Detroit Tigers Matt Manning fires two scoreless innings in spring training, what it does and does not mean

Yesterday the Detroit Tigers #3 ranked prospect, pitcher Matt Manning had a good showing. Sure it is only spring training. But, for Manning and the Detroit Tigers this is an encouraging step in the young pitches development. Manning is one of the prospects who will lead the charge out of the Tigers rebuild.

No matter if it is spring training or a regular season game, prospects tend to allow the game and moment to be bigger than them. That is why when Detroit Tigers prospect Matt Manning took to the bump yesterday, he had all eyes on him.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 12: Matt Manning #83 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 12, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Manning did not let the moment be to big for himself. Instead he was calm, cool, and collected. Manning was firing strikes all over the strike zone. A very good sign. His fastball had life and was popping. Manning has always had a nasty curveball, which he showed off as well.

As I stated Matt Manning is the Detroit Tigers #3 ranked prospect, he is the #25 ranked prospect in all of baseball per MLBPipeline. Manning has a very smooth delivery and his  mechanics are generally spot on.

Matt Manning has a slider that bites in on hitters as well as the nasty 12 to 6 curveball he mixes in with a changeup and his fastball. Yesterday, Manning faced the Philadelphia Phillies for two innings. He did not give up a run and made a nice bare-handed play as well.

Manning’s fastball sits between 97-98 MPH. Yesterday he threw it 92-93 MPH, as many pitchers generally hold back a little during spring training. What stood out yesterday was just how good and how effective both his slider and curveball are. In fact he got two swing-and-misses with his curve.

It is a safe bet Matt Manning makes his first appearance in Detroit this season. He is one prospect Tigers fans have been waiting for. Sure Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are as well, but both pitchers pitched for the Tigers last season.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 04: A detailed view of the baseball glove and hat used by Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers sitting in the dugout during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on September 4, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Royals defeated the Tigers 7-6. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Once Manning gets his feet wet in the major leagues, the Detroit Tigers will be a step closer to ending a long rebuild.



Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch is “taking the kid gloves off” young pitchers

When current Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch took over as manager of a young Houston Astros team who was starting to come out of a long rebuild (sound familiar?) he did so by unleashing the young Astros pitching staff. He did not limit pitches or put inning limits on the staff. Now on the first day of spring training, Hinch said he is going to do the same with young Tigers pitchers.

Just yesterday, Detroit Tigers General Manager, Al Avila said this will be the season that Matt Manning will be pitching in Detroit. Be it out of spring training or at some point early in the season. Manning will join top organization prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal giving the Tigers and the fan base a true look at the future.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 29: Rookie pitcher Tarik Skubal #42 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning of game two of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on August 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. Skubal recorded his first major league win in the Tigers 4-2 victory over the Twins. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled for August 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Friday’s postponed game, Robinson will be honored during today’s game. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Back to A.J. Hinch. This would appear on the surface to be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Meaning, If “taking the kid gloves off” young Tigers pitching prospects worked in Houston then Hinch is hedging a bet it will work again in Detroit.

New Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter will be charged with overseeing the talented group of young arms. Yet, Fetter will be getting instructions from Hinch. The age old question in baseball is how do you handle young pitchers?

Both Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, spent time with the Tigers last summer. Both top pitching prospects took the typical rookie pitching lumps. With time under their belts the two enter spring training with a spot in the Tigers starting rotation.

CHICAGO – AUGUST 19: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during his Major League debut against the Chicago White Sox on August 19, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)

Like the Detroit Tigers veteran pitchers, Mize and Skubal will not be limited. A.J. Hinch feels that the way young pitchers get better is by innings pitched and allowing the pitcher to fall flat on their face when they have a bad outing. That is how pitchers learn.

This is one storyline to keep an eye on during spring training and into the 2021 Detroit Tigers season.

Is Matt Manning the Detroit Tigers top prospect?

Embed from Getty Images Casey Mize? Matt Manning? Exactly who is the Detroit Tigers top prospect? The two pitchers are both dynamic and will play a HUGE role in the Tigers future. It is almost silly to pick between the two, yet that is what we are going to look at.

Casey Mize has hellacious stuff. Mize has a four-pitch offering. Fastball, slider, change up and a wicked split-finger-fastball. Every pitch Mize throws is capable of missing bats.

FanGraph’s just released it’s list of Detroit Tigers top prospects. The site lists Matt Manning as the organizations top prospect heading into the 2020 season. Manning tops the list seems to indicate  his development rather than Mize’s shortcomings. Manning has, in FanGraphs’ words, “become the dream.”

Matt Manning has an athletic frame with a fastball that tops out at 98 mph. Both Manning’s fastball and curveball received plus grades, and his developing changeup also received praise. “Manning is tracking like an All-Star starter and a potential top-of-the-rotation arm,” the FanGraph scouts concluded.

The good news for the pitching rich Detroit Tigers system is it boasts of two top line starters. One just edging the other one out of the top spot. Both Casey Mize and Matt Manning are expected to be in Detroit at some point this season.

The Detroit Tigers developmental staff turned up a gem in Matt Manning

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.