With the minor league season over for the Erie SeaWolves, top pitching prospects Matt Manning and Beau Burrows are headed home, but they made a pit stop along the way. The Detroit Tigers hosted the pair in Chicago on Wednesday and had them throw for manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson. The two talented young arms got to flaunt their stuff a bit, but also got advice on both the physical and mental side of the game. They also got their first look at the atmosphere of the major leagues, and a chance to pick the brains of big league pitchers.
In attendance were several Tigers’ pitchers who watched Manning and Burrows’ throwing sessions, including Michael Fulmer, Alex Wilson and Matthew Boyd. Boyd spent some time with Manning and Burrows where he spoke to them about preparation at the major league level and the ability to move on from a bad outing. Chris McCosky has the story for the Detroit News, as well as some of the notes the two prospects took home with them.
With Burrows, Anderson spent a little time tweaking his curveball grip, and emphasized staying behind the pitch to improve the depth on his breaker. As for Manning, Gardenhire talked about an issue we’ve discussed at some length here at Bless You Boys recently, Manning’s huge stride and knee flex, using his height to best advantage, and the need for a little more two-plane movement.
Manning is 6-foot-6 and the Tigers are a little concerned that he’s not fully taking advantage of that height by crouching too much in his delivery.
“He’s a drop and dive guy,” Gardenhire said. “He’s got long legs and drops on his backside. You’d like to keep him standing a little taller on his backside to get that (downward) angle more.”
More on Manning and how pitching prospects are valued
Matt Manning has been a popular topic after an outstanding 2018 campaign. FanGraphs’ lead prospect writer, Kiley McDaniel, had some interesting thoughts on Manning specifically, but also on the challenges of valuing stuff and potential over command in young pitchers. Tigers top prospect, Casey Mize, and his advanced command, versus Matt Manning’s outstanding power stuff, are a really good pair of examples of the two pathways. It’s good to have both.
Women’s baseball is on the rise and it’s awesome
The Women’s Baseball Cup has been underway over the past week, and it’s finally starting to attract the attention it deserves. Emma Baccallieri takes a look behind the scenes at an event which has surprised many people with the quality of play on display. Nasty pitchers, hard-nosed play, power bats and a highly charged competitive atmosphere has made the tournament must-watch viewing for many this year.
Success isn’t a just function of natural talent
Around the horn
Despite recent reports stating that he’ll require UCL surgery shortly, the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani continues to contribute to his team in incredible ways. A two home run, four-hit night for the Japanese superstar on Wednesday illustrates why the Angels will still get plenty of value from him next season as a designated hitter/outfielder.
Washington Nationals’ closer, and perhaps BYB’s favorite non-Tiger, Sean Doolittle, is encouraging opposing hitters to enjoy themselves should they get to him for a dinger. Zach Kram at The Ringer has your guide to the stretch drive in the chase for the sport’s biggest individual awards. Tom Verducci looks at the amazing Rays for SI.com, who may be primed to surprise the big dogs in 2019.
Finally, BYB Managing Editor, Rob Rogacki, was on the Tigers SRD podcast last night with friends of the site, Roger Martin and Chris Brown. Check it out.