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Jeff Manship Profile

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Pay attention to this one, class because you're going to be hearing a lot about this guy in the near future. Manship has been well known in the scouting community ever since he was a high schooler in San Antonio. The right hander was a member of Team USA's junior national team and he was dominant. But he broke off a couple too many curveballs and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. The result of that was a medical redshirt at Notre Dame. When he came back, he was pretty effective in his 2 years playing for the Fighting Irish. Teams backed off of him as a draft eligible sophomore last year thinking that it would take a bunch of money to sign him. The Twins absolutely stole him with a 14th round pick and handed him a $300,000 bonus, or approximately third round money.

Manship works in the low 90's with outstanding control. His best weapon is a fall-off-the-table curve. He also has a change and a slider, but as of last fall, they were still under development rather than fully functional pitches on par with his fastball/curve combo.

The kid clearly is not being challenged at the low class A level. I haven't seen any reports of increased velocity or dramatic improvement in his changeup so I'm treating this as a refinement of his approach and a conservative assignment to start his first full season. The Twins have made a cottage industry out of drafting solid college pitchers and quickly turning them into command machines who run up through the minors like they have a plane to catch. Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins are all precedents for this.

The biggest complaint people have with Manship is that he isn't a big guy. He's only 6 feet tall and 195 pounds. When you couple that with his past elbow problem, you might get concerned about durability. There might be something to that, but it's not something you can see being a factor immediately. One thing that isn't affected by his size is his ability to induce ground balls. The guy has been a worm burner machine in his brief time as a pro. For Beloit, he almost has a 4/1 GB/FB ratio. In last summer's rather paltry 14 innings after signing, he had a ratio over 3.

I like Manship. He has a good track record going back through high school and college. He would have been drafted much higher had teams thought he was signable. He's in an ideal organization as the Twins know what they're doing when it comes to young pitchers. His ceiling is higher than that of Kevin Slowey because of the velocity and the flashy breaking ball, but he's a higher risk due to his being farther away from the Majors and his injury history. Expect him to climb the ladder fairly quickly this season, though expecting him to make it to AAA like Garza and Slowey may be asking a bit much given the rarity of such a feat and the fact that Kyle Waldrop is progressing quickly too and the upper levels of the Twins system is getting a bit crowded.