Embed from Getty Images In 2016 the Detroit Tigers took a big risk when they drafted pitcher Matt Manning. Manning was a basketball player and had other dreams. Yet the Tigers scouts saw something even though Manning had next to no clue what to do on the pitching mound.
His first season of organized baseball found Matt Manning struggling with control. When he found control opposing batters would hit the pitch offerings, hard. Manning freely admits “it was tough when I was younger.”
Time has moved on since that rough beginning. Manning is now a top two prospects for the Detroit Tigers. For the second season in a row Manning was invited to pitch in the Futures Game. A game that features the absolute best prospects in baseball.
Matt Manning now boasts a vastly improved control, a filthy change-up and has changed his mental approach. Also in the Tigers favor, Matt Manning is just 21 years old. He is the youngest member on Double-A Erie’s roster.
Manning’s progress is very encouraging for the Tigers developmental staff as a whole. Matt Manning is perhaps the most important piece of the Detroit rebuild. The team can literally flip a coin between Manning and Detroit Tigers top prospect Casey Mize as to who will be the staff ace after the rebuild in complete.
Armed with a plus fastball that touches 98 MPH, Manning started as a lump of clay for all intent and purpose. A basketball player that was turned into a pitcher. Only Hollywood could write such a story.
Now in only a couple short seasons, Manning has full arsenal. Knowing when to throw what pitch, holding runners on base. Manning has wowed his teammates at times. Top Tigers prospect Alex Faedo recalls a backdoor changeup that caught a batter looking. “I was like dang, I didn’t realize he had that pitch.”
Matt Manning has seen his confidence grow this season with every outing. In 16 starts with the Seawolves, Manning has a 2.77 ERA to go along with a Double A leading 106 strikeouts in 91 innings of work.
It should not be much longer before Matt Manning makes his way to Triple A Toledo. For as frustrating as the Detroit Tigers rebuild has been. Matt Manning shows why the future is bright.