Left-hander Sean Manaea, considered to be the Oakland Athletics No. 3 prospect, has done nothing but impress since being added to the A's Double-A affiliate Midland RockHounds roster earlier this summer.
He was the main piece in the return the A's received for Ben Zobrist in a pre-July 31 trade with the Kansas City Royals, and the A's have to be pleased with his progress.
As MLB.com's Mike Rosenbaum pointed out, Manaea's quick success with Midland was evident on Thursday night, when he threw six dominant innings and struck out 13 batters. The 23-year-old has gone 6-0 since joining the RockHounds, posting a 1.90 ERA and a strong 51:15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in more than 40 innings of work.
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Here's some video of Manaea's dominance from Thursday:
Considering how he's already blazing through the A's minor-league system, it doesn't seem far-fetched to imagine Manaea being a factor for Oakland sometime in the 2016 season. A first-round pick by the Royals in the 2014 Draft, Manaea's role in the organization fits in with general manager Billy Beane's declaration that the A's 'need more young players' in the minors.
If he's able to keep maturing at this pace and stay away from the pesky disabled list, it's easy to imagine Manaea being promoted and making a difference for the 2016 A's. If that happens, the Zobrist trade might turn out to be a coup for the Green and Gold.