• Twins MLB Draft Profile: Sean Manaea, SP

    Who IS This Guy?

    He might have the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in this year's draft class. A few years ago Sean Manaea was a raw high school kid with bad grades and no first-round aspirations, but now at age 21 he's in the conversation to become the first lefty pitcher drafted No. 1 overall since David Price in 2007.

    At 6'5" and 230 lbs, Manaea has the ability to reach the mid-90s from the left side, making him a rare specimen. He has progressed rapidly in three seasons at Indiana State University, adding new pitches to a repertoire that essentially consisted of onlya fastball when he first arrived on campus. He reportedly learned a split-change from a teammate late in his sophomore season, right before participating in the Cape Cod League, where an incredible showing sealed his billing as an elite draft prospect.

    Pitching in that collegiate summer league last year, Manaea struck out 85 hitters in 57 1/3 innings and walked just seven while registering a microscopic 1.22 ERA. He received the CCL's Outstanding Prospect Award, which in the past has gone to such players as Matt Wieters, Mark Teixeira and Billy Wagner.

    Manaea is following up that sterling performance with his best season yet at Indiana State. Through 12 starts, he's 5-4 with a 1.47 ERA and 93-to-27 K/BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings.

    Who Could He Be?

    With his size and velocity, Manaea offers what baseball evaluators crave. A scout quoted in one article marveled: "You really don't see lefties throw that hard. They're considered freaks and when you see someone projectable to be huge, like him, that's what you're looking for."

    He's grown so much -- both physically and mentally -- in his three years at college that it's difficult to put a cap on Manaea's upside. If he can stay healthy and continue to improve certain aspects of his game, he's got everything it takes to be a fast-tracked, top-of-rotation MLB starter.

    How Soon Could He Be Playing In Target Field?


    The history of collegiate pitchers taken in the top five picks portends an accelerated timetable. Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen and Trevor Bauer, who were taken successively with the top three picks in the 2011 draft, are all either in the majors or knocking on the door two years later. Kevin Gausman, the LSU right-hander who went fourth overall last year, is already in Double-A and dominating.

    Then again, Manaea can hardly be described as polished. He's still refining his secondary pitches and is said to have some issues with repeating his delivery and controlling the run game. His estimated time of arrival is probably a bit further off than fellow highly ranked collegiate hurlers Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel, but 2014 is not out of the question if things shake out right.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Messed Up Because…

    Manaea has all the physical attributes needed to become a dominant big-league pitcher but there are some questions regarding his personality and maturity. He's an extremely laid-back guy who nearly missed eligibility for college due to poor high school grades, which he admits were "due to pure laziness." He's come a long way since then, but will he be able to embrace the work ethic required to become an elite player at the pro level?

    Additionally, Manaea has exhibited some issues this year that have dropped his stock a bit. Hip soreness caused him to miss some time and, while he flashed 95 mph heat in the Cape Cod League last summer, he's been clocked more frequently in the low 90s this season. Velocity drops are always somewhat alarming for a player his age.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Nailed It Because…

    The southpaw profiles as exactly what the rebuilding Twins need: a high-upside arm with the potential to be major-league ready pretty quickly. Although he isn't as advanced as some of the other pitchers available, Manaea has all the traits you'd like to see in a top draft pick and would be an excellent addition to Minnesota's suddenly burgeoning core of pitching prospects.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins MLB Draft Profile: Sean Manaea, SP started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      BPA - and I don't think the BPA will be Manaea.
      Don't over think it. Take the best player. If Bryant is there, he should be taken.
      If the Twins think Fraizer is the BPA, then he should be taken.

      None of these guys will be ready until 2015 at the very earliest. Who knows what the system might look like in 2015 / 2016? Not me. Maybe Sano, E. Rosario, Meyer, Gibson, May, Kepler, Buxton all flame out due to injury or lack of talent.
      Or maybe some of their super young pitchers pan out. Guys like Berrios, R. Rosario, Baxendale, Lo and others become aces.

      So many things can happen in the course of a MiLB season to lose out on top talent just because of immediate needs is a potentially huge waste.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      BPA - and I don't think the BPA will be Manaea.
      Don't over think it. Take the best player. If Bryant is there, he should be taken.
      If the Twins think Fraizer is the BPA, then he should be taken.

