Will the A’s keep Surkamp or bring up Hahn or Manaea?
Depending on how left-hander Eric Surkamp does Tuesday night against the New York Yankees and right-hander Michael Pineda, Oakland A’s fans may be seeing the team’s number two prospect lefty Sean Manaea or perhaps, the more experienced, right-hander Jesse Hahn in the very near future.
That’s not to say that Surkamp has pitched poorly for Oakland. He went seven scoreless innings against the San Francisco Giants in an exhibition game, pitching his way into the starting rotation in the wake of Felix Doubront’s injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery.
Surkamp made his first start of the regular season against the Seattle Mariners and got the win. Pitching into the fifth, he allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out two. The A’s won the game 3-2 on a ninth inning home run by Chris Coghlan.
In his second start Surkamp again pitched into the fifth inning again allowing a run to score in the third and one in the fifth before being replaced by Ryan Dull.
It was Fernando Rodriguez and Liam Hendriks who allowed the the Angels to score three more runs as the A’s lost 5-1. Surkamp though took the loss allowing two runs on five hits with four walks and just one strikeout.
Surkamp has, up until this point, pitched well enough to continue getting starts over Jesse Hahn and Sean Manaea who are currently together playing with the A’s Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.
However, Surkamp isn’t going all that deep into games pitching 4.1 and 4.2 innings in his two regular season starts, putting a lot of pressure on the A’s bullpen.
Both Hahn and Manea have been nearly perfect in each of their two starts for the Nashville Sounds, their statistics are close to identical.
In both of Manaea’s first two starts he’s 2-0 and has pitched a total of 12.0 innings compared to Surkamp’s 9 inning total. He’s allowed just two runs, one walk and while striking out an astonishing 17 opposing batters.
Hahn has also made two starts. He has not allowed a run over 12.0 innings of work but he’s walked four batters and struck out 11.
Hahn was sent to Triple-A after spring training due to control issues so the four walks may be worrisome, still, he may be the more likely of the two to get the call due to his previous experience in the majors. He pitched for the A’s in 2015 until he was derailed by an elbow injury on July 1.
Hahn made 16 starts for the A’s, including pitching a complete game shutout against the Detroit Tigers in May, and ended his season with a 3.35 ERA.
While Hahn has more experience in the majors and seemingly has his command issues under control, Manaea’s ability to mow down hitters is very attractive.
“If you think it’s going to hurt them, you don’t [promote them]. What doesn’t come into play from my end is the whole contractual thing. If we deem them ready, or we think they would benefit or wouldn’t be harmed by being here, we bring them up, and that’s the way I feel with Sean. That’s my position.”
A lot of things about the A’s starting rotation is up in the air at this point. How Surkamp pitches in Tuesday night’s game comes into play, as does the recovery of Henderson Alvarez from shoulder surgery and then if a decision is still needed to be made between the two – Manaea or Hahn – which one would the A’s choose?
It’s a tough call but it’s one that is up to Beane and general manager David Forst to make.