Detroit Tigers 2016 1st round selection Matt Manning is slated to make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, and he’s hoping that it’s a springboard to bigger and better things in 2021.
He’ll be looking to make the team right out of Spring Training and make his MLB debut, something that was put out of the realm of possibility last year thanks to a strained forearm.
“I’m pitching like I’m going to try to make the team out of spring,” Manning said. “They talk a lot about how they’re going to take the best 26 guys, and I’m going to try to be one of those top 26. That’s my goal, but everything else is left up to them to make decisions for the team.”
You can bet that skipper A.J. Hinch enjoyed hearing that.
“I love that attitude out of Matt,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said.
Per MLB Pipeline, Manning is the 25th ranked prospect in baseball. Hinch spoke about
“[Manning’s] name is mentioned a lot,” Hinch said Saturday morning, “and I hope he reads it less and goes and works out on the back fields more. It’s important for him to go out and continue to get better.
“And just making it is not going to be good enough. I mean, he’s going to get an opportunity — he’s earned that — as long as he stays healthy. But he’s gotta stay away from the press clippings — and he does — and [keep his focus] more on the field. The more we hammer that home, the easier it is for him to digest.”
Of course, with one of the game’s all-time great hitters as a teammate, Manning is certainly soaking up any advice he receives from Miguel Cabrera.
“Those are some trained eyes,” Manning said of Cabrera. “He’s seen a lot of pitchers, so any feedback that he gives me, I take and I kind of run with it. I think [Saturday], he just wanted me to focus on what’s in front of me right now, throw the ball, don’t worry about where it goes, and just compete. I started doing that a little bit and my stuff got a little sharper. He took some swings that I thought would’ve been ground balls. So anytime you can get some weak contact from him, it’s amazing.”
– – Quotes via Jason Beck of MLB Link – –