      None of these guys will be ready until 2015 at the very earliest. Who knows what the system might look like in 2015 / 2016? Not me. Maybe Sano, E. Rosario, Meyer, Gibson, May, Kepler, Buxton all flame out due to injury or lack of talent.
      Or maybe some of their super young pitchers pan out. Guys like Berrios, R. Rosario, Baxendale, Lo and others become aces.

      So many things can happen in the course of a MiLB season to lose out on top talent just because of immediate needs is a potentially huge waste.
      Couldn't agree more. If, like Mr.Nelson said, there is something the coaches see as fixable which would lead him to being the BPA then take Manaea. If not, pass and grab pitching in the later rounds like last year. A pitcher with at best a 65 slider, a 60 fastball, and a 55 change up really doesn't excite me too much. His saving grace is he is LH and hides the ball well which makes his stuff play up.
    1. Reginald Maudling's Shin's Avatar
      Reginald Maudling's Shin -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Ever is a long time, especially when it includes a certain hall of famer outfielder.
      Puckett? He wasn't even close to Buxton as a prospect. Check out Kirby's HR totals in the minors.
    1. Reginald Maudling's Shin's Avatar
      Reginald Maudling's Shin -
      Would it be reasonable to rank Manaea slightly below Gausman and Zimmer?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reginald Maudling's Shin View Post
      Would it be reasonable to rank Manaea slightly below Gausman and Zimmer?
      Yeah, I'd imagine he'd get ranked somewhere in the 50 range of BA's prospect rankings. Those two debuted in the mid 20s, I believe.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Yeah, I'd imagine he'd get ranked somewhere in the 50 range of BA's prospect rankings. Those two debuted in the mid 20s, I believe.
      Agreed.
    1. 3rd Inning Stretch's Avatar
      3rd Inning Stretch -
      Was removed before the game today due to injury. You can now surely drop him from any consideration for #4.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by 3rd Inning Stretch View Post
      Was removed before the game today due to injury. You can now surely drop him from any consideration for #4.
      Agreed.
    1. mk's Avatar
      mk -
      Depending on the injury, I think/hope Manaea is being undervalued by everyone except the Twins. Despite losing a couple of ticks on the fastball, he's still dominating everyone put in front of him this year. Even if you take away everything he did on the Cape in 2012, Manea is still a 6' 5" 230 lbs lefty with a lower ERA and better K/9 rate than Appel or Gray.

      Also, Manaea showed his best stuff in the summer of 2012. Maybe it's reasonable to think it takes him longer to find his groove and his summer of 2013 will be just as good as 2012. Maybe not the right strategy for someone trying to make millions on draft day, but for a professional, isn't it better to be lights out in the summer vs. March and April?
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      Was removed before the game today due to injury. You can now surely drop him from any consideration for #4.-3rd Inning Stretch

      ... or greatly decrease his signing bonus! If the Twins have him at #4 on their board because they think he can recover his Cape Cod form I would mind signing him for $750,000 under slot.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      A college pitcher with injury concerns to go with the last two college pitchers we drafted in the first round that missed significant time is exactly what we need.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Baseball America's Jim Callis's most recent mock draft has Manaea going 32nd overall to the Yankees.

      Mock Draft 2.0: Shades Of Gray - BaseballAmerica.com
    1. InfraRen's Avatar
      InfraRen -
      Jon Heyman tweeted he's done for the year today.

      I understand the risks with this guy, but the potential he flashed has me wondering a bit - will we (and other teams) regret passing on him? With the injury reveal, it's a fair bet that this caused his "fall" this season in scouts eyes. His numbers were still dang good tho.

      The baseball draft is different. You draft a guy for what he CAN be, and Manaea could definitely be your #1 ace. It's too bad this injury has clouded his stock.

      Who knows. Maybe the Twins DO think that way. If the injury isnt too fearsome long-term, why not? I had written him off these past couple weeks but if somehow we did take him, I'd get it and even be pretty happy about it.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      yeah, I wonder now if he'll fall to the second round, and if by chance we could get Stewart to sign for 3M, that might be enough savings to get Manaea in the 2nd.. I'm dreaming, I know it won't happen, but I can still dream.
    1. InfraRen's Avatar
      InfraRen -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      yeah, I wonder now if he'll fall to the second round, and if by chance we could get Stewart to sign for 3M, that might be enough savings to get Manaea in the 2nd.. I'm dreaming, I know it won't happen, but I can still dream.
      Your dream is uber-dreamy. Hey, never know - I NEVER thought the Vikings would get the 3 guys they got in the 1st round this year. You never know! Yanks are probably biggest threat end of round 1.
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