Projection Turns Into Production For Tigers' Manuel Sequera
When the Tigers signed shortstop Manuel Sequera out of Venezuela in 2019, he had a lot of strength projection remaining in his 6-foot-2 frame
Two years later, Sequera had realized a lot of that projection.
The 19-year-old shortstop had morphed from a line-drive hitter as an amateur to home run champion of the pitcher-friendly Florida Complex League.
Sequera hit .246/.314/.509 with 11 homers and 12 doubles in 46 Rookie-level games. He hit all 11 of his bombs in his final 33 games, during which time he hit .289 and slugged .653.
With a likely assignment to Low-A Lakeland on the horizon in 2022, Sequera is in a good position to up his name recognition.
“Optimized power and a good swing” is how one analyst with an American League team described Sequera’s offensive upside.
While one might expect prodigious exit velocities from a league home run leader, Sequera produces power not through raw strength but a swing that generates consistent hard contact by virtue of his ability to find the sweet spot of the barrel.
The highest quality batted balls tend to fall within the optimal launch angle range of 10 to 30 degrees. In 2021 around 30% of Sequera’s batted balls fell within this range, hinting toward innate barrel control and a good swing path.
There’s certainly enthusiasm around Sequera’s 2021 campaign, but he is not without his warts. Swing-and-miss has been an issue for Sequera, illustrated by his strikeout rate of 29%.
While the shortstop’s bat-to-ball skills and contact numbers are average, he is prone to expanding the zone and can struggle to identify spin.
This lack of a plate approach yielded a high strikeout rate despite a low in-zone whiff rate.
Additionally, some scouts question Sequera’s ability to stick at shortstop. If he outgrows the position, most evaluators expect that he would move to third base, where his strong arm will play.