A season-changing start for Detroit Tigers RHP Matt Manning.
It was in this start he went 6 innings and only gave up 1 earned run to the best offense in baseball while also getting his at-time career-high in strikeouts with five.
Now he did still have a couple of struggle games in between this but another game people may reference is the final game he pitched against the Chicago White Sox, who was a playoff and have one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball and Manning ended that game with 5 innings of work, no earned runs, and a career-high 7 strikeouts. The chart below is Manning’s complete 2021 stats.
Now, these numbers aren’t great by any means. Though, if you actually go back and watch all of his highlights and starts and watch the film on Manning starting with his first start and ending with his final one against the White Sox you will see something just kinda click for Manning and start to see all the potential we were all told to expect and wait for from him.
Let’s get down into what pitches Manning throws and he really uses them. Manning has a fastball, curveball, change-Up, sinker, and now a slider. A really solid mix of pitches. But, which ones are his best, and does he use all of them effectively? Let’s look at how he used the pitches and which ones stand out.
Let’s talk about his fastball first. Manning’s fastball sits in the mid to upper 90’s around the 93-95 MPH area but can touch 96-98 MPH on occasion. Early on his in his starts Manning really overused his fastball this is because he really only had 2 pitches, The fastball, and his curve. Here is his fastball on display.
The change-up was in his arsenal but was rarely used due to a lack of comfort with it. This was his most used pitch, he threw it 41.4% of the time and did have a lot of command issues with it. The main one is leaving it over the heart of the plate.
But once he got more time in the bigs and worked with Fetter the fastball did get better. Velo went up and he ended the year with a 17.2 whiff% with his fastball and a 14.6 put away%. Still room for improvement but a real solid starting point.
Next is his curveball. All Detroit Tigers fans heard about when Manning was drafted was his devastating curveball. But when he was called up it was not very good, to say the least. Since it was the only other pitch he threw for a good amount of time a lot of hitters sat on it and when they got it would hit it a long, long way.
But, the same thing as the fastball once he added a few more pitches into his mix and got better command we started seeing a glimpse of the nasty Matt Manning curveball everyone’s been talking about for a year. Which also adding those other two pitches made the curve his least thrown pitch of 2021.
Next is the change-up. As mentioned before Manning has had this pitch but didn’t ever throw it due to a low comfortability level he had with it once he did it became a pretty effective pitch for him to throw in a mix with his fastball and sinker.
It was about an 87-88 MPH change that he used in the middle of counts because the whiff% on this pitch is the worst out of the five with it coming in at 12%. Even though that number is low it doesn’t mean it’s not a good pitch, it’s just not a deadly put-away pitch for him.