The Kansas City Royals have a slew of exciting talent in the farm system right now, and one of their most promising just notched his first win as a professional pitcher. Sean Manaea was a steal in the early second round of the 2013 draft, but surgery sidelined him until the start of this season.
Manaea impressed many on the 28th as he held an apparently awesome Myrtle Beach Pelicans offense to just one run and four hits through 5 1/3innings. This was his third start of the year against Myrtle Beach, and it finally yielded his first career victory. The 22-year-old lefty struck out eight in his 5 1/3innings of work and threw 67.5 percent of his pitches for strikes. Although Manaea is showing scouts plenty of promise, he also commonly reminds those watching of his youth.
He’s yet to command his changeup effectively, so Manaea earned his first pro win with a simple fastball-slider combo. He’s going to need control over at least one more good pitch to become an MLB-caliber starter upon reaching his prime. The fact that he isn’t a big-league ace after four starts in the Advanced-A Carolina League should come as a surprise to exactly zero Royals fans, but it’s fun to envision him in powder blue and wonder how long it should take for him to get there.
As of now, it looks like Manaea is still far from a promotion to the Double-A level, let alone the big leagues. His 6.46 ERA through 15 1/3 innings with the Wilmington Blue Rocks shows that he still has much to learn. The general scouting consensus is that Manaea looks good for his age and level of experience, but unsurprisingly needs more work. Fans in Kansas City have at least a couple years to wait until Manaea hits the main stage, and whether he will even arrive there is undetermined. Still, it’s fun to dream.