Detroit Tigers News

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 Tigers
NORTH PORT, FL – FEBRUARY 23: Matt Manning #83 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the Spring Training game against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park on February 23, 2020, in North Port, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Braves 5-1. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

How often Matt Manning and the Detroit Tigers go to the changeup

One scout turned to me after a groundball double play on an 86 mph pitch and just asked, ‘What was that?’ It wasn’t a dig on Manning, but it was a struggle and a theme that continued into his second start that evaluators were trying to figure out. The verdict? A changeup.

It’s odd considering his rumored experiment with a slider as well as the movement profile and how Manning chooses to deploy it. Not to mention, it lacks the consistent desired velocity necessary to keep hitters off of his fastball. It would almost make more sense if it was a slider or a cutter at 88-90.

A different scout at the game mentioned he has a habit of breaking his wrist with it, which causes the offering to run in on left-handed bats. Righties throwing offspeed inside to lefties is generally thought of as a hard no-no, so the deployment of the offering is suspect assuming he intended to locate where he did.

The wrist break is fascinating to me. Could this be because of his experiment with the other breaking ball during the offseason? Pitchers typically need to pronate when throwing the change, but Manning may supinate at times, meaning the wrist breaks on the outside of the ball instead of the inside. Specifically watching how and if Manning deploys the changeup to left-handed hitters on Thursday night will be a fascinating watch.

Lastly–I cannot wait to see how Manning’s stuff translates to the big leagues after some inconsistent performances at the minor league level. I believe most who have watched Manning believe that he wasn’t quite ready in normal circumstances, but I’d be ecstatic if Manning remains in the rotation for the Detroit Tigers for the rest of the season.

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