(Photo Jake Rose Photography)
At this point last year Sean Manaea was a left-handed pitcher with an injured hip wondering where he would land in the 2013 draft. His stock after sailing near the top of the draft even being talked about at the #1 slot had taken a hit after injuring his hip and seeing his velo drop down a tad while at Indiana State during his junior year. Today it’s a different story but things sound positive for that hip.
“I’m in pretty good health, the hip is 100%, the arm feels good and besides some aches in the hip after a game it’s in good shape.”Â
Did you ever think about returning to Indiana State for your senior year?
“It crossed my mind at first but I knew there was an amount of money that at I would be happy with and didn’tÂ have to think about it much once the Royals met that amount.”
Obviously you were injured during the year after building such a high draft stock at the Cape. Did you think about your draft stockÂ and think about shutting it down?
“I thought about it a little but I didn’t worry about it. I just wanted to pitch, help my teammates and coaches make a regional and have fun.”Â
How does the level at High A compare to college?
“The hitters are much more advanced and I’ve realized I need to refine my stuff to get these hitters out.” “I have a long way to go and need to improve myÂ slider and change up to get better and get the hitters out.”
Have you made any changes to your grips on these pitches?
“I’m changing the grip on my slider working more on the horseshoe of the ball to get more break on the pitch. In college it was more of a slurvy pitch but this grip is allowing me to keep the pitch tighter and get more break on the pitch.”
If you have someone down with 2 strikes which pitch are you throwing to get them out?
“I like to go with a fastball up in the zone or a slider in the dirt to get them to chase.”
Have the Royals asked you to throw a certain percentage of change ups or breaking pitches?
“No they just want me to concentrate on developing all my pitches. Work with the pitching coaches here and refine all of my stuff and work on all of my pitches.”
Are you working on developing any other kinds of pitches?
“No I’m concentrating on the fastball, change and slider, I have a long way to go with those three pitches.” “Just refining those three and getting them to their best.”
You obviously are there in Wilmington with a talented group of pitchers. DoÂ you help each other?
“Ya we talk in between games, help each other in bullpens but mainly help one another with the mental side of the game.”
You’ve had some struggles so far. Do you have a defacto pitching coach that you turn to that can help you get through struggles, be it a father, college coach or someone else?
“Not really I may talk to my girlfriend or teammates but I don’t really have someone that I turn to for pitching.”
What do you do in your off time?
“I’ll watch some games on MLB.com, checkout other pitchers and study what they are trying to do to get hitters out.” “Also I like to relax and play video games.”
Is there a pitcher you try to model your game after?
“David Price, I like how he works on the mound and his slider. I like how he attacks hitters. He’s a lefty like me and I love his slider and how talented he is.”
The Royals would do extremely well if they can develop Sean into the talent that David Price is and even with his early season struggles at Wilmington one can see that Sean has a knack for missing bats. From my brief conversation with himÂ I learned he’s humble enough to know that he needs to continue to work on to get better and get to the big leagues.
Follow Sean @BABYMGIRAFFE