Scouting Notes: Manaea Carving Up The Cape

When you strike out 28 batters over the course of two outings, you're going to get some attention. When you do that in the Cape Cod League in front of dozens of scouts, as Indiana State's Sean Manaea has, the attention is enormous. And, as the hard throwing southpaw continues his dominant summer, he's also establishing himself as an elite 2013 draft prospect.

Sean Manaea is one of the elite handful of pitchers in the 2013 draft class. Let's get that established right away. Everything about him puts him right up there with the other elite arms like Jonathan Crawford, Bobby Wahl, and Karsten Whitson. At 6-foot-5, he has the frame scouts look for, as well as the powerful raw stuff and good command.

Until Thursday night, I had only seen the sizzling strikeout numbers Manaea was posting. In a summer that's been filled by an uncharacteristic offensive outburst on the Cape, the Indiana State standout has simply walked right through a league filled with high quality hitters. On Thursday in Hyannis, I found out just why he has been so utterly dominant.

Manaea got off to a flying starting in the first inning, pumping his fastball up to 96 mph and sitting steadily around 93-95. But, what immediately makes you take notice is the hitters' reactions to that fastball. As impressive as the velocity is, hitters at this level can still turn that type of fastball around. They were reacting to Manaea's fastball as if it was in the triple digits. That reaction can likely be chalked up to his slow, nearly effortless delivery and arm action. Saying a ball explodes out of pitcher's hand is a cliche, but it couldn't be more true in Manaea's case.

Ending his seven inning outing with 15 strikeouts and no walks, it really was the fastball and his command of it that stood out. He was able to move it in and out, as well as up and down throughout the game. The incredible number of swings and misses he got on the fastball alone is something you see as an evaluator on only very rare occasions.

He's a pitcher who loves his fastball and works primarily off of it, but Manaea also has two quality secondary pitches. He was able to put his potential above-average changeup at 83-86 mph in the back of the Falmouth hitters' minds, spotting it down and away to right-handers very consistently. He'd often do this to set up fastballs up and in to put away those right-handers. His slider was featured less at 82-84 mph, and the command of it lags behind, but when he did throw it for strikes it was very sharp.

The most impressive thing about Manaea's barrage of strikeouts on the Cape is that he's doing it without being anything resembling a finished product. His ability to miss bats with his fastball is a rare gift, and the effortlessness is something you can't teach. He was still living around 90-93 mph by the seventh inning of his Thursday outing, so it also doesn't appear stamina is going to be a big issue.

We're only scratching the surface of Sean Manaea's potential. There is probably a tick or two of added velocity on the way, and his breaking ball is going to improve. In other words, the best pitcher on Cape Cod is probably just going to keep getting better. His remaining outings will also be required viewing for this Cape Cod resident from here on out.

Scouting Baseball Top Stories