Manaea wasn't drafted out of high school due to the fact he threw in the mid 80's but showed potential for more. Most took the wait and see approach with him. He didn't really jump out as elite as a freshman, although the strike outs were there, the command really wasn't. That summer he was one of the best prospects in the Prospect League. Again, command was an issue but he was on a lot more radars.
His sophomore year showed improvement across the board and the command took a step forward. The Cape Cod League performance separated him from the rest though. He struck out 85 in 51.2 IP and only walked 7. The stats are unheard of in that league topping the old record held by Daniel Bard.
At 6'5", 215 LBS, the lefty is projectable and strongly built. He has wide shoulders that would allow more muscle to added to an already strong body. His last name is Samoan. I don't know why but Samoans always intrigue me. Maybe it's because I grew up watching wrestling and think of Yokozuna, Afa, Sika, Rikishi and even the Rock and how amazing they were athletically while being such huge individuals. I've always been more fascinated by large athletes, so I hope that Manaea becomes the next CC Sabathia at least in ability, not necessarily in body mass.
His 93-94 MPH fastball with good life can touch 96 in short bursts. His deception coming from a low 3/4 delivery allows it to play up even a little more. His slider is inconsistent but is nasty when it's on. He has a change that lags behind the others as well.
Manaea isn't a finished product. He is somewhat raw but the potential is extremely high and he has made great strides in the last two years. He could be a front of the rotation guy if everything works out. He has the stuff to be a shut down back of the pen option right now. Time will tell how much he can gain in consistency in his secondaries to see if he is a future ace or not but one thing is for sure, he won't last on the draft board for very long in June.
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