Manaea, pitching depth, surkamp

The A’s needed a fifth starter and it’s Sean Manaea

A’s new fifth starter: Sean Manaea?!

The Oakland Athletics had a choice to make. They had options for who would be their fifth starter this week and it’s not the more obvious of choices. It’s 24-year-old Sean Manaea, the A’s number two overall prospect and top pitching prospect.

According to multiple sources, including Sports Illustrated, and the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s will call up Manaea to start Friday against the Houston Astros.

Manaea has barely spent time in the minors but vice president of baseball operations for the A’s Billy Beane has said that he wouldn’t bring him up unless he thought he was ready. The A’s are likely just testing the waters, seeing if Manaea transition his unbelievable number of strike outs effectively in the majors.

In his very short minor league career that began in 2014, he’s struck out 257 batters in 214 innings. Manaea is still young and can lose his command at times. He had 3.53 walks per nine innings throughout his minor league career, however since being promoted to Triple-A this year he’s really calmed down that part of his game.

So far, during his time at Triple-A Nashville this season he’s allowed three runs on 16 hits, four walks and struck out 21 batters in only 18 innings of work. 

The A’s acquired the left-hander as part of the trade that sent Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals. 

The team had other options but they elected to send down interim starting pitcher Eric Surkamp. Jesse Hahn has half a season of big league experience and most were expecting him to be the one called up. Hahn, however, is currently battling a blister that has prohibited him from being able to start.

Hahn has also been pitching well, except that the reason he was sent to Nashville in the first place was to get his command under control. He’s walked nine batters but is still pitching to the tune of a 2.04 ERA.  Manaea’s current ERA is 1.50.

Despite his inexperience, Manaea is the best choice for the job, he has the better numbers than Hahn, even if Hahn were healthy.  Manaea’s stay in the big leagues may not be long, but if he can continue his current success against the Astros on Friday, you never know. He could be the next Sonny Gray (just with a different pitching style)!

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