The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday morning that it will be Sean Manaea -- and not Jesse Hahn -- who will get the call to replace Eric Surkamp in the Oakland A's rotation on Friday. Manaea, the A's top pitching prospect, will be making his major-league debut.
Manaea has unquestionably been the top starter on the Nashville Sounds' roster so far this season. He has allowed exactly one run in each of his first three starts, spanning 18 innings. Manaea has 21 strike-outs and only four walks and he has allowed just one homerun. The left-hander was acquired by the A's in the Ben Zobrist trade with Kansas City last July. Since joining the A's organization, Manaea has been nothing short of spectacular. He had a 1.90 ERA in 42.2 innings with Double-A Midland after the trade and then allowed just two runs in 15 innings during the Texas League post-season. After a strong run in the Arizona Fall League, Manaea was impressive during his stint in major league camp this spring.
The 24-year-old was a 2013 compensation round pick of the Royals. Manaea had been in the discussion to be the top pick leading up to the draft, but concerns about the health of his shoulder and hip caused him to slide. His shoulder turned out to be sound, but Manaea did have to have surgery on his hip after signing with KC. In 2014, Manaea made his professional debut. He spent the entire season in High-A, posting a 3.11 ERA in 121.2 innings. He struck-out 145 and walked 54.
Last season, Manaea began the year on the disabled list after he suffered a groin injury during spring training. He returned to game action on June 24 and spent time in Rookie ball, High-A and Double-A with the Royals before being traded to Oakland in mid-July. Once he arrived with the A's, Manaea worked on adjusting his change-up grip and the pitch became a more effective third offering behind his fastball and slider. The fastball -- which can touch 95 and sits comfortably in the 91-93 MPH range -- and the slider are still Manaea's two best pitches, but the change-up has given him something else for hitters to think about. Manaea's command has been an issue at times in the past, but he has been throwing strikes regularly with Nashville. Manaea has a 1.46 GO/AO this season and has been a groundball pitcher throughout his career.