to watch Manaea on Friday given that he has a fastball that touches 96 mph, as well an above-average slider and a solid changeup. In 42 career starts, the left-hander has notched 257 strikeouts, and he led last year’s Arizona Fall League with 33 K’s in six starts.
Hahn, meanwhile, will have to wait on another opportunity to rejoin the major league club.
The A’s will need to clear a roster spot before Friday’s game in order to make room for Manaea. On Wednesday, the team announced that reliever Andrew Triggs was optioned to Triple-A, to make room for catcher/outfielder Matt McBride. They have not announced a corresponding move for Friday in regards to Manaea’s start.