- Full name Jeffrey Michael Manship
- Born 01/16/1985 in San Antonio, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Notre Dame
- Debut 08/15/2009
Drafted in the 14th round (426th overall) by the Minnesota Twins in 2006 (signed for $300,000).
View Draft ReportOne of the most coveted recruits in the 2003 high school class, Manship blew out his elbow in the summer before he arrived at Notre Dame. After he had Tommy John surgery in February 2004, the Fighting Irish eased him back in last year before turning him loose this spring. Though Jeff Samardzija has more spectacular stuff, Manship has been the Fighting Irish's most effective weekend starter. His curveball was his signature pitch before he got hurt, and while it's still an above-average offering, it's not as good as it once was. He has compensated by relying more on a fastball that usually runs from 89-92 mph. He also has improved his changeup and can mix in a slider when needed. He has good command and competes well. Scouts aren't as leery about his medical record as they are of his arm action, which they worry could lead to more elbow trouble down the road. As a draft-eligible sophomore, Manship has more leverage than most college prospects, but is willing to sign if he goes in the first three or four rounds. His brother Matt should be a senior draft out of Stanford.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Manship made his major league debut in 2009, becoming yet another success story for Tommy John surgery and the Twins' pitching-development program. He had the operation back in 2003, prior to his first college season at Notre Dame, and has proved his durability every year as a pro. He pitched at least 149 innings for the third straight season and maintained his success in the minors before running into trouble in Minnesota. Manship is a fairly finished product who has a good curveball and has continued to improve his sinker, which sits at 89-91 mph. He runs his four-seamer up to 94 in shorter stints. He has yielded just 20 homers in his last 430 minor league innings, and he gets his share of groundballs. He throws a solid changeup and fringe-average slider, and both pitches are at their best down in the strike zone. In the majors, though, Manship's average stuff and fringy command proved insufficient. He lacks true fastball command and has found big league hitters less apt to chase. He doesn't have swing-and-miss stuff in the zone, so he must be more precise to succeed as a back-of-the-rotation starter. Minnesota bolstered the depth of its rotation by bringing Carl Pavano back, and Manship has little chance to earn a starting role in 2010. Instead, he'll head back to Triple-A as insurance and could contribute to the Twins as a middle reliever later in the year.
The Twins have several pitchers of similar ability at the upper levels of their system, and Manship could yet wind up being the best of a group that includes Brian Duensing, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Anthony Swarzak. Manship has physically matured as a pro, adding two inches and 35 pounds, and has the stuff to be a big league starter. He has become more comfortable pitching off his fastball to both sides of the plate and has good control of the pitch, which sits at 88-91 mph with solid sink. He touches 93 with his fastball but could stand to command it better, having sacrificed a bit of command for more power. To do that, he'll need to become more efficient in his delivery. His mid-70s curveball remains Manship's best pitch, and he has a feel for the strike zone with it. When he got his first taste of Double-A last year, he learned that his curve alone wasn't enough for him to dominate, and he was homer-prone when made mistakes with his offspeed stuff. His changeup and slider give him two more pitches he can throw for strikes, though neither stands out. Scouts commend Manship's ability to compete without his best stuff and adjust within games when his plan of attack isn't working. He has answered questions about his durability--which stem in part from Tommy John surgery he had in 2003--by surpassing 180 innings last year (including a successful stint in the Arizona Fall League). He'll return to Double- A to start 2009.
After his senior season of high school, Manship pitched for Team USA in the World Junior Championship and hurt his elbow on a substandard pitching mound in Curacao. He had Tommy John surgery, redshirted as a freshman and had two good seasons at Notre Dame. The Twins paid him $300,000 as a 14th-round pick, and he has gone 15-6, 2.20 in 11/2 pro seasons. Manship's older brother Matt, a former Stanford pitcher, got the size, but Jeff got the stuff in the family. His curveball ranks among the system's best, a 12-to-6 pitch that he can throw for strikes or bury. His fastball usually sits at 90-91 mph, and his command rivals the organization's models of Brad Radke and Kevin Slowey. Manship throws his solid-average changeup and his slider for strikes. Despite his short frame, he keeps his pitches down and is durable. Manship's repertoire lacks power, giving him less margin for error. When his command is off--on the rare occasions when he overthrows, or when he tires, as he did late in the season--he's quite hittable. Manship profiles as a No. 3 or 4 starter at best, and he'll begin what should be his last full minor league season in Double-A. Even with Minnesota's backlog of starters, he could force his way into the rotation equation by 2009.
As a San Antonio prep star, Manship followed in the footsteps of his older brother Matt, who went to Stanford and was a 29th-round pick of the Athletics in 2006. Jeff was a member of USA Baseball's junior national team after his senior year in high school but threw too many of his signature curveballs in the event--he estimates he threw 130 pitches during a 15-strikeout effort against Curacao--and required Tommy John surgery that forced him to take a medical redshirt as a freshman at Notre Dame. He eased back into pitching in 2005, then proved himself as an ace again in 2006, going 9-2, 3.26 while leading the Big East Conference with 111 strikeouts in 94 innings. Manship signed as a redshirt sophomore for a $300,000 bonus. In an effort to finish his degree he attended classes at Notre Dame in the fall rather than going to instructional league. While Manship's curveball isn't quite as good as it used to be, it's still an above-average pitch and the Twins consider it the best in the system thanks to his command of it and its depth. Manship's 89-92 mph fastball can touch 93 and he throws plenty of strikes with it. He also uses a changeup and slider, While he's strong and well-built, Manship is undersized, and his durability and ability to keep his fastball down in the strike zone will be key in his first full season, which should start at high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Manship carved up the MWL before he left for high Class A in late June, allowing one run or less in 11 of his 13 starts and two runs in another. The only time he got hit was when he visited South Bend--where he pitched collegiately at Notre Dame--and tried to overthrow, costing him his usual exquisite command. He doesn't pinpoint his pitches quite as well as fellow Twins righty Kevin Slowey, but it's close. "He has a chance to fly through their system," the second scout said, "and become their next Brad Radke." Outside of his plus 12-to-6 curveball, Manship's stuff isn't as overwhelming as his numbers. His average fastball sits at 88-92 mph, and he also throws a changeup and an occasional slider. As a college pitcher with the ability to locate his pitches as well as he does, Manship should have dominated the MWL. He didn't overmatch hitters as much in the Florida State League, though he still went 8-5, 3.15 and continued to induce plenty of groundballs.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Midwest League in 2007
- Rated Best Breaking Pitch in the Midwest League in 2007
- Rated Best Curveball in the Minnesota Twins in 2007