So far in this series, no pitchers have been discussed. That is because some of the better pitchers are out of the Red Sox’ reach and some of the next tier were not yet worthy to be discussed. However, I think Sean Manaea fits right into this fourth spot in “Amateur Hour.” His stock has fallen some this spring but his performance in the Cape Cod League last summer should be enough to make him an early first-round pick for a team. Stuff-oriented college lefties with an excellent, projectable pitching frame (6’5″, 215 lbs) are usually a hot commodity and there’s a good chance Manaea is one of the top ten picks.
After all, Manaea is certainly stuff-oriented. Although he is a bit raw and he doesn’t have as good a feel for pitching as many of the college pitchers that get drafted, Manaea simply has wicked stuff. He struck out 85 batters in 51.2 innings last summer and has struck out 88 in 68.1 innings with Indiana State so far this season. More often than not, batters just can’t touch Manaea’s mid-90’s fastball when he’s mixing in his hard slider and chance with success, and Manaea is as intimidating as any on the mound.
Ben Cherington hasn’t been a very risky general manager so far, and thus Manaea may not be the most likely choice. Even though he has filthy stuff, Manaea may not round into a plus major league starting pitcher, or even a major league starting pitcher. Still, it’s hard to argue that Manaea doesn’t have some of the best stuff in the draft and I would not be opposed to the Red Sox picking him in the first round.