KC Area Amateur Scouting: Sean Manaea and Others

Jeff Zimmerman

The weather as been somewhat cooperating.

Sean Manaea - Indiana St. - Junior - 6'5", 235 lbs

At the beginning of the college season, it seemed like no chance Sean Manaea would drop to the Royals pick at #8. Keith Law had him at #2 on his board and Matt Garrioch at mlbprospectguide had him at #4. His stock has fallen abit as his velocity is down a bit and he is dealing with a hip injury. He new may be an option for the Royals.

To begin with, here are a few recent quotes about him.

It's been a disappointing year for Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea, and then came news that he would miss his start on Friday because of a hip strain. Manaea was able to throw on Sunday and went six shutout innings with nine strikeouts and no walks, but it created a concern with a few scouts I talked to.

"Hip injuries can just be such a lingering issue," an NL scout said. "Even if it's mild and creates just a little bit of discomfort, it's something to keep an eye on because they have this nasty habit of coming back. [I'm] not saying that it's a reason not to draft a kid, but it's more homework for a club to do and can put doubt in a club's mind."

Christopher Crawford - ESPN

Overall, he is more raw then I expected. His delivery isn't easy. He seems a bit awkward in his delivery at times. The arm is there and the slider shows a ton of potential. The change needs a lot of work. The smaller stuff will come with work and time. I see a guy with a big arm and enough stamina to be a starter. I see a guy with the stuff to be a reliever, though. The overall package, right now, isn't good enough to be a top 5 pick. If you want to project and have confidence you can fix the smaller things, he is. If you are looking for the college arm that just needs to face pro hitters, acclimate and move up and take a rotation spot in a year or so, this isn't the guy.

Matt Garrioch - Minorleagueball.com

For now, he's still really interesting because of the velocity and command, but I couldn't take the guy I saw tonight in the top five picks -- and certainly wouldn't take him ahead of Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray today.

Keith Law- ESPN

I was hoping to see him pitch last Friday night, but because of the previously mentioned hip injury, he didn't throw until Sunday. Instead of going to the game by myself, I had my two little ones in tow. To start off the the game, he threw to one batter and and then the game was delayed for lighting. The game resumed about 45 minutes later.

First, here is the video I shot of him during the game.

Thoughts.

  • He didn't seem to be close to 6'5". Maybe 6'3". Maybe.
  • I didn't record him throwing as hard as previously stated. I had him in the 92 to 90 mph range to start the game (stadium gun had him at 95 once). He lost about 3 mph over the course of the game.
  • He was able to throw his slider for strikes, but it didn't really stand out. It was around the 80 mph range.
  • His motion is a little unique. He does a pre-throw leg lift (total annoying) and comes at the batter with a 3/4 arm slot. The item which stood out to me is his foot placement on the extreme 1B side of the mound. It is close to the placement of Mariners prospect Danny Hultzen (video). The pitch comes at home plate at an extreme angle.
  • One aspect I liked about him was his gritty/stubbornness. He went out and pitched in cold weather with an injured hip. Also late in the game, he took a pitch off his heal. If he wanted out of the game, he easily could of stepped down and no one would have really said a word. Instead, he motioned for the coaches to go back and he pitch an inning or so more.
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Albert Minnis - Wichita State - LHP - 5'11''

Finally I got to see Minnis pitch. He is probably the top pre-season prospect for the Shockers. Baseball America had him as the 7th best prospect in the MVC and the mlbprospectguide has him as the 211th top draft prospect in the county. After watching him, I could see a team take a chance on him. He doesn't have a ton of up side, but almost every team has a soft tossing lefty in the bullpen and Minnis could be one of those guys.

  • I have saw him twice with two completely different results. In the first game, his fastball was at 85 to 82 mph. He didn't struggle during the appearance, but he was facing Air Force. In the second appearance, he was against Indiana State and his fastball was in the 88 to 90 mph range.
  • He throws from high 3/4 arm slot with some violence at the the end of the release.
  • He threw a decent curve.

Mike Hollenbeck - Illinois State - C - 6'2", 220 lbs

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Hollenbeck was the most draft worthy player on Illinois State with Baseball America having him as the 5th best MLB prospect in the MVC. He will need to reinvent his swing and receiving mechanics if he want to be anything more than a bullpen catcher for a independent league team.

Thoughts

  • While catching, he showed a decent arm and picked at runner off of 1B and generally kept the pitches in front of him. He is horrible about receiving the pitch. He doesn't frame up his pitcher. He moves glove all over the place. He open and close glove a few time for each pitch. He moves is body all over the place. He was costing his pitchers called strikes left and right. I am surprised the umpire didn't slap him in the head and tell him to be still.
  • He hit pretty good. My main issue with his stance is his wide base. He will have limited power with it in the majors. It limits the amount of rotation with his hips and how much he can cover the plate. The lack of power can be seen by his season stat line of .250/.327/.261.
  • Some team may take a late round flier on him, but not a lot to see here.

D.J. Peterson - New Mexico - 3B

I saw D.J. Peterson against Arizona State while at spring training and wrote a small bit up on him at Baseballheatmaps. I like him quite a bit and would not mind the Royals picking him up if available in the comp or the 2nd round if he is still on the board. I don't see him as a top 10 pick though.

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