Evan Manarino had a memorable career at UC-Irvine. The left-hander spent his first two years post-high school pitching at Saddleback Junior College in his hometown of Mission Viejo, California. Manarino transferred to Irvine as a junior, just in time to become a significant contributor to a team that reached the College World Series in 2014. That year, Manarino had a 2.66 ERA in 64.1 innings as he split his time between the bullpen and the rotation. He walked only nine that season.
In 2015, Manarino moved into the UCI starting rotation. In 94.2 innings, Manarino had a 3.80 ERA and a 76:25 K:BB. The A's picked him up in the 25th round of the 2015 draft and sent him to short-season Vermont to start his pro career.
Although Manarino's ERA wound-up a disappointing 5.59, he pitched better in those 38.2 innings for the Lake Monsters than that number would indicate. He walked only six the entire season, and one of those walks was intentional. He also struck-out 28 and allowed just two homeruns. Thirteen of the 24 runs Manarino allowed in his pro debut season came during his final four outings of the season (10.2 innings).
Donald Moore spoke with Manarino during a July roadtrip about his transition to pro ball and his goals for the future.
Donald Moore: Hi Evan, how is everything going for you this year?
Evan Manarino: Everything is going great so far and it's been a blast to play here, playing and traveling a lot and being able to go to the next level, so it's been amazing so far.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
EM: Just get better everyday. Come out here and play everyday and just work on my craft and try to get better.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a baseball player?
EM: My ability to stay calm, I think. On the mound, a lot of stuff can go wrong and get in your head, but my ability is to stay focused and stay on task.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
EM: Just overall command of my pitches because that is a big thing in baseball and pitching. You've got to get ahead and stay ahead and be able to command all your pitches in every count.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
EM: It's definitely a grind coming off college where you have school and baseball, which is also tough, but coming here, the bus rides, the late nights and waking up to baseball everyday and coming to the field early, so it's been a grind so far.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
EM: Not having to deal with school on top of baseball. That got brutal sometimes coming from a tough school. I was a sociology major at UC- Irving.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
EM: Not really, just whatever I got on the board to do today and what I have to do and just get mentally prepared. When I have to start or pitch in relief, I just try to get my mind prepared and think of what I have to do that day and when I'm on the mound.
DM: Any hobbies?
EM: Not much, just hanging out with my friends, going to the beach. I'm from California so I like to do that and just hang out.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
EM: Was the Angels growing up. I used to go to their games and watched them in the World Series, so that was awesome.
DM: If there was one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
EM: That would definitely be my dad. He taught me a lot about baseball and also the mental side and be ready to come in everyday to the baseball field and know what you have to do.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
EM: Actually it was this past baseball season. Someone on my college team hit a home run against San Diego State, actually it was Bubba Derby's team, and he missed home plate coming home and he was tagged out. Which I have never seen before so, that is the number one craziest thing I ever saw in my mind on a baseball field.
DM: Where do you see yourself and your baseball career in the future?
EM: I'm just trying to take baseball as far as I can and get better everyday and if that is whatever it is. I'm just trying to get as far as I can, with what I've got so far.
DM: Thank you so much for your time, and it was a pleasure meeting you and the best of luck to you and your career.
EM: Thank you very much.