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April 17, 2014

Notes from the Field

Carolina League Notes (Wilmington/Winston)

by CJ Wittmann


Wilmington (Kansas City)

LHP Sean Manaea
Pitcher’s body; 3/4 arm slot; thick lower half but comfortable; athletic; stands tall throughout delivery; crossfire action, foot lands on first base side of home; hips rotate with shoulders and back leg swings through post-release; has good momentum to the plate; keeps good balance throughout even though has back leg swing; longer arm action and arm got offline at times, varying his release point; big deception in delivery; hides ball a long time and gets on hitters fast; varies times to home to hold runners, will mix in high leg kick with slide step; front side and hips opened early, causing arm to drag through and command to get loose; was corrected after mound visit. 1.37-1.66 range. Fastball 89-96; sat 91-93 early on and touched 95, 96 twice; then went 89-90 later; missed bats at any velocity; ball jumps out of his hand with arm-side run; also throws some with sink; was still missing bats at 89; want to see the velocity tick up and sit but huge deception and movement pitch; did not get squared one time all night. Changeup 80-84; parachute action; arm-side fade; plays extremely well off fastball because of arm action; feed it to righties to get swing and misses; tough to pick up because of delivery. Slider 76-81; plus spin and tilt; good bite and late break; will add and subtract to vary break and depth; at lower velocity still had good shape and effectiveness.

2nd viewing: Sat 92-94 early; got comfortable in 89-92 range; touched 95 early; can reach back for more velocity when needed; showed ability to cut the ball at 89-90, effectively used to get inside to righties; broke Hawkins' bat with it (shocking); pitch rarely got squared; double-digit swing and misses with it. Future 70 grade. Changeup 81-84 all game; big deception; same pitch I saw first viewing. Future 60 pitch. Slider 79-84; velocity was up; plus spin and tilt; great shape; good bite and late break; added and subtracted well; varying depth and break; stays effective at lower velocity with bigger break; produces massive numbers of swings and misses. Future 70 pitch.

Role: 65; no. 2/3 starter

Manaea's biggest asset is his deception. He repeats his mechanics with ease and his command profile is solid-average to plus. I didn’t see the consistent high velocity on the fastball but it didn’t really matter because his stuff still missed bats. The slider velocity was up and it was much more effective. He adds and subtracts from it nicely and everything he throws is a swing and miss pitch. I think we’ll see him build strength and the fastball velocity will sit higher but right now he’s dominating hitters with the stuff he has now. I have yet to see a ball get completely squared off of him in two starts.

RHP Aroni Nina
Slender, tall build; not a stick figure, but slight muscle; stays tall and throws front side through; gets extreme hip and shoulder rotation; arm comes through fast; longer arm action and arm slot can vary; extremely fast arm; front side can over-rotate and arm can come through late making him lose control; well below average command profile. Fastball 94-98; arm-side life; big downhill plane; explodes out of hand; has some control but little command; saw him 90-92 last week with slower arm motion; 95-98 this outing letting it rip. Future 70 grade. Curveball 79-82; wipeout pitch; hard snap; two plane break; hard bite with depth; comes from same arm-slot as fastball; will throw in zone for strike and as chase pitch. Future 70 pitch. Changeup 87-89; arm-side sink; can get firm; won’t be effective unless fastball velocity is at its peak. Future 50 pitch.

Role: 50; late innings reliever

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