Guest Post: Sean Manaea scouting report

Guest Post: Sean Manaea scouting report

Cubs den contributor Kevin Gallo has another scouting report for us. This one is on potential top draft pick Sean Manaea.

Kevin is a former high school baseball coach and an aspiring scout who attends a ton of amateur ballgames. He writes for Big League Futures, a draft site for amateur baseball players that will be holding amateur showcases beginning in June.  Kevin uses first hand information while also talking to professional scouts.

Here is his report on Manaea...

Pitcher name: Sean Manaea

HT: 6’5

WT: 215lbs

Position: LHP

Draft status: Indiana State Junior

B/T: L/L

Physical:  Manaea is athletic with a long lanky body and limbs.  He is still developing muscle mass and his lower half could still gain strength has he develops.  He has a great pitcher's frame that looks to be able to handle a heavy inning load once he fills out.

Mechanics: He throws from a low ¾ arm slot and has a high leg kick.  He has a very compact and explosive delivery, with good extension because of his long legs.  Manaea’s delivery is very deceptive, which makes the pitches hard to pick up and makes the ball seems to be coming quicker than it actually is.  He does have problems repeating his delivery from time to time, causing him to lose velocity and leave the ball up.  These are all things that can be corrected easily because of his athleticism.

Fastball:   Manaea’s fastball has the potential to be a plus pitch.  It sits in the low 90s but has been clocked as high as 96.  He has the potential to jump up in velocity as his lower half gains strength.  His fastball also shows good tailing, sinking action and is what you would call a "heavy ball".  This creates a lot of swing and misses and making it difficult to make solid contact.

Secondary Pitches:  Manaea has a slider that sits in the low to mid 80s with a hard 11 to 4 bite.  It does resemble a slurve from time to time and he needs to develop more consistency with it, but it shows flashes of being a plus plus pitch.

Manaea’s change up started coming into its own this summer, showing surprising potential.  His change-up sits in around 84 to 86 with tailing action.  When Manaea gets on top of it is also shows sinking action also.  It has the making of an above average to plus pitch.

Command:  Manaea has shown outstanding control with 44BB in 156.2 innings in 2012, but it is his command that he needs to improve on.   While he is able to stay around the strike zone, he doesn’t always stay put it where he needs to.  That being said his athleticism is a plus because that will help him gain command has he continue to develop.

Summary:  Manaea has one of the highest ceilings in the draft this year.  His natural ability and untapped potential give him the ability to become a true #1.  He will take at least 2 to 3 years because of the refining that is needed to be done in his delivery and pitch development.  The end result will be a front end starter in the Major Leagues.




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  • fb_avatar

    Do we have any idea who the Astros are looking at?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    From what I understand they haven't zeroed in on anyone yet. But I won't be surprised if they didn't take Appel because of his high floor and very good ceiling.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    The Astros will likely take whichever top-20 rated player who will sign the smallest contract.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I my opinion they did a great job last year in the draft and made a great impact in their system.

  • LHP that can hit the mid 90's do not grow on trees and makes this guy very attractive in the draft, the fact that his change up is coming along and has the potential to be a plus pitch is a great thing... If the Cubs feel they can help him with his delivery, then this could be a very good pick in the first round, wouldn't be surprised if he's picked over Appel.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I have a feeling that they will only draft Appel (or anyone else for that matter at this pick) if they reach a deal first. They cannot afford to lose this pick.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    True, like with Almora, they will draft someone they know they can sign... And the FO has a good relationship with Boras, that said, it doesn't mean they can't reach an agreement with Manaea.

  • In reply to Caps:

    "LHP that can hit the mid 90's do not grow on trees"
    Appels [sp.] grow on trees though.

    Sorry, had to do it.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    LOL very clever.

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    I'm a Manaea fan, despite Appel having a higher floor. Just a gut feeling I guess, but I'd be excited if the Cubs get him. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if the Astros take the BPA-not-named-Appel, which could well be Manaea.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Yeah, my gut is screaming at me that he ain't on the board for us.

  • Good stuff. Any chance we're going to see one of these on Appel?

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    In reply to Carne Harris:

    Carne, I think KG did one on Appel last year. So it should be in the archives.

    KG, good stuff and THANKS!!!

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    He did one last year. When I get back home I'll link it in the article.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Here's KG's report on Appel:

  • In reply to SFToby:

    That's great, thanks.

