Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Q&A with Jeff Manship
Ft. Myers Miracle Starting Pitcher
Good morning to everyone! The Twins got some good pitching last night, including starter Boof Bonser, and got a win over the Royals in Kansas City. I have a few thoughts on the game down below. Today, I am thrilled to be able to bring you another Question and Answer with Jeff Manship. If you recall, he answered questions for the site back in May. This time it is a little different as you, the readers, submitted the questions that were asked of him. You asked some great questions, and Jeff did a great job of responding. I really think you will enjoy it.
It was a great first full professional season for Manship. He began the season with the Beloit Snappers where he made 13 starts. He was 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA. In 77.2 innings, he gave up 51 hits, walked nine and struck out 77. After the Midwest League All-Star game, he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he made another 13 starts. He went 8-5 with a 3.51 ERA. In 71.1 innings, he walked 25 and struck out 59. So overall on the season, he went 15-6 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. A very impressive pro debut. For more of his stats, click here.
Manship is clearly one of the Twins top pitching prospects. His season is now complete and he is back at Notre Dame taking classes. He took a break from his studies to answer your questions, so let's get right to them. After answering all of your questions, I asked him to help me with a preview of the Beloit/West Michigan Midwest League championship series. So, he answered eight more questions for me on that. I think you'll enjoy his perspective. As always, please feel free to send me an e-mail adn I can try to get your questions answered. Otherwise, just leave some Comments on the site. It is possible that Jeff will be reading the Comments and may even answer your questions there. Thanks, and Enjoy!
Note - if you are interested in viewing all of the Q&As that we have had at SethSpeaks.net, click here.
Let Your Questions Begin!
Did in expect to go higher in the draft than round 14? -- Marc Downie
Jeff Manship: I did. There were questions marks around me due to signability so that caused me to fall. I was upset at the time of the draft, but I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. I am very happy to be a part of the Minnesota Twins. The organization is one of the best.
How good do you think your curveball is now compared to before you had Tommy John's? -- Marc Downie
Jeff Manship: I feel like it had a little bit of a sharper break before I had surgery. I relied on it too much, though, which led to my surgery.
I would like to know what kind of coaching Twins minor league pitchers receive. At each minor league level do they have a different pitching coach with different philosophies, or are they given things to work on by the Twins. If there is direction from the Twins office, who is responsible for evaluating each player and determining what they need to work on. – Doug Lien
Jeff Manship: I have been happy with the coaching I have received. Each coach is different and has different teaching methods. Some focus more on mechanics while others deal with the mental aspects of pitching. My mechanics were never altered drastically. They would only make small adjustments. For example, when I would stride out I would land on my heel too much so I made a conscious effort during every bullpen to correct the mistake. The philosophies are similar throughout the Twins organization.
I would like to know how hard his fastball is over the course of a game -- Sue Bradley
Jeff Manship: I usually sit from around 89-93 and average 91 throughout the game.
How big is the "dead arm" we hear about? Is it the arm not being in shape…fatigue, mechanics or life? Has he ever experienced it. – Lee Kofstad
Jeff Manship: Some guys experience it and some guys don't. Luckily I never really had to deal with it during the season. The only time that I felt it was during spring training but that was just because my arm was not in its top shape. I feel that fatigue is the main reason for dead arm.
The Twins seem to have great depth in starting pitching talent right now. As somebody working up the ladder in that category, does that feel like a challenge to being successful yourself, or does it indicate an environment where developing as a pitcher is very comfortable? -- Jesse in St. Paul
Jeff Manship: I see it as more of a challenge. Everybody is striving for the same position. I don't think that I could ever become too comfortable knowing that there is so much talent around me along with all the younger talent that will join the organization in the future. That's what is so different about pro ball. Its strange that you compete against the opposing team but also against the guys sitting on the bench next to you.
As a followup, how do you feel the Twins should best use all this starting talent? Should somebody like Glen Perkins be moved to the Twins bullpen to get his arm in the majors? -- Jesse in St. Paul
Jeff Manship: It is tough to say. Often they will put guys in the bullpen to just get some experience but they want them to keep their starter mentality. I don't see it as a negative, though, if guys like Perkins are put in the bullpen.
What would you be doing if you hadn't been drafted? -- Beth Miller
Jeff Manship: I would probably be working behind a desk somewhere and not be happy about it. I have not really put too much thought into what career path besides baseball I will choose. Hopefully I will have a long and productive career in baseball.
