Manning has been one of the Tigers’ top prospects since he was taken ninth overall in the 2016 draft. Along with Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, Manning figures heavily into the Tigers’ rebuilding strategy. The Tigers have long been a pitching forward organization, of course, but it’s only now that all three of their highly-touted arms have begun to arrive in Motor City. With five starts this season, Manning is the last of the three to make his Major League debut.
Like Mize and Skubal, Manning’s early results have been relatively underwhelming. The 23-year-old has a 6.95 ERA/5.36 FIP through 22 innings with a solid 7.9 percent walk rate, but subpar 8.9 percent strikeout rate. It’s early to judge Manning, of course, and he put forth arguably his best effort yet on Friday night against the Twins, tossing five innings and yielding two earned runs on two hits and three walks while striking out three. The move makes sense at this juncture, however, as the Tigers won’t need a fifth starter for the foreseeable future with the All-Star break beginning Monday.
Thus far, Manning has presented a relatively diverse arsenal, fronted by 93.3 mph four-seamer, thrown 62.0 percent of the time. He compliments the heater primarily with a change-up to lefties and a slider to righties, occasionally mixing in a change-of-pace, looping curveball, clocking in at 78.3 mph.
The slider-forward approach is one that we’ve seen many Tigers’ hurlers take this season, with Mize and Skubal also showing increased reliance on the slider, as noted here and here by Timothy Jackson of Baseball Prospectus. Ace Spencer Turnbull, too, had increased his slider usage from 20.9 percent to 24.5 percent this year prior to being injured.
A flyball-heavy approach has left Manning somewhat prone to the long ball this season, especially in Triple-A where he was tagged with a 27.5 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate. While that number is astronomically high and sure to regress to the mean somewhat, he was tagged for three more home runs in the Majors, amounting to a 3.0 percent home run rate – right around the league-average rate.
As for the 34-year-old Holland, he will rejoin the Tigers bullpen. The veteran southpaw has 14 appearances on the season totaling 15 innings of work with a unsightly 9.60 ERA. ERA indicators — 4.01 SIERA, 4.04 FIP — are far more complimentary of Holland’s contribution, however. The difference could be due to a .426 BABIP that’s well above both the league-wide average of .297 and his own career average mark of .299.
Holland has been a touch wild, with an 11.5 percent walk rate, despite a career best 74.4 percent first pitch strike percentage. To his credit, as he’s gotten ahead in counts, Holland has struck out 25.6 percent of batters, a strong mark just above the league average for relievers.
Holland has been on the injured list since June 10th with shoulder inflammation. It was his second stint on the IL so far this season. Formerly of the Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Giants and Pirates, the journeyman joined the Tigers on a minor league deal this offseason and made the team out of spring training.