  • It was this type of scouting report that I was reading a month or so ago that led me to vote for the Cubs to take Manaea in the poll on this site. I thought then, and so far nothing has changed my mind, that he had the highest upside of the big 3 college arms without the overuse of Appel and the quirks of Stanek. It's a long way until the draft and a lot of things can happen, but I really hope he's there at #2.

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    KG, what are the odds that whoever drafts Manaea tries to coach him into raising his arm slot to more of a mid to high 3/4 in order to help him get more sink on the ball.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    He already has natural sink on his FB, But it won't surprise me if they did adjust is arm angle a little to help with his other pitches.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    The exciting thing for me with taking Manaea over Appel is him getting to work with our new minor league pitching coordinator, Derek Johnson. He gets a lot of credit for David Price. Without doing any research I would guess that there are a ton of similarities between these two pitchers.
    I really hope this is who the Cubs get.

  • Put me on board for Manaea as well. I belive he has the highest upside of any of the 3 pitchers listed. I think the Cubs would probably take Appel over Manaea first , Appel being the more polished, ready product. IMO the Astros will pass on Appel and draft someone who is more "signable".

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    In reply to Steve Flores:

    Boras represents Manaea, as well as Appel.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I wonder how Boras is going to try to get #1 money for the
    #2 pick.

  • What does Kevin mean when he distinguishes between 'command' and 'control'?

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Command is more fine. Being able to throw strikes doesn't necessarily mean good command. A pitcher like Greg Maddux, for example, didnt just throw strikes, he put them right where he wanted them.

  • I also wonder about the arm angle, and wonder if there are any concerns about his delivery. I know, as someone who threw 3/4 a lot), that I often put more stress on my elbow during my throwing motion. Granted, I wasn't pitching at a high level (really, just an infielder), but I just wonder if arm injury is a concern with him. I'm also very excited about him as a prospective draft pick for the Cubs.

  • Some good stuff there. What about his mental make-up?

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Good point, lokeey. I would like to know more about what's above the shoulders and between the ears....on any prospect.
    Thanks, Kevin.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    From what I have heard from other people Manaea is very coach able and has a great attitude.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Good to hear that. Would you say the same about Appel?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    About the same for Appel.

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    I just wanted to post this to see what kind of feedback I would get. The 2013 season is most of all a lose. It's look that way to us but behind the scenes without us knowing I see a plan and I wanted to share with you what I believe our Front Office is doing.

    The 13 season is going to be better then last year. At least I'm sure it won't be a 100 lose team. The FO will be putting together core of players to help the ones we have coming. Behind the scenes they are making plans to fix and upgrade Wrigley Field. This will happen in the 2 years before the 15 season. They will make this ballpark the place to play. More Night games and better everything. I'm telling you they are planning something big.

    After the 13 season David Price and Robinson Cano will be Free Agents. I know you think the Yankees won't let him go but Cano is got to be tired of playing in New York and He wants to test FA. It's getting around to all players that this team is close to winning and there is not a baseball player in the world who wouldn't want to be on the Cubs team that finally wins it. Cano might not be the best defensively but without a doubt he's the best hitting second baseman in the game. We will have all that TV money and thats not even close to the money they will have to spend.

    Now you need 8 more on the field and the starting rotation is going to be put together to be one of the best in the game. Oh yeah and the 8 more players. I believe this line up will look something like this.
    LF bjax-He is going to figure it out.
    CF Albert Almora-He's already a stud.
    RF Jorge Solar-A stud on the making and they aren't going to split these two apart.
    3B-I'm hoping Stewart turns himself around. At least I know he can be great on D. He can hold it until Beaz is ready.
    SS-Castro and he is only going to get better.
    2B-Cano! enough said.
    1B-Rizzo He will be one of the best in the game.
    C- Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro.

    Everything will be in place for this team to be dominate for years to come. If you can't see then read between the lines because you won't be asble to see it any other way.

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    In reply to RClax3:

    Baez is ahead of Almora and Soler, so you'll see him in the bigs before those two most likely.

    And I don't think they'll pick up Cano, he'll be on the wrong side of 30 and starting to decline.

  • In reply to RClax3:

    It's been said that Cano wants A Rod money. I doubt the cubs front office would be inclined to hand out that type of contract.

  • I'm hoping that Astros really don't want to deal with Boras and picks up one of the Georgia HS guys.

