It may just be a simulated season, but Sean Manaea’s strong showing thus far is a sign of hope for the actual season.
While the Oakland A’s starting rotation is expected to be a strength, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the quintet of hurlers making up the staff. One of the key questions surrounds Sean Manaea, who is expected to be the A’s ace, at least in the early part of the season.
Manaea had been in the midst of a breakout 2018 campaign when his season came to an end due to shoulder woes. While he had been expected to miss the entire 2019 campaign, he had returned sooner than expected, making five starts for Oakland down the stretch. In those 29.2 innings, Manaea allowed just four runs on 16 hits and seven walks, striking out 30 batters. He certainly did not appear to miss a beat.
But that was also during September, when teams are giving those minor league call ups a chance to play at the major league level. As impressive as that showing was, it still remains to be seen if Manaea can replicate his success in 2018.
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His performance in spring training certainly did not assuage those concerns. While it is only March, and those numbers truly do not matter, the A’s had to have been hoping for better than 12 runs on 14 hits in 7.2 innings. On the positive side, Manaea did not walk anyone, and struck out ten, but those hits were not what anyone wanted.
In the absence of games currently being played, Out of the Park Baseball 2021 has been simulating the season. While those games mean even less than spring training, the simulation does have some reason for hope for the A’s and Manaea, as he has looked every bit the ace he is needed to be. Over his 64 simulated innings, Manaea has a 2.25 ERA and a 1.125 WHiP, striking out 53 batters with 28 walks.
Obviously, we all hope to have actual games forthcoming this season. And when those games do begin, the hope is that Manaea will be able to perform at a reasonably comparable level. Even if he can be 80% of what he was in 2018, the A’s would certainly take that.
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Sean Manaea is going to be a key part of the Oakland A’s success this season. Hopefully his simulated performance will be a sign of things to come.