The Detroit Tigers will promote right-handed prospect Matt Manning to Double-A Erie to close out the season, according to Emily Waldon of The Athletic. Righthander Spencer Turnbull, Detroit’s second round pick in the 2014 MLB draft, has also been promoted. He will move up to Triple-A Toledo.
Manning’s age-20 season has been a rousing success so far. He started the year at Single-A West Michigan, where he overpowered hitters to the tune of 76 strikeouts in 55 2⁄3 innings. His command was spotty at times — he walked nearly 12 percent of the Midwest League hitters he faced — but he produced a 3.40 ERA in 11 starts for the Whitecaps. He was promoted to High-A Lakeland in late June, and didn’t miss a beat. In nine starts, Manning struck out 65 batters, including a 10-strikeout performance in his final start for the Flying Tigers on Thursday.
Overall, Manning has fanned 141 batters in 107 innings this season. He has at least five punchouts in all but one of his starts. Both the gaudy strikeout totals and the high number of innings speak well to his natural talent, and scouts indicate that he has come a long way in other areas over the past two years.
Seeing Tigers High-A RHP Matt Manning tonight: 94-96, touched a few 98s, trouble w/command & consistency, especially w/changeup but got a couple curveballs just right that were a 65, maybe 70. Command still needs work to effectively be up in the zone so much; 2 HR, 8 K thru 4 IP.— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) August 24, 2018
Manning still needs work, of course, but he has been able to overpower Single-A hitters with his high-octane fastball. That won’t happen as often at Double-A, where he will face older, more experienced hitters. He will struggle, and he will be forced to adapt. He will have to hone his secondary pitches. In short, he will have to improve in all areas.
That will have to come next season, though. The SeaWolves only have 10 games remaining in their season, which concludes on September 3 against the Akron RubberDucks. Erie currently sits in last place in the Western Division with a 61-69 record, and will not make the Eastern League playoffs. Manning will probably only get one or two starts in Double-A before the season ends.
While Manning won’t throw too many more innings, Turnbull’s season might not be over yet. The big righthander has logged 106 innings this year, most of which came at Double-A. A shoulder injury sidelined him for about a month in the middle of the summer, though, and Turnbull has spent the last month-plus getting back into a groove with the SeaWolves. Don’t be surprised if he is called up to the majors in September for a taste of life in the big leagues.