Position: Right-Handed PItcher
Date of Birth: 1/28/1998 (Opening Day 2020: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’6”/215 lbs
Acquired: 2016 MLB Draft, 1st Round, 9th Overall
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.