DETROIT—Being called up to the big leagues for the first time was a dream come true for lefthander Joe Mantiply. Now, the 25-year-old has a new dream: to stick there.
The Tigers selected the Virginia Tech product in the 27th round of the 2013 draft, and he will get his chance when spring training begins in February, although it will come with the Yankees, who claimed him on waivers on Nov. 8.
“Overall my time in Detroit was great,” Mantiply said. “I learned a lot, and now I just have to take advantage of my future opportunities. Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet my next goal is to stay.”
Mantiply allowed five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings in five outings for the Tigers after being a surprise September callup.
“He has a funky delivery and the type of breaking ball that could be very effective against lefthanded hitters,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He has a sneaky fastball.”
Mantiply had success while splitting time between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo in both 2015 and 2016. This year he recorded a 2.73 ERA and 1.06 WHIP to go with 10.5 strikeouts and 1.8 walks per nine innings.
But Mantiply felt that he made a big step forward with one pitch this season. He called the improvement in his slider “a game changer.”
“I made some adjustments with my grip that made it more comfortable to me,” he said. “I’ve always had trouble spinning the ball, and I think it’s because my slider grip has never really felt good in my hand. Once I got comfortable with it, my confidence in throwing it started to grow and it became a real weapon for me.”
Mantiply said consistency in his delivery will be his main goal between now and spring training.
“Cleaning up some things mechanically is my goal this offseason,” he said. “I think if I clean some stuff up that will lead to a more consistent delivery and hopefully better command of all of my pitches.”
• Outfielder JaCoby Jones went 10-for-21 with five RBIs and four runs scored during a six-game stretch early in Arizona Fall League play.