Manning Was Dominant Against Lefties
"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Yankees' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Charlie Manning, we'll look how he did against the right-handed hitters versus the lefty hitters, how he pitched on the road versus at home, and more.
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Trenton Veteran: Left-handed pitcher Charlie Manning, originally drafted by the Yankees in the 9th round of the 2001 MLB Draft and later sent to the Reds as part of the Aaron Boone deal, found his way back to the Yankees in the summer of 2004. 2005 was his third straight season pitching in Trenton for the Thunder and his fourth year overall (remember, Norwich was the Yankees' AA affliate back in 2002) at the AA level. Despite pitching in seven games for the Columbus Clippers this past season, we'll focus on Manning's time with Trenton for the purposes of this article.
Future Lefty Specialist? Judging from his splits this past season, Manning is more than effective against both right-handed and left-handed hitters. Righties hit .273 off of him in 2005, a more than acceptable number considering the traditional baseball splits. However, Eastern League left-handed batters hit a pathetic .151 against him, clear evidence that Manning could eventually be very successful as future left-handed specialist out of the bullpen.
Lets Get Two: While right-handed batters hit 122 points better off of him than lefties, Manning was very effective at inducing ground balls off right-handed batters, giving his team the best chance at a possible double-play. Manning's ground-ball to fly-ball out ratio against right-handed batters was exactly two to one this past season, which was the exact opposite against left-handed batters (close to 2-1 fly-ball to ground-ball ratio).
While it is true that right-handed batters hit him with more frequency, it was arguably a blessing in disguise at times.
Waterfront Warrior: Charlie Manning, despite posting almost exact splits in opponents' batting averages at home (.233) as on the road (.236) in 2005, was inexplicably more effective at Waterfront Park. Manning, who sported a 3.95 ERA away from Waterfront Park, allowed twice as many earned runs on the road as he did at home (2.53).
Not A Storybook Ending: If there was a downside to Manning's 2005 season with the Trenton Thunder, it was his rather lackluster finish. Manning posted a 5.40 ERA in his final 14 appearances in the Eastern League this past season, which was almost four full earned runs higher than his previous 16 appearances (1.69 ERA).
In fact, Manning's ERA stood at 2.55 entering the month of August, a number which would have seriously opened some eyes in the Bronx when comtemplating their roles for the Yankees' bullpen heading into 2006.
Just Call Him Clutch: Charlie Manning was a very effective reliever with the Trenton Thunder in 2005. Judging by his overall numbers - 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA - it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that out. But what his overall numbers don't divulge was just how money Manning was in the clutch situations this past season.
Opposing Eastern League batters hit for a higher average off of him with nobody on base, .242 to be exact. But with runners on base, opponents batted just .225 off of him. While that was a good sign for a reliever, his success in the most dire of circumstances was quite remarkable.
Manning limited batters to just a .153 average with runners in scoring position, almost 90 full points than when the bases were empty. And with runners in scoring position and with two outs, opposing teams didn't have a prayer with Manning on the mound as he held them to a .125 batting average in those situations.
Combining his great deal of success against left-handed batters and his bullish approach with runners in scoring position, Manning has an excellent opportunity to become a left-handed specialist with the Yankees.
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