Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A look at Chris Manno and the Jonny Gomes trade

Quick thoughts on the trade: not a huge fan of trading minor leaguers of any sort for mediocre vets, but this trade has very little downside, believe it or not.

Best case scenarios: Gomes hits the crap out of the ball for a month and gets flipped for a top 10 prospect in an organization or Gomes gets offered arbitration, declines it, signs elsewhere and the Nats get a compensation pick in the 2012 draft.

Worst case scenario: Gomes accepts arbitration, Bill Rhinehart becomes a minor league bench bat and Manno becomes an ML LOOGY.

Think I'm underselling Manno? Possibly, but minor league relievers are some of the most volatile creatures on earth. Guys like Chris Schroeder come to mind when I think about Manno...dominating minor league performance, a few cups of coffee spread out over a few seasons and then back to the minors. We'll find out soon enough whether he can get AA batters out like he's gotten A batters out, but at every level, we'll have to wonder is this when the batters start catching up to his funky 88 mph fastball. Manno can be a successful major league pitcher, but the odds are stacked way against him, just like any other non-stud minor league pitcher (or even studs for that matter). Like I said, I'm not crazy about moving any minor leaguers for guys who won't help the Nats in years to come, but I'm not of the belief that we gave up anything that valuable to the Nats' future.

Here is the profile I posted on Manno last year over at DC Sports Plus:

LHP Chris Manno (26th round-Duke University)
I really like Manno, especially as a 26th rounder. With a quirky delivery, he has a chance of being an effective ML pitcher. In the 26th round, there isn't any risk if he doesn't become one. He's portrayed as a high character guy. And the Nats obviously like him a lot, since they took him two years in a row. An all-around great pick to me.

Here's what NFA re-posted from Baseball America last year: "Junior lefthander Christopher Manno is the Blue Devils’ best prospect and could go anywhere from the fifth to 10th round. Like Wolcott, he works primarily off his fastball. He’s long and lean with deception and some projection left in his body. Manno at times sits at 83-87 mph, though he often throws harder and was 89-91 mph at times in the Cape last summer, when he went 3-0, 1.93 with 45 strikeouts in 42 innings. His changeup can be plus at times, while his slider is below-average. Manno is young for his draft class and doesn’t turn 21 until November."

Andy Seiler (7/7/2009): "Manno should have gone much earlier, and he was in consideration for the top ten rounds quite easily as a lefty with good size and great deception. His fastball is below-average, but he couples it with a contrasting changeup that gets a lot of funny swings."

Seiler answered a question on Manno in an "All Questions Answered" thread on 6/11/2010:
"Q: Thoughts on Duke’s LHP Chris Manno (26th, DC) – did he stuff back up a bit this year? A: Stuff was still down. Below-average velocity and stuff in general."

A nice interview with Manno from before the 2010 season came from Ping Baseball, now College Baseball Lineup. The old link is dead, but here are some excerpts:
"It's hard not to root for Duke's senior lefty Chris Manno. He's humble, gives credit to coaches and teammates before himself and plays the game smart. He's both the kind of guy you want on the mound in a crucial game as well as someone you'd trust to date your sister."
"Q: The terms “funky” and “herky jerky” have been used to describe your pitching form. Yet, it's hard to say anything disparaging with the results. Has anyone attempted to tinker with your delivery or endorsed a change in your approach? A: Being herky jerky isn't necessarily a bad thing. You can watch a bunch of major league pitchers who are jerky jerky and funky, but their mechanics are actually good. My mechanics have developed throughout years and they're very sound if you watch them on tape. The way I deliver the ball and the way it comes out are just different. I do everything my coaches tell me to do and they've really, really helped me over the years. I just throw a little different – which is kind of good from what I heard.
Q: You were a late round draft choice of the Washington Nationals in the amateur drafts last spring. Was there much consideration in turning down the Nat's offers to go pro? You could been paid to play and continued your education later. A: Absolutely. That was definitely a consideration. I was honored to be drafted by them. You have to understand that I still have a lot of space for improving at the school I'm at right now. I haven't outgrown my coaches and I still have a lot to learn from them...In regards to me possibly signing it was absolutely an option, it's always been my dream to sign, but it just wasn't the right time. To be very honest I made it quite clear to scouts that it was going to take a significant commitment for me to leave an institution like Duke."
Want to see similar, but more in-depth profiles on the 2011 Nats draft class? Head on over to 2011 Nationals Draft Info.

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