Manaea’s changeup comes in eight ticks slower than his fastball, which is good velocity seperation. The pitch hit the zone 41.8% of the time and got a 14.9% SwStr%. The pitch also got a 33.3% K rate and .143 BAA, both career-bests.
Following his return from shoulder surgery, Manaea’s fastball velocity was down to a career-low 90 mph. Despite the decreased velocity, he got a career-best 9.2% SwStr%, and batters were held to a .145 BAA against the pitch.
The A’s were delighted to get Manaea back from TJS and he didn’t disappoint to the tune of 4 wins in 5 starts with a 1.21 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. His devastating slider is his new favourite secondary pitch, relegating his equally impressive changeup. He registered a 40.0 K% and did not walk one batter in his 5 games with the 79.3 mph slider. It doesn’t do a great deal but enough from the angle to trouble righties on the inside corner.
By no means does Manaea bring the cheese, but his solid command, combined with a devastating changeup, makes his heater effective. Hitters can’t help but get on top of it because they can’t get comfortable knowing his fastball could be his changeup and vice versa.
Like most changeups, Manaea’s is made by the arm action. Sure the speed difference from his fastball makes a difference, and the fade is more like an abrupt drop, but Manaea’s fluid delivery is what makes this pitch so tough. That’s why hitters missed it so often and struggled to lay off it when it trickled out of the zone.
Manaea’s slider is a step above feasible. It’s not going to fool most hitters because it lacks depth, but is definitely a serviceable third pitch. It’s a different look and that’s all you need when you have a good secondary pitch like Manaea’s changeup.