TigsTown Scouting Report #2: RHP Matt Manning

Matt Manning has gone from raw talent to one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

Matt Manning (TigsTown.com/Terri Nummer)


Position: Right-Handed PItcher

Date of Birth: 1/28/1998 (Opening Day 2020: 22)

Height/Weight: 6’6”/215 lbs

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Acquired: 2016 MLB Draft, 1st Round, 9th Overall

Scouting Report

The Good: A premium athlete with exceptional size and strength, Manning’s profile has taken a far more positive turn that two years ago. He owns and above-average to plus fastball that plays higher than the raw grade thanks to outstanding extension out front. His curveball, while slow and loopy on occasion, is more often a sharp downer that can miss bats in the zone and work effectively as a chase pitch. In my looks last year his curveball tended to improve throughout his starts and he went to it in big spots later in games. Manning’s command over his arsenal is still evolving, but he generally pounds the strike zone and the momentum from 2019 makes it easy to project average or better command at full maturity.

The Bad: As with many young pitchers, Manning’s changeup remains a developing third pitch, but he showed considerable progress throughout last season. At times he can turn it over and show above-average fade, but more often the pitch remains too firm. As noted above, his command is also developing.

Risk: Manning is a physical specimen with no hints of injury on his record. There’s some risk the changeup never makes the final climb to truly round out his arsenal, but his overall risk profile has lessened dramatically since his debut.

Projection: Another starter destined for the Triple-A Toledo rotation this season, Manning is just as likely as Casey Mize to make his big league debut in 2020. There’s a clear path to a workhorse mid-rotation starter and still and outside chance he eclipses that likely outcome to slot as a legitimate #2 starter behind Mize.

2 thoughts on “TigsTown Scouting Report #2: RHP Matt Manning

  1. Does anyone else believe Manning will need to add another pitch like a slider or cutter for lefties and to give him a pitch in the mid range, between his mid 90’s fastball and upper 70’s curve?

    1. Thanks for the question, Michael.

      If there hadn’t been considerable progress with the changeup last year, I’d be more concerned about development of a slider/cutter. He flashed some strong changeups in the two starts I saw last year, including a couple that would garner plus grades. He needs some consistency with it, but the pitch should be usable at the big league level. On top of that, he does a good job utilizing his curveball down-and-in to lefties, which is helpful.

      There’s still some reliever risk in Manning’s profile, but there’s been enough overall progress over the last 2-3 years that I can see some continued growth and the arsenal should round out nicely to stick in the middle of the rotation.

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