Didn’t Sean Manaea throw that Oakland no-hitter?
Yes, Sean Manaea did throw the no-hitter for the Oakland Athletics, but over the past few weeks it’s been the 25-year-old righty, who in his 3rd season, is turning heads out west.
Today against the Tampa Bay Rays, that guy with the moustache tossed 8+ innings of 3 run ball. (He completed 8 innings of shutout ball, but gave up some hits in the ninth, as he was going for his 26th straight scoreless inning. Wilson Ramos hit a two run double in the bottom of the 9th inning.)
The start before this Mona Lisa: a complete game 2-hit shutout against the Diamondbacks. Also, he didn’t walk a soul. He faced 3 over the minimum. He struck out 5 guys. Yes, only 5. I’m a fan of a guy striking out only 5 in a complete game 2-hitter. That’s because he can induce a lot of meaningless contact. Daniel threw to a groundball rate of 50% against the D-Backs. That’s pretty good. To add clarity to this ambiguous number, Padres lefty Clayton Richard is an extreme ground ball pitcher, and he sits at 56% for the year.
Much of his success seems to be to this ability to create the ground ball. Another seems to be his governor on the home run. He’s got a stranglehold on the long ball, having only given up 6 of them in 74.1 innings. That too is low. Real low. He’s only given up one in his last 30 innings.
If you go to Brooks Baseball, you’ll read about his average stuff. His 4-seamer doesn’t move that much, his sinker doesn’t really sink, and his changeup is hardly ever swung at and missed. But if you watch him pitch, your eyeballs will tell you a different story.
He doesn’t really care what side of the plate you hold your baseball bat on, he’s super comfy throwing to lefties and righties and he’ll really throw you any pitch with any count no matter the situation. He’s got mound confidence, which seems to be making up for his lack of stellar stuff.
He works quick, too. See Mark Buehrle. A good-paced rhythm is a bat killer. He disrupts hitter timing with his wind up. There’s mystery in it, and hitters are having a difficult time getting the scoop on it in the batter’s box. He also hasn’t walked a lefty all year. Hell, he’s only walked 6 righties! I just now figured this out: nobody in all of Major League Baseball walks less guys per nine innings than Mengden does. That number is a microscopic 0.81 per 9.
Watch him pitch. His windup is a thing of beauty, and his moustache is the deal! Actually, the Oakland Athletics have a really fun team. Stay up late one night and watch these boys play. It’s worth the five Mean Bean Java Monsters (and heart palpitations!) you’ll need to survive at work the next day.
Info from this article came from A’s announcer Ray Fosse, FanGraphs & Brooks Baseball.