Have you always been a pitcher? If not, what other positions did you play? If you could choose, what position would you play? -- Beth Miller
Jeff Manship: I did not even begin to start practicing as a pitcher until I was 10. I remember making the All-Star team at my little league and we needed a pitcher so I volunteered and have loved it ever since. I used to play middle infield, mainly shortstop when I was younger and a good amount of 2nd in high school. I never really like playing the infield, though. I would get more upset at myself for making an error than I would if I gave up a homerun or struck out while hitting. I attempted to play 3rd my senior year of high school but lasted about 5 games. I think I made about 10 errors. If I actually managed to field the grounder I would make an awful throw to first. Coach and I made a mutual agreement that I would give up 3rd and just pitch and DH, which was perfect because I loved hitting. If I had my choice of positions I would stick with pitching.
What was the most memorable moment for you playing baseball in 2007? -- Beth Miller
Jeff Manship: Winning the first half in Beloit was the most memorable experience.
What are your plans for the offseason? School? Training? -- Steve R
Jeff Manship: I am going to finish my degree at Notre Dame. Last year I trained at school and I will do the same again this year. The facilities here are some of the best in the country and I am still allowed to use them so I take full advantage of it.
When do you start thinking and preparing for the 2008 season? -- Ron R.
Jeff Manship: Right when the 2007 season ended I started thinking of the 2008 season. For now I am going to take a break and won't start throwing again until January. I will do some light workouts starting this week just to stay in shape. The heavier workouts don't come until late fall and winter.
Does you still feel any effects from the TJ surgery? Any irritation? Pain? Swelling? etc. – from Josh Johnson as a follow-up to his Q&A with Jeff at Josh’s Thoughts
Jeff Manship: Not really. This is the best my arm has felt. I rarely get sore or tight. The day after I pitch is usually the only discomfort that I experience and it is never bad. My arm showed that it can handle the load of a full season which is good to know. I did not know what to expect going into this year. The most innings that I had ever thrown in a season was 90 or so last year at Notre Dame. I am just happy that the surgery was a success and that I can still compete.
Despite being right-handed, you’ve actually been more effective against lefties than righties at Fort Myers (BAA: .245 vs. .288). Any idea why? Do you pitch them differently? -- James M
Jeff Manship: I do throw lefties differently. I tend to throw them more change-ups and less sliders. It seemed that my sinker had less movement when trying to come in to righties versus staying away from lefties so that could have been a factor. I also felt that I left too many sliders up to righties which resulted in avoidable hits.
Another interesting split. You’ve been terrific on the road (4-0, 2.39, .208), not so good at home (3-5, 4.08, .310). Any idea why? -- James M
Jeff Manship: I actually noticed that myself and wondered what my deal was. I was happy to know that my last start was in Dunedin. I wish I knew why I had better numbers on the road, but I really do not know.
Do you think it's kind of funny that your ex-teammate Jeff Samardzija signed for so much money with the Cubs when you were the ace of that Notre Dame staff? -- Marc Downie
Jeff Manship: I wish I could negotiate for that kind of money but my only talent is baseball. Jeff is a very gifted athlete so he had plenty of bargaining power. I am happy for Jeff that he was able to sign such a big contract.
Do you keep in touch with Jeff S.? Have you got a friendly wager on who gets to the Show first? -- James M
Jeff Manship: Yes I do still keep in touch with him. It is good to see that he is doing well in AA. No wager has been made. I am going to assume that he makes it first. From what I hear he will most likely be in the bigs at some point next year.
I live in Ft. Myers and know about the heat and humidity. and the storms that may occur each evening. Has your training (physical and mental) changed since the promotion from Beloit? -- Tom Anderson
Jeff Manship: It is a big adjustment dealing with the heat. I probably sweat the most that I ever have in my life this season. I had to be mentally tougher and not wear myself out. It is easier to get away with throwing long innings in Beloit but in Ft. Myers your strength is sapped if you stay on the mound too long. I went through plenty of rosin trying to keep my hands and the ball dry. The physical training did not change too much. I still worked out the same but was soaked with sweat afterwards. The rain never bothered me. The occasional rainout was nice since we rarely get days off.
Can you explain the differences between the Midwest League and the Florida State League, and what adjustments did you find you had to make, if any? -- Jeff N.
Jeff Manship: The main thing that I noticed was that hitters were more patient. They rarely ever swung at breaking pitches early in the count so it was imperative that I throw it for strikes. In addition, guys don't swing at as many bad pitches. They are looking for a certain pitch in a certain count so there is less room for error.
If you could play the role of ‘scout’, what would your scouting report of Jeff Manship be? -- Kevin Q.
Jeff Manship: Solid breaking pitches, needs to continue to develop the change-up, good control in Beloit but it seemed to slip a little in Ft. Myers, good life on 2-seam fastball.
I still feel that there is a lot that I need to work on the make it the bigs. I need to control the running game better and get ahead of hitters more often.
