If you happened to catch the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Houston Astros Monday, then you likely noticed the 24 year-old righty who dazzled in 1.1 relief innings striking out three of the four batters he faced. If you missed the game, a name you might want to remember is Seth Maness.
Maness was drafted out of East Carolina in the 11th round of the 2011 draft. While at college, he set the school record for wins with 38 and strikeouts with 334. A
Maness got an invite to Jupiter, FL where he will display his knack for placing a fastball just about anywhere his catcher asks him. He has a career WHIP of 0.99 through two years in the minor leagues. He also led the minors with 0.5 walks per nine innings last season, way ahead of the runner up in that category.
Maness began 2012 at High A Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League where he started seven games and held an ERA of 2.15 with just one walk in 46 innings pitched. His incredible control got him promoted to AA with the Springfield Cardinals where he continued to put up very interesting numbers. In 20 starts and 124 innings, he gave up just nine walks while striking out 83. His WHIP checked in at 1.06 and he held a respectable 3.27 ERA.
Maness will likely develop into a pitch to contact thrower as he doesn’t have the fastball speed to blow away hitters. That shouldn’t be a problem since he is so skilled at picking apart the strike zone, but working on a slider would help him take his game to the next level.
Because of the logjam of quality starting pitching prospects the Cardinals currently are blessed with, it may take a while before you see Maness on a regular basis. Given any significant injuries to relievers, he may get a mid-season call-up that could put him with the recent group of sudden impact players the Cardinals have been know to display in the past couple of seasons.