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Breaking Down Sean Manaea's Start vs Seattle

After the positive feedback I received for my previous breakdown of Jose Berrios, I was motivated to continue the series - this time with another young prospect who was also making just his 2nd career start in the MLB.

Oakland A's top pitching prospect Sean Manaea was assigned the tough task of squaring off against King Felix yesterday, and as a huge fan of both pitching prospects and the Mariners, I couldn't think of a better outing to dissect than this one. Let's do this.

Player Profile:

"Baby Giraffe", "The Throwin' Samoan", "Samo-Fro"

  • 6'5'' 245lb LHP (24.0 years old)
  • Drafted 34th overall by the Royals in 2013
  • In his first career start against HOU last week: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP. 87 pitches (50 strikes).
  • Pitch types: 
    • Fastball 65.4% [92.4mph]
    • Slider 29.6% [77.6mph]
    • Changeup 4.9% [82.5mph]

1st Inning

Sean Manaea strikes out Nori Aoki
Manaea started the game off by showcasing his FB. It runs anywhere from 90-94 and comes from a low three-quarter release point. He got ahead of the leadoff hitter, Nori Aoki, 0-2 with a 90 and a 91mph FB before burying this 79mph SL down in the dirt to get Aoki to commit for the K and the first out of the afternoon. Get used to seeing this sequence. He loves to bury the SL after getting ahead. Very rarely did Manaea throw a SL for a called strike - almost all of them were down towards the bottom of the zone/in the dirt. After working the count to 1-1 against Ketel Marte, he ran a 92mph FB in on his hands to produce a lazy fly ball to left for the second out. Just like he did with the previous two batters, Sean started Cano off with a 92mph FB, this one on the outer half which induced a weak rollover to the right side to end the inning.

Inning Summary:
3 batters, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 7 pitches (6 strikes), FPS(First Pitch Strikes): 3/3

2nd Inning

Sean Manaea strikes out Kyle Seager
Nelson Cruz led off the 2nd inning, and after missing with two FBs inside to bring the count to 2-0, Manaea grooved him a third straight 92mph FB over the heart of the plate. Cruz put a charge into it towards left-center and off the bat it sounded like it was gone. Billy Burns was backed up to the wall in front of the 388' marker to make the catch for the first out. Manaea threw a first pitch SL for the first time to the 5-hole hitter, Franklin Guiterrez, but missed up and out of the zone. He came back with a 1-0 91mph FB that was turned into a sharp ground ball up the middle and went right into the shift the A's had setup for Guti. Two up, two down, but both balls were well-hit. This brought up what would turn out to be Manaea's favorite matchup of the day, Kyle Seager. Sean absolutely molested Seager yesterday. In this AB, he threw 3 straight SLs ranging from 77-80mph and earned his 2nd K of the day after getting Kyle to chase a late-breaking 0-2 SL down in the zone.

Inning Summary:
3 batters, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 8 pitches (5 strikes), FPS: 1/3

3rd Inning

Sean Manaea strikes out Ketel Marte
After missing with a first pitch 78mph SL down in the dirt, Manaea gave up his first hit of the day to Chris Iannetta on this 92mph FB that Chris took the other way against the shift towards a vacant 2B. Sean was now 1 for 3 with first pitch SLs, and would choose go with his FB first pitch against the next 7 batters before getting back to Seager. After falling behind 2-1 to Dae-Ho Lee, Sean got him to bounce a weak ground ball to Jed Lowrie at 2B with a 4th straight FB. It's possible this could have been a double play. At minimum it was an easy out at first. Lowrie simply botched the play to leave men on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. This prompted the 9-hole hitter, Leonys Martin, to lay a sac bunt down towards 3rd to set up a 1 out with runners on 2nd and 3rd scenario. Manaea did an excellent job of getting out of the jam his defense had put him in. He got Aoki to ground out to Lowrie on a 2-1 93mph FB which kept the runners at bay. He then worked a nice FB-FB-SL sequence to Ketel Marte which ended in another swinging K on this 79mph SL in the dirt (with an appropriately frustrated reaction from Marte) to end the top half of the 3rd. First two men reach, both left stranded, great work by Manaea.

Inning Summary
5 batters, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 14 pitches (9 strikes), FPS: 3/5

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