  • I really like Manaea. For the survey I voted for him twice. I am from Chicago ya know, vote early vote often. :)

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    Sorry it's on this thread, but excellent article on the Garza trade, in context of Rays-Royals deal:

    The jury is still out, but so far it doesn't look like the Cubs surrendered a huge amount for 3 years of Garza control. IMO, it was actually a pretty good trade by Hendry, the problem with it is that the TIMING was bad; we really shouldn't have been in win-now mode. If a contender makes that trade, they look like geniuses.

    We'll see what happens with Archer and Lee, but everyone else we gave up is a bit player at best

  • Appel and Boras are not going to have a whole lot of bargaining leverage. What are they going to do, go play in Japan or sit out a year? You offer him the slot money and they will take it.

  • That is the manager reason I think Astros will take Appel. That and the fact Appel could be plugged into the Astros rotation as soon as the middle of 2014.

  • Appel wants to be drafted by a team ready to rebuilding teams.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    He's gonna be SoL in that case. The slotting system and his contract demands pretty much guarantee he'll be taken by a rebuilding team. Only bad teams with very high draft picks have the draft cash available to give him the kind of contract he's demanding. We learned that when he screwed the Pirates last season.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Boras said the other day he wants to have communication first before a team drafts his client........Appel is putting himself in a corner if he does not sign again......guy might have a million dollar arm, but he might have a 2 cent head......just like Mark Prior.

    I like to stay away from players that have issues already......I don't know about any of these draft picks.....but I wouldn't mind if MLB can let teams trade their draft picks the same way the NBA does on draft day.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Boras is bluffing. He knows Appel is going to either settle for less money, or go to a godawful outfit. That's the way it works with the new CBA.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    If Mark Prior had a two-cent head -- and I doubt that he does -- he wouldn't be alone around here.

  • Great post Kevin! Thanks.

    Here's a nice, fairly recent video of Manaea nearly 10 minutes long. Besides his delivery, it shows how he grips his split change, 4 seamer and slider.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I know if you look at the picture John put up you can see that he is throwing His Change up

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Thanks for pointing that out. I was having trouble looking past that look in his eyes.

  • Actually, if I am Mark Appel's father, me and Scott Boras would be having some issues. He has done a complete disservice to his client. Boras is all up in arms over the current system, he went on a big rant at the winter meetings about we pay Cuban kids big money, but the American drafted players are getting hosed. So he used Appel to make his point.
    What did he gain by not signing? Nothing. And he lost a year of development in pro ball, a six million dollar signing bonus. Risking injury pitching another year in college, and he loses a year off his career. And he won't get anymore money this year, possibly less. Terrible decisions were made.

  • Kind of odd that being born and raised in the US and fortunate enough to attend school at Stanford because you excel at a playing a kids game enables you to claim to be less fortunate than a kid growing up playing stick ball in Cuba.

    I'm surprised Boras doesn't identify these athletes at an earlier age so they can renounce their US citizenship and move to a third world country to gain an advantage.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    You mean there is a difference between Palo Alto and Havana? Impossible.

  • I've preferred Manaea over Appel since I learned about him this past summer. Appel may make it to the MLB sooner, but Manaea could be better. Nothing is guaranteed, that's for sure. plus Manaea is a local kid, from Valpo. I read somewhere (sorry no link) that he was really skinny coming out of HS and raw. As he's added mass and begun a NCAA program and exposure to the coaching he has really taken off. He practically never threw a Change-up before last year so he will get better.....

    I'm not too worried about the baggage of Appel or Boras. Theo/Jed haven't had any real issues with Boras clients previously, have they? To me, I feel like we have a pair of solid #2 SP's in Garza & Shark (I voted to extend Garza) and some intriguing 3/4 SP candidates in Baker/Feldman, then theres Vizcaino, Cabrerra, & Rondon.... where do they fit in? We have a potential wave down in A ball.... But who is our best prospect at signing a lights out STUD ACE #1 pitcher?.... It's with the #2 overall pick next year. Unless we want to give Price a $175MM+ contract as a FA.......

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Long time reader, first time poster here. I actually played with and against Manaea in high school and will say that your assessment of being skinny and raw out of HS is accurate. He's probably added 5-10 mph on his fastball since then. Though, as it says in the scouting report, he definitely has a deceptive delivery. Because of this, he was one of the toughest pitchers I've ever caught. The strides he's made since entering college makes me think there's still tons of projectability for him in pro ball.

  • Thanks for the insight. For me he is a pitcher that doesn't even realize what his potential is yet. Although I think he aren't yo get an idea by the end of the summer. For those of you in the Illinois State university area Indiana State will be playing them on April 19-21. If you want to get a chance yo see Manaea pitch.

