Rise Prospect Kyle Manzardo keeps mashing

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Manzardo He was one of the top hitters in the palace this year. Of the players who have appeared in at least 300 board games, the San Francisco Giants are the only potential Fawn Brown wRC+ scored higher (175 compared to 173) or wOBA (.464 compared to .450). Manzardo, the first 22-year-old police officer in the Tampa Bay Rays system, put his numbers above 397 PA, a hamstring injury that kept him out of action from mid-April through mid-May. Playing with High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery, he made 327/.426/.617 cuts combined with 22 hits.

Manzardo began honing his batting skills in a case that only produced 32 of the major leagues. Born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound left-footed hitter went on to play college ball at Washington State University, where he did what he does best: squaring baseballs. In his three years with the Cougars, Manzardo fought .330 with an OPS north of 1.000. His continuation to the back end of the second round of last year’s draft was predictable and unexpected.

“I was a bit surprised it was Ray,” admitted Manzardo, who finished 63rd overall. “I didn’t have a lot of contact with them, even though I had a Zoom meeting right before the draft. I was kind of expecting to go near the end of the third round. That’s kind of what I was hearing.”

Three years ago, Manzardo heard from exactly one team. An area explorer from the San Francisco Giants contacted him in high school, but nothing came of the conversation. It wasn’t until Punishment of Pac-12 shooters began to gain attention, but even then his profile included a warning. As the beautiful swing young man admitted, “When you recruit your first baseman, you’re kind of on the bat.”

But again, the ability to wake up was always there. Moreover, she has confidence. When asked if he thought he could put up such flashy numbers in his first full professional season, Manzardo said he did. He did it in college and in 13 games of the Florida Complex League last summer, so why not? It’s not a matter of arrogance – Manzardo seems humble – but when everything you’ve done is hit, well, you expect to be hit.

The Lake City High School producer referred to his background when asked about his typical bat skills.

“It was a lot of practice and repetition,” explained Manzardo, whose travel ball experience included summers with Spokane Expos and a small number of select tournaments. “Being from Northern Idaho, there was no glove work during the winter, everything was cage-beating. At some point in my life, I realized baseball was what I really wanted to do, so I sold everything I had to be a good hitter as much as I could. possible.”

Its strokes are designed to propel balls over gaps. Manzardo described his swing as simple and repeatable with a flat racket trajectory, adding that he likes to get his foot off early to see the ball as long as possible. From there he wants it to be “short and direct, and works inside baseball.” And while he has the ability to clear fences—22 of his followers have been linked to number three in the Tampa Bay system—he’s not exactly a Statcast darling. When Eric Longenhagen put together Rice’s list of the best prospects Before the season started, he wrote that Manzardo “had among the highest average exit speeds in college baseball at a whopping 98 mph, although that came with top exit speeds of 40 degrees.”

“I’d say it’s the same story now,” admitted Manzardo, whose disciplined approach has led to him walking nearly 59 times as well as hitting him (63) this year. “I haven’t hit any balls more than 110 [mph], though I hit about 105 to 107. I think that’s how the swing is mechanically set up; It’s not designed for big pop or a lot of high-altitude exits. I’m mostly just trying to be on time and get the ball rolling in the barrels.”

He is also seeking to join a select company. Harmon Kelibro He is by far the greatest Idaho-born player in major league history, and while others have made their mark – Larry JacksonAnd the Vance’s LawAnd the Fern LowAnd the Jason Schmidt Noteworthy – only Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming produced fewer large leagues. The number of players drafted each year from The Gem State is still huge.

“I think there might be four or five of us in pro baseball now, so it’s a very small group,” Manzardo said. “A lot of my teammates have told me since I got into pro football a year and a half ago that they’ve never met anyone from Idaho. I feel like I’m kind of represented by Idaho in the Rice organization.”

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