The Close Second: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
West Virginia right-hander Alek Manoah has been connected with the Giants for a while, with Baseball America mocking him to San Francisco early in the season.
The 6’6″, 260-pound right-hander has emerged as the ace of the Mountaineers staff this spring after a dominant turn in the Cape Cod League last fall. He posted a 2.70 ERA and 0.79 WHIP with 48 strikeouts in 33.1 innings against some of the best hitters in college baseball.
Manoah has two plus-plus pitches; a power fastball and a power slider. That profile often comes with significant reliever risk, and developing a third reliable pitch will be important if he hopes to stick as a starter.
He’s not very athletic, and he decided to only pitch from the stretch this season. While that helped with his control (2.1 BB/9), it makes the bullpen an even more likely outcome.
Normally a pitcher with his profile would fall towards the end of the first round, but he’s held his velocity and control deep into starts, and some scouts have slapped a 65-grade on both of his primary offerings. That might be good enough to be a mid-rotation arm even with a mediocre third pitch.
Manoah is ranked as a top 10 draft prospect by both FanGraphs and Perfect Game, while Baseball America slots him at No. 13 on their big board.