Detroit Tigers: Three things to watch for on Matt Manning’s debut
In an unsurprising move, the Detroit Tigers recently promoted right-handed starting pitcher Matt Manning to the taxi squad to make his MLB debut Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
The move is not predictable in that Matt Manning’s performance forced the Detroit Tigers hand, though.
A litany of injuries has put the organization in a position of need for starting pitching. Since the beginning of the season, Julio Teheran and Rony Garcia have both found the 60-day injured list. Jose Urena went on the 10-day injured list with a forearm strain but has since returned. Spencer Turnbull was placed on the injured list with a right forearm strain. Matthew Boyd went to the injured list with what they are calling ‘left arm discomfort.’ Michael Fulmer has found his way in the bullpen.
That leaves Mize, Skubal, and Urena left out of the bunch; and the injuries don’t even take into account that Skubal and Mize are not likely to take on a full starter’s workload through the end of the year. Litotes incoming: they might need a fresh arm.
Enter Matt Manning–2016 first-round selection, the third-best prospect in the Detroit Tigers’ system, and the 18th-best prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. After a forearm strain shut Manning down in 2020 after some time at the alternate training site, Manning started the year with Triple-A Toledo, where he has gone 32.1 innings, given up 40 hits, and struck out 36. His 29 earned runs are good for an 8.07 ERA across his seven starts.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to sit and evaluate two separate starts in 2021; both of which happened to be some of his best starts of the year by the numbers. The first start was against the Columbus Clippers (Indians AAA affiliate); a game in which he went 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Start two was against the Louisville Bats (Reds AAA affiliate), where he went 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K.
Considering what I saw with my own eyes on those nights along with whispers I heard from the scouts around me, there are the three things I’d keep tabs on for Matt Manning’s debut.