If you don’t mind, can you also give us your pitching teammates from 2007 that showed: - Kevin Q. (Jeff Manship's responses in Red)
Best Fastball - Zach Ward or Eddy Morlan
Best Curveball - Cole Devries
Best Changeup - Errol Simonitsch
Best Slider - Tyler Robertson
Best Control - Jay Rainville
And with the hitters:
Best Power Potential - Chris Parmelee
Best Plate Discipline - Steve Tolleson
Best Base Runner - Joe Benson or Steve Tolleson
Fastest Runner - Joe Benson
Do you know the entire Notre Dame fight song? -- Karl B
Jeff Manship: Of course. It is the best fight song in college.
Is it mandatory for all incoming Notre Dame students to watch Rudi? -- Karl B
Jeff Manship: I am pretty confident that almost everyone has seen Rudi before going to Notre Dame and if they haven't someone will make them watch it within the first week they are there. Surprisingly I haven't watched it once since I have been at school here.
What was it about Notre Dame that drew you to attend there? -- Karl B
Jeff Manship: The education was the main factor that made be decide on Notre Dame. I realize that baseball is not going to be my career forever. Acquiring a degree from a prestigious university like Notre Dame will last forever and open many doors for me in the future. I also liked the amount of history at the school. Many people wondered why I left Texas and its climate for the miserable conditions in South Bend but it was worth it. I guess it is good that I have experienced pitching in frigid weather now that the Twins are building an outdoor stadium.
I asked Jeff the next eight questions in preparation for the Snappers Best of Five Midwest League championship series against West Michigan.
SethSpeaks: Joe Benson has definitely stepped up in the last month. Just how good do you think he can be considering how young he is.
Jeff Manship: I think Joe has tremendous talent. He has the ability to hit for both average and power and is one of the faster guys that I have played with. He plays his hardest all the time and I always had a good feeling that the ball would be caught whenever it was hit to centerfield. All the hype centered around Joe is for good reason.
SethSpeaks: Greg Yersich struggled early in the season with the bat for the Snappers, went to E-Town and did great, and now has been key in the Snappers playoff run. Tell us a little bit about him as a catcher.
Jeff Manship: Its great to see Greg having success. He was getting a bit frustrated in Beloit early on so its good to see that he has bounced back.
SethSpeaks: Is there another hitter that you would point to as 1.) being a key in this series or 2.) you think will have a big series?
Jeff Manship: Parmelee always has the capability of providing a big hit. He has some amazing power. In addition, Santiesteban has been hitting very well so he could play a huge factor in the championship series along with Rene Tosoni.
SethSpeaks: Even after you left the Snappers rotation midway through the season, the Snappers have a lot of really good pitching. Alex Burnett, Tyler Robertson, Cole DeVries and Matt Fox have been excellent in the playoffs and before. Can you tell us a little bit about each of them?
Jeff Manship: I am very happy for the pitching staff and how well they have done. Even though I am a little bias, I feel that they over-match the Whitecaps pitching staff.
Alex Burnett - Alex is a great pitcher with great composure. He always goes out and fights. He has a good fastball that usually sits in the upper 80s low 90s with a solid curveball and a good change. He has the ability to put up good strike out numbers
Tyler Robertson - Tyler has the best stuff on that staff. He has a hard fastball that is usually in the low 90s and a nasty slider. He gets a lot of 2 strike swings on sliders in the dirt. I guess he just started throwing that pitch because I always thought that he just threw a curveball. He occasionally throws the curve but his slider is his out pitch. He also has a good change up. He, too, is a big competitor. The fact that he is so young and so successful at this level is amazing.
Cole Devries - Cole is the smartest pitcher on the staff. He doesn't have an overpowering fastball but he knows when and where to throw it. He has excellent control and mixes his pitches up very well. His change up is one of the best on the staff along with his curveball. Cole is probably one of the most intense pitchers on the staff. He competes his ass off and does not settle for failure. All he wants to do is win.
Matt Fox - Matt is the veteran on the staff. I think he is 24 or 25 so he is by far the oldest. He mixes his pitches up well and seems like he is still coming back from the injuries he faced. He usually throws in the upper 80s touching 90 91 and has good off speed that he can throw for strikes. I hope he regains his old form before the surgeries because his stuff seemed very impressive.
SethSpeaks: The bullpen has been excellent as well, particularly Jose Lugo, Aaron Craig and Anthony Slama. Even without Robert Delaney, this group is getting the job done. Can you quickly scout the Snappers bullpen?
Jeff Manship: Lugo has great stuff when he throws strikes. He has an intimidating delivery and can throw hard with a great slider. Craig is a competitor with a low 90s fastball and a hard slider. I have never seen Slama pitch before but he seems like he has been doing a great job.
