Detroit Tigers: Three things to watch for on Matt Manning’s debut

Matt Manning of the Detroit Tigers pitches during Spring Training. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Matt Manning of the Detroit Tigers pitches during Spring Training. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – JULY 03: Matt Manning #83 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 3, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI – JULY 03: Matt Manning #83 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 3, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

How the Detroit Tigers choose to deploy Matt Manning’s curveball

Matt Manning’s curveball is what gets scouts’ attention. It’s a big hook in the 79-81 velocity band that yielded swings and misses all night in my second viewing against the Columbus Clippers in Toledo.

I was equally impressed by the pitch (as I notated in my live looks piece for Prospects Live), but it wasn’t quite as consistent as I expected it to be. While there was a fair share of sharp, tight-rotating benders, there was also the mix of get-me-over strikes and guided offerings that ended up in the dirt.

I expect Manning to lean heavily on his curveball to navigate an Angels lineup with some thump, especially when he is ahead in the count. It will take some time for Manning, certainly, but consistency with his best pitch will be paramount to pitch deep into the night hours.

As an aside, I would be fascinated and surprised if Manning can work his fastball with his curveball and leverage the fastball up in the zone. With a big curve like his, I could see him getting some swings and misses with high heat if he tunnels the offering correctly (although he traditionally works east-to-west with the fastball).

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