When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Baseball America 21
Alek Manoah is a big man. How big you may ask? MLB Pipeline and Baseball America both list him as 6´6´´ and 260 pounds, while Fan Graphs lists him as 270. Manoah, unlike many other tall and powerfully-built pitchers, possesses reasonably good mechanics and command. Here are his collegiate results for the Mountaineers through April 29, 2019:
2017 19 G, 10 GS, 3.07 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .224 OBA, 55.2 IP, 43 H, 33 BB, 45 Ks
2018 23 G, 8 GS, 4.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .252 OBA, 54 IP, 53 H, 28 BB, 60 Ks
2019 10 G, 10 GS, 1.81 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, .180 OBA, 69.2 IP, 41 H, 15 BB, 95 Ks
Manoah’s BB/9 ratio has steadily improved during his three years from 5.34 to 4.67 to 1.94. Despite an increase in OBA during his sophomore campaign, Manoah has also steadily improved his K/9 rate from 7.28 to 10.00 to 12.27. Not mentioned above were the positive results he showed in the Cape Cod League last year — in seven starts spanning 33 1⁄3 innings, Manoah posted a 2.70 ERA and 0.79 WHIP by relinquishing just 15 hits and 11 walks while fanning 48.
Manoah features a three-pitch repertoire, with his mid-90s fastball being by far his most effective offering. While reaching as high as 98 mph in shorter stints according to Baseball America, the heater has good, consistent sinking action — even up in the zone. The secondary pitch in Manoah’s repertoire is an 80-84 mph slider (according to 2080 Baseball), which does flash above-average at time and is currently graded 50 by MLB Pipeline. Manoah’s third offering is a changeup, a pitch he’s been using more against lefties, with effective results; however, the pitch is easily his No. 3 pitch and still needs to gain more consistency. MLB Pipeline graded Manoah’s commanded as a 45, but since the site hasn’t been updated since preseason, it’s possible it could be upgraded to 50 based on his results thus far in 2019.
Manoah’s prospect status is certainly gaining helium, as he’s now considered by many to be among the top three college pitchers in this year’s draft class — along with TCU southpaw Nick Lodolo and Elon righty George Kirby. Despite the work Manoah turned in at the Cape last year and with the Mountaineers this year, there are still some lingering doubts as to his command, the development of his secondary pitches, and his weight. Because of those concerns, which impels some scouts to consider him a reliever long-term, Manoah likely won’t rise enough for the White Sox to consider him with the third overall pick. With that said, his star has been on the rise as he’s been duplicating each great start with an even better one, and he’s risen into Top 10 consideration. With his build and stuff, Manoah’s closest White Sox comp is Alec Hansen.
Here’s a video of Manoah pitching against Kent State University earlier this year, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know
C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity (Ga.) H.S. SS
Hunter Bishop, Arizona State University OF
Cameron Cannon, University of Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Canterino, Rice University RHSP
Matt Cronin, University of Arkansas LHRP
Tyler Dyson, University of Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Dominic Fletcher, University of Arkansas OF
Jonathan French, Parkview (Ga.) H.S. C
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian (Ala.) H.S. C
Zack Hess, Louisiana State University RHSP
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Will Holland, Auburn University SS
Seth Johnson, University of Oregon RHSP
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Erik Miller, Stanford University LHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Kyren Paris, Freedom (Calif.) H.S. SS
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University C
Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Ga.) H.S., RHSP
Josh Smith, Louisiana State University SS
Andrew Vaughn, University of California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss University OF
Kenyon Yovan, University of Oregon RHSP
Ryan Zeferjahn, University of Kansas RHSP