SethSpeaks: Looking around the field, where are the Snappers particularly strong defensively?
Jeff Manship: Benson is solid in centerfield. I always felt comfortable with him playing behind me. Parmelee continued to get better throughout the season in right. I remember playing Cates when he was at Louisville and was always impressed with his ability.
SethSpeaks: Any thoughts on West Michigan? Who are some of the guys on their roster that we should be watching?
Jeff Manship: West Michigan has a solid team. Like I said earlier, I still feel like the Snappers pitching staff is better. Hernandez has a great deal of talent but I don't remember him ever doing anything substantial off of us when I was there. I played against Strieby when he was at Kentucky and he has big power potential. Laster and Skelton seem to be having solid playoffs too so I can imagine they will make some sort of impact. It should make for a great series.
SethSpeaks: Finally, will you be keeping tabs on the games?
Jeff Manship: I will for sure keep tabs of the games. I just hope school doesn't conflict but I highly doubt that will be the case.
Again, thank you, Jeff, for taking the time out of your schedule to answer all of these questions. I think it was a lot of fun. Do you have any thoughts or questions for Jeff Manship or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, here is a checklist.
Twins 4, Royals 2
Boof Bonser needed a decent start and he did just that. Decent, but certainly not spectacular. He went five innings. He gave up just two runs, but he gave up five hits and four walks. He did strike out five. He was credited with the win. Apparently it was enough to stay in the rotation.
Much of the credit goes to Nick Blackburn who threw 2.2 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and walked one, but two of the hits and the walk came in the inning when he loaded the bases, but Matt Guerrier came in and got a strikeout to end that threat. Joe Nathan came in and had a perfect ninth for his 31st save.
Yesterday, Aaron told us who Nick Blackburn is. I commented on his site that I see him taking over the role Matt Guerrier had the last two years, long relief. I was impressed with the 95 mph fastball, a slider/cutter at 88, and a slow curve at 77. Good mix of pitches means he could start as well.
Jason Kubel batted second again and had another good game. He had two more doubles in four at bats. One really should have been a triple, but he came off the bag at third and was tagged out therefore only credited with a double. He drove in two runs and stole a base. Check out Ubelman's Player Comparison that shows us we should not be worried in any way about Jason Kubel... I wasn't worried.
Justin Morneau was 2-3 with a walk and two RBI.
Tonight, it will be Scott Baker taking on Kyle Davies.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Indians, the Brewers, or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
NFL "Expert" Picks
Congratulations to Melissa Lien on winning the Week 1 picks. She was about 26 seconds from going 15-1, but that late game last night ended just crazy. I know, I would have ended up with just two wrong and 2nd place all to myself! Here are the Week 1 results as well as the overall rankings which, of course, are exactly the same at this time.
|John Bonnes||Twins Geek||13||3||81.3%||13||3||81.3%|
|Nick Nelson||Nick & Nick's||13||3||81.3%||13||3||81.3%|
|Josh Taylor||Taylor's Twins Thoughts||13||3||81.3%||13||3||81.3%|
|JD Arney||Reds Reporter||13||3||81.3%||13||3||81.3%|
|Tim Kolehmainen||Truth About Cats & Blogs||12||4||75.0%||12||4||75.0%|
|Roger Dehring||Several Blogs||12||4||75.0%||12||4||75.0%|
|Trevor Born||Twins Junkie||12||4||75.0%||12||4||75.0%|
|Stick & Ball Guy||Stick & Ball Guy||12||4||75.0%||12||4||75.0%|
|Cory Hepola||WENY Sports||12||4||75.0%||12||4||75.0%|
|Al Bethke||Al's Ramblings||11||5||68.8%||11||5||68.8%|
|Kyle Waldrop||Twins Pitching Prospect||11||5||68.8%||11||5||68.8%|
|Jeff Manship||Twins Pitching Prospect||11||5||68.8%||11||5||68.8%|
|Mike Brasel||Fantasy FB Guru||11||5||68.8%||11||5||68.8%|
|Joe Benson||Twins OF Prospect||11||5||68.8%||11||5||68.8%|
|Wes Holtsclaw||Elizabethton Star||11||5||68.8%||11||5||68.8%|
|Josh Johnson||Josh's Thoughts||10||6||62.5%||10||6||62.5%|
|Kevin Slowey||Twins Pitching Prospect||10||6||62.5%||10||6||62.5%|
|Will Young||Will's Twins Blog||9||7||56.3%||9||7||56.3%|
|LaVelle E. Neal III||Twins Insider||9||7||56.3%||9||7||56.3%|
|Bill Ferris||Detroit Tigers Blog||9||7||56.3%||9||7||56.3%|
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!|
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