With their 13th-round pick the Mets grabbed a different type of high school pitcher, Erik Manoah, from South Dade Senior H.S. in Miami. While Alex Durham is a projectable sort, Manoah has much more present ability, thanks to a mature, 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound build with some athleticism. He may be able to add a touch more muscle, but I think what you see will be more or less what you get in that department.
Scouts saw two different Manoahs this year. Last fall, Manoah lit up guns to the tune of a fastball that was regularly in the 89-to-92 range, brushing 94. He also threw a nice curve ball--not necessarily a big breaker, but one with nice, tight rotation and decent velocity at 75 miles-per-hour. A little more oomph would make it a plus pitch for me. I should note that he does telegraph the pitch slightly by lifting his arm angle slightly from his normal slot, which typically sits a little below true three-quarters. It’s not the worst thing in the world, because it is a good pitch, but it also enables him to get a little more on top of the pitch for a little more depth. He’ll also show a potentially average change, giving him a nice three-pitch mix. His command is also pretty refined for a prep arm.
If that was the only Manoah scouts saw this spring, he may have gone much higher than he did. Instead, for much of the spring, Manoah was throwing a full tick below his previous velocity, sitting 87 to 90. His curve also suffered, coming in much softer than normal. He may have been tired--he suffered some heavy workloads this year--or his mechanics may have been off, or he may be hiding an injury. It’s enough to scare teams away.
Mechanically he does a lot of nice things like taking a long strike, landing smoothly, keeps his glove side firm, separates his hands high. The only major issue is some length at the back end of his delivery, which may be slowing down his tempo enough that the forward momentum he’s generating with his stride is somewhat negated. Streamlining it some may result in a return of his prior velocity.
The risk of drafting damaged goods is real, but if he’s healthy the Mets may have gotten a nice discount on a talented pitcher. Manoah has already announced his intention to turn pro, foregoing his commitment to Florida International.