Giants Offseason Signing Shows Drastically Improved Velocity In Spring Debut

The San Francisco Giants made a significant bet on left-handed starting pitcher Sean Manaea this offseason, signing him to a two-year, $25 million contract with an opt-out after the 2023 season.

The club had reason to feel confident in Manaea after his impressive debut in a Giants uniform during spring training. In the outing against the Cincinnati Reds, Manaea allowed only one run on three hits with two strikeouts.

The most significant aspect of Manaea's performance, however, was his improved velocity.

He showed an uptick in velocity on his sinker, a pitch that has consistently sat between 90-92 mph throughout his career. During his first official outing of the year, Manaea said his fastball was clocked between 93-96 mph, up from the 88-90 mph range at this point last year.

This increase in velocity can be attributed to Manaea's offseason training at Driveline he said, a baseball training facility known for its focus on advanced data and technology.

While Manaea has never been known for his velocity, his ability to hold mid-90s velocity throughout the 2023 season could signal the potential for a bounce-back year. Over his career, he has posted a 4.06 ERA in nearly 900 innings pitched.

He struggled in his lone season with the San Diego Padres in 2022, recording a career-worst 4.96 ERA in 30 appearances, including 28 starts.

Despite this, advanced metrics suggest that Manaea suffered from some bad luck, and his xERA, FIP, and xFIP were all significantly lower than his ERA.

Overall, if Manaea is able to maintain his newfound velocity throughout the 2023 season, he could be in for a bounce-back year.

The Giants, who have a high degree of injury risk in their starting rotation, need a durable arm like Manaea to remain competitive. While his role on the team is still uncertain, if Manaea continues to perform well, it will be tough to keep him out of the starting rotation. 

 Photo Credit:  Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK