Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Q&A with Jeff Manship
Beloit Pitching Prospect
Good morning! In case you missed it, I have to highlight that it appears that Kevin Slowey will be starting for the Twins on Friday night.First things... if you're looking for updates from the weekend, both the Twins and their minor league affiliates, please click here. I posted thoughts and updates throughout the weekend. I figured rather than bombard you with four days worth of updates today, I would post quick ones daily. Just start at the top and work your way down. I also wanted to post smaller ones because I am very happy and excited to bring you yet another Q&A of a Twins minor league prospect today. I think many that read this site will really enjoy it as the participant is one of the guys that gets talked about a lot here, and not just by me, but by the commenters as well.
Jeff Manship signed with the Twins after they selected him in the 14th round of the 2006 draft out of Notre Dame. It is likely that part of the reason that he fell to the 14th round was because he had Tommy John surgery before his first year of college. There were also rumors that he may not want to sign. However, Baseball America rated him as the 75th best prospect in college (while Jeff Samardzija rated #95... and got a $10 million guaranteed big league contract to keep him from being a First-Round pick in the NFL draft), so that Twins may have got a steal in the 14th round. (If you would like, you can check out his career numbers here.)
If you think I'm exaggerating about Manship's prospect status, check out his bio from his stint with the Cape Cod League's Cotuit Kettlers:
Highest-rated pitching prospect ever to join Notre Dame baseball program, as polished righthander known for devastating curveball that some experts have labeled the best breaking pitch to come out of high-school ranks in last 15 years ... was listed as 13th overall pick by Baseball America in 2003 mock amateur draft (including '03 college players) - but his strong commitment to play for the Irish caused him to slip to a token 50th-round pick in the '03 draft (by Arizona Diamondbacks) ... was sixth high school player in that mock draft, with the top five opting for pro baseball (making him the nation's highest-rated freshman in '04) ... BA's college preview lists him as nation's No. 3 freshman prospect, behind UNC LHP Andrew Miller and USC RHP Ian Kennedy ...
Here is a diary on Jeff Manship at John Sickels' site if you're interested in learning more. In his start on Sunday afternoon, Manship left the Snappers game in the third inning with an injury. Recent updates tell us that Manship pulled his right groin and will likely go on the 7-Day Disabled List. If you've followed the Twins system the last few years, they like to give their starters a start off sometime in early June. It is likely that Manship will just be missing one start. When he is back, I'd like to see him prove his health with the Snappers and then advance to Ft. Myers.
Did You Know? Jeff's brother Matt Manship pitched at Stanford. He was drafted in the 29th round of the 2006 draft by the Oakland A's. He is pitching in the bullpen of the Hi-A Vancouver Canadians. In 17 games and 33.2 innings, he is 1-1 with a 2.94 ERA. He has 13 walks and 32 strikeouts.
If you would like to see what other Twins prospects I have had Q&As with, please be sure to check out a page I created with all of my Q&As. Today, I need to thank Jeff Manship for taking some of his time to answer questions for us! I really hope that you all enjoy the Q&As. If you have any comments for me or Mr. Manship, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer. Also, leave Comments below if you would prefer.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Texas, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch?
Jeff Manship: I never really had a specific team that I would always follow when I was young. The Astros were the closest team to San Antonio so I followed them the most. I also enjoyed watching the Mariners with Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez, Jay Buhner, Randy Johnson, and Edgar Martinez. Nolan Ryan was always an impressive pitcher to watch.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career, playing baseball in Texas and some memories.
Jeff Manship: Playing baseball in Texas was always great because of the weather. It was rarely too cold to play and our season always started in January. Some of my most memorable experiences came when I was a junior and senior in high school playing in the regional championships. When I was a junior I lost 1-0 on a no-hitter. We again lost 1-0 when I was a senior because I made the game-losing error by over throwing first base on a routine sacrifice bunt.
SethSpeaks: You were drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 50th round in 2003. Did you have any thoughts about signing at that time?
Jeff Manship: I was pretty set on going to Notre Dame so once the draft was over and I was selected in the 50th round, my decision to attend school was very easy.
SethSpeaks: You went to Notre Dame. What was that experience like?
Jeff Manship: Notre Dame was a great experience. I learned a great deal in the classroom and about baseball. The football games were an amazing portion of my college experience. I am very happy that I decided to go to college instead of signing pro out of high school.
SethSpeaks: I'm sure it's not a fun topic to discuss, but you had Tommy John surgery in college. What was it that told you that it needed to be done (type of pain? elbow? etc.)
Jeff Manship: I first felt that something was wrong while playing with Team USA after my senior year in high school. I threw a fastball and immediately felt my entire elbow and most of my forearm tighten up. I never heard the infamous “pop” of my ligament tearing so I did not believe any serious damage had occurred. I ended up having Tommy John surgery in February of my freshman year.
SethSpeaks: Last fall, Francisco Liriano had Tommy John surgery. If he were to ask your advice on rehabbing and timetables, what would you tell him?
Jeff Manship: I would advise him to consistently follow the rehab program. You cannot afford to stray away from it no matter how monotonous it may seem. Always have a good attitude and believe that you will heal 100%. For me it was nice knowing that there was a chance I could return even better than before the surgery. It provided me with extra motivation. In addition, I would tell him that not everybody recovers at the same rate. My recovery took about a year and a half until I felt completely healthy. Although it is painful, you have to fight through it.
SethSpeaks: And then the Twins drafted you last summer in the 14th round. Had you talked to Twins' scouts much, and where were you expecting to be drafted?
Jeff Manship: I actually did not talk to the Twins scouts much. I knew that they had come watch me play but we did not have many interactions before the draft. I did have expectations of being drafted and I am very happy that it became a reality.
SethSpeaks: I want to say that I heard there was a question as to whether you would sign or stay at Notre Dame. How difficult was your decision to sign with the Twins? What were some of the determining factors?
Jeff Manship: The decision to sign was not tough at all. I had strong intentions of signing a professional contract after my junior season at Notre Dame. The Twins are a great organization so I knew I would be in good hands if I signed. It was also very important that the team I signed with recognize my desire to complete my degree.
SethSpeaks: Do you intend to finish college? If you weren't playing pro baseball, what would your career of choice be?
Jeff Manship: I definitely intend to finish college. I realize the value of a Notre Dame degree and I do not want to waste the opportunity. I have only one semester remaining so completing my degree should not be a tough task to accomplish. I honestly do not know what my career choice would be outside of baseball at this point. I decided to major in economics because I was aware of the vast amount of job opportunities it could present in the future.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Jeff Manship: My pitching coach in high school and former professional pitcher, Ben Van Ryan, was a very influential coach in my life. My brother, Matt, was very important. He has served as a role model throughout my life and continues to be a person that I greatly admire. My dad is the most important person that has helped me get to where I am now. He taught me to play baseball and how to pitch.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher. What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Jeff Manship: My greatest strength has always been my breaking pitches. I feel that I have a good fastball that I continue to work with and improve. I also need to refine my change-up along with controlling the running game.
SethSpeaks: What pitches do you throw, and what would you say is your "out" pitch?
Jeff Manship: I throw a two and four seam fastball, curveball, slider, and change-up. My out pitch is the curveball.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Jeff Manship: The adjustment was very easy. I enjoy the independence along with throwing to wood bats instead of metal. Pitching at the pro level requires much more focus because the line up is legit from the first to the last hitter.
SethSpeaks: What are some of your initial thoughts on the Twins organization?
Jeff Manship: I think the Twins organization is top notch. They handle everything with class and care about their players throughout the organization. I had always heard how great the organization was and I have now witnessed it first-hand.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Jeff Manship: The best part about professional baseball is the independence. If I want to succeed I have to be willing to put in the time and effort. In pro ball I am handled as an adult with my own responsibilities.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Jeff Manship: The most difficult part is the repetitiveness. Playing everyday and having few off days can be tough.
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
Jeff Manship: Bull Durham
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball book?
Jeff Manship: Moneyball
SethSpeaks: What were your goals heading into the 2007 season?
Jeff Manship: My goals were to improve my change-up and move through the minors as quick as possible.
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a
regular season for the first time?
Jeff Manship: The feeling will be surreal. It has been a life long dream to play professional baseball and to finally accomplish that dream will be amazing.
Jeff, thank you very much for taking so much of your time to answer these questions for me and the readers of this site. Obviously we hope you have a terrific season and continued success. Best wishes for a strong remainder of the 2007 campaign!
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Jeff Manship or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me or leave a question or comment below.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, I have set up a new page that contains the links to all of them. Click here to see who all has done a Q&A with SethSpeaks.
That is it for today. I will be back tomorrow with more of my Top 50 Twins prospects. If you have any ideas for the site, people to try to get Q&As from, article concepts or more, please leave some Comments or send me an e-mail. I would appreciate your help. Have a terrific day!
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