The Oakland Athletics will call up top pitching prospect Sean Manaea to make Friday's start against the Houston Astros at the Oakland Coliseum, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Peak buzz around Manaea's call up started when Jim Nohos, Manaea's high school pitching coach at Andrean High School in Merrilville, Indiana, tweeted:
Congrats to Sean Manaea for achieving your dream! So proud of you!— Jim nohos (@jnohos) April 27, 2016
The left-handed Manaea, 24, had a 1.50 ERA in three starts for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, striking out 21 and walking four while giving up one home run in 18 innings.
Jesse Hahn, the other option to start Friday, is dealing with a blister issue, according to Slusser. Hahn was initially sent to Triple-A after an extremely poor spring training where he had difficulty demonstrating command. While he has had some good starts with Nashville he has walked nine batters in 18 2/3 innings. Hahn has a 2.04 ERA over four starts (two shortened due to weather disruptions) and has struck out 13 batters.
The A's will have to make a 40-man roster move to add Manaea to the roster. Eric Sogard is a likely candidate to be transferred to the 60-day disabled list (knee surgery). Matt McBride, called up to the active roster on Wednesday as the third catcher, seems to be the main candidate to return to Nashville.
How long will Manaea stay?
As far as the next few weeks are concerned, whether this is anything more than a spot start for Manaea may depend on how well he performs on Friday. It may very well have been the case that Hahn was favored over Manaea to start, but now that Manaea will be with Oakland, it's his spot to lose.
If Manaea beats out Hahn, the next hurdle for Manaea to stay in the rotation comes down to how well he's doing compared to the rest of the rotation by the time Henderson Alvarez completes his rehabilitation assignment between mid-May and early June. Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman both own an ERA over 4.00.
Bassitt's velocity was down in his start last Saturday in Toronto, where he gave up six runs in five innings to bring his ERA ro 4.44. He's had some trouble staying away from the base-on-balls, with five allowed on April 10 combined with two in each of his other three starts to bring him to 11 on the year in 24 1/3 innings.
Graveman pitched well in his first three starts, but gave up three home runs to the Detroit Tigers and just about doubled his ERA to 4.03. They were the Tigers you would expect to hit home runs, however, with two coming off the bat of Miguel Cabrera and one from Victor Martinez.
Essentially the question is, as Jason Wojciechowski puts it, whether "Manaea [goes] all 1999 Tim Hudson and essentially [forces] the team to leave him in Oakland." While that would probably make him a Super Two arbitration player after the 2018 season, you can safely classify that potential problem as a nice one to have.
(H/T to Mike Huberman on Twitter for tipping me off on the Manaea buzz)