clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Moving On Up: Sean Manaea

The AL West is set to welcome another potential Rookie of the Year candidate, as Manaea is slated to start against the Astros on Friday.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Sean Manaea was being called up by the Oakland A's. He's slated to start on Friday in Oakland against the Houston Astros, with an extra day of rest (he was scheduled to pitch on Thursday). Here is what Michael Schwarz had to say about Manaea in our A's top ten prospects post:

Acquired from Kansas City in the Ben Zobrist trade, Manaea right away became Oakland's top pitching prospect. His repertoire features a slider and changeup that grade at least average (Tucker Blair of Baseball Prospectus grades the slider above-average), a plus fastball that borders on double-plus, and improving control. Several years removed from a labrum injury that dropped him to 34th overall in the 2013 draft, Manaea has regained the dominant form that once made him a candidate to go 1-1. In 7 starts with AA Midland, he compiled a 1.90 ERA, 15 walks, and 51 strikeouts in 42.2 IP. More important, he seems comfortable and confident since the July trade to Oakland. Manaea's injury history and command troubles (career 3.67 BB/9) still cause some concern. If, however, he stays healthy and maintains his high strikeout totals, Manaea should emerge as an above-average SP for Oakland and for fantasy owners. If his slider develops into a second plus-offering, he could join Sonny Gray at the top of the A's rotation.

The 24-year-old southpaw has continued his run of dominance in the A's system, pitching to the following line in three Triple-A starts: 18 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 21 K, 1.50 ERA. Manaea plies his craft with three pitches that flash plus or better on his best days - a low-to-mid 90s running fastball, a low-80s slider, and a change-up with tremendous movement. All three pitches are subject to his bouts of wildness, which have come and gone since the 213 shoulder injury that sunk his draft stock. Since joining the A's organization, however, his mechanics have been far more consistent, leading to better command and more steady stuff. Whether that is a credit to the A's organization, a result of maturation and health, or some combination of the two is neither here nor there; what matters most is that he has the size (6'5" and 230-plus pounds) and stuff to be a mainstay at the top of the rotation.

To reach that ceiling, however, Manaea will have to demonstrate that he can stay on the field. He dealt with shoulder issues in college, and has only accumulated 214 IP as a professional (largely due to a groin injury that kept him out for the beginning of 2015). Dan Farnsworth of FanGraphs speculated that some of these injuries may play a role in his mechanical inconsistencies, as well. Few, if any, doubt Manaea's stuff - but there are plenty of questions about his ability to stay healthy, and the implication of his mechanical breakdowns.

For now, Manaea seems poised for an opportunity to stick in the A's rotation, given that Eric Surkamp has been demoted and Chris Bassitt is a placeholder. Picking up half of his starts in the friendly environs of Coliseum will help quite a bit for fantasy purposes (and, perhaps, his confidence), and the team's coaching staff has a reasonably strong track record (Sonny Gray has surpassed most expectations, and had similar mechanical issues). Manaea has the ability to suppress runs and pick up plenty of whiffs, and may well be poised for a run at the Rookie of the Year award if everything breaks right.