  • It doesn't look like Boras is doing any of clients any favors these days. Getting them contracts that cannot live up to is not necessarily in a players best interest either.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'd love to see one team concentrate on drafting Boras' clients and watch him try to negotiate against himself in getting the biggest dollars possible for each one. I wonder how many he'll represent in nest year's draft.

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    In reply to SFToby:

    That's hysterical. I nominate the Dodgers since they're just going to buy their major league team, anyway.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SFToby:


  • Boras has 6 months to learn what "In a players best interest" means

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    Hey Kevin,

    First of all, thanks for doing this and fielding questions on it, as well. Teaches me how much I have to learn about this stuff.

    Second, a question: what do you see as his best pitch when he's fully developed. Is it the fastball, or is it the plus plus slider if it develops?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That is hard to answer, because is FB if he starts commanding it with the amount of movement he has on it and if he starts pumping it up to 96 to 98 which is possible turns his FB into a plus plus pitch. Most likely his Slider will be his best pitch but his FB won't be far off.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Can he throw the slider for strikes, or is there a danger that we're looking at Carlos Marmol Part 2 here, where hitters know the slider is a strike if they swing and ball if they take, so they'll just take the walks?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    No where the command may not be there he can throw all of his pitches in the strike zone. His slider is a two plane pitch which is the reason it so hard to command st times.

  • Off topis: I see that they announced a new manager for the Boise Hawks today:

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    In reply to SFToby:

    What I find equally interesting is that they're keeping Mark Johnson with the "prospect team." Theo and Jed must really like what he's doing.

  • Has anyone compared Wil Meyers stats with Brett Jackson stats?

    Very similar, but Jackson K's more.

  • Okay, I watch videos of Sean....first impression....Jesse Orosco....second impression, the kid has a hard time just throwing warm up pitches to his catcher......he is all over the plate......not smooth delivery....has a high leg kick on the stretch.....when behind the count, Sean lays one down the middle of the plate.........a project for several years......

    Mark Appel....his pitches moves better...has more of a command on his pitches......needs to get off the mound quicker.....has to work on his stretch delivery pitch......more advance than Manaea.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    And that's what gives Appel a higher floor is ability to repeat his delivery and command right now. But also you have you look the differences in schools too. Appel has spent 4 years at a very good baseball school known for developing players. Manaea is going to a school where they have never develop any where near the talent or have the track record of Stanford. I am go out on a limb and say 85% of Manaea is pure natural talent without coaching.
    I do believe Appel will be a SP in the MLB and that is his floor. But I had a chance to see him a couple times last year and saw his FB flatten out and leave the ball up.

    I hate doing comparisons but here is what I see from the 2 pitchers as ceilingd. Appel is Matt Cain and Manaea is David Price.

  • Sign Garza and Samardjzia to extensions. Draft Manaea. Vizcaino develops.

    There is your top 4 rotation guys for 2015. That leaves 1 spot for an internal player (Wood, Johnson, Whitenack, Struck, Carreno etc) or a FA.

    The makings of a very solid rotation.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I think you maybe pushing Manaea.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    OK. Last half of 2015? Or is 2016 possible.

  • Mid 2016 is more like it

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    Thanks for the report! I'm really liking Manaea.

    I'm not sold at all on Appel. I don't like the attitude/entitlement plus I'm of the opinion that, even with a high floor, people are over-rating his ceiling. I believe his floor is much more representative of his outcome.

    And I agree that Manaea has room to develop and improve.

    If the Cubs don't take Manaea, I hope the grab Meadows. Or maybe give one of the Florida guys (assuming Kharsten gets healthy) underslot money and use later rounds to throw some money at a player considered a tough sign.

    As a Porter Co, IN resident, it'd be great to have Manaea and Shark.

    Those two would be pretty great #2 and #3 guys.

    Hopefully we can pick up Carlos Rodon next year if this team continues to struggle as much as I think. He's , IMO, a future #1.

    (As much as I wouldn't mind breaking the bank for Price, I can't imagine him not being traded. I foresee teams moving heaven, earth, and every last valuable prospect they have to pick up Price)

  • Not sold on Appel either, Boras did a good job in making teams want to shy away from Appel despite his talent. Manaea hopefully learned something in terms of Boras' representation of Appel so the same thing won't happen to him. Its too bad he's represented by Boras too.

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