In 2016, the Tigers drafted pitching prospect Matt Manning with the seventh overall pick. Manning showed immediate promise in the Rookie League, striking out 46 in 29 1/3 innings. After a year in lower A and A Leagues in 2017, Manning impressed in 2018, striking out 154 with a 3.44 ERA in 117 2/3 innings combined.
Matt Manning pitched the MLB entire season at Double-A, opening eyes with a 2.56 ERA and averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly four. Considering the Tigers have been among baseball’s worst teams the past few seasons and team ERA of 5.63 in 2020, Manning is a prime candidate to be promoted to the Tigers in 2021. Evidence to the poor Tigers’ rotation, Spencer Turnbull was the top starter last year with a 3.99 ERA. Following him was Tarik Skubal (5.97 ERA), Matthew Boyd (6.71 ERA), Casey Maze (6.99 ERA), Ivan Nova (8.53 ERA), and Michael Fulmer (8.78 ERA).
However, the 12th ranked prospect by FanGraphs, 15th ranked by Baseball America and 20th ranked by MLB.com was shut down in August because of a forearm strain. Luckily for the Tigers, the injury was not deemed serious and att Manning feels 100 percent at the moment. The question is whether or not the injury is one that could be a reoccurring, nagging, injury.
If Manning is healthy, he should make a strong showing in spring training and likely would start the year at Triple-A. With the Tigers rebuilding, Manning gives a young pitching staff reason for optimism, moving ahead. His Major League debut is nearing and could very well be sometime in the 2021 season. If so, he will be in the mix with other young Tiger’s pitchers, Traik Skubal, Casey Mize and top pick last season, Spencer Torkelson.