ARLINGTON, Texas — The form that Sean Manaea showed Thursday was the left-hander at his best, carving through the Rangers’ lineup in his final start of 2017.
However, there’s also value in struggle. And Manaea learned plenty as he floundered through a particularly rough stretch in the season’s second half.
His fastball lost its zip for a while, which Manaea attributes to the 25 pounds he lost over roughly a two-month stretch. It was an after-effect of the medication he was taking after being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in spring training.
“We were trying to dial in the dosage. It took a couple months,” he said. “The stuff I’m on right now definitely helped. The dosage I was on before, I took like two bites and I’d be full. It was bad.”
Manaea says he had a hunch that he was dealing with ADD before his diagnosis. A's trainers suggested last year that he get tested for it during the offseason. But after he began taking medication for it this season, Manaea’s 6-foot-5 frame kept getting slimmer. And not in a good way. With his medication now under control, and the knowledge of his first full major league season under his belt, the 25-year-old lefty thinks he’ll come back stronger next season.
He had it all together Thursday at Globe Life Park, limiting Texas to just an unearned run and three hits over 6 2/3 innings as the A’s won 4-1, their seventh consecutive victory over the Rangers.
“That’s finishing on a strong note for a guy that was really grinding toward the end,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Manaea weighs about 230 pounds right now. The mission next year will be finding a way to maintain a higher weight throughout the entire season. He posted a 9.17 ERA in August, when his fastball often dipped below 90 miles per hour, and the thought is keeping weight on will help him keep his velocity up.
“I feel like I can add a little more muscle,” he said. “To be around 240, 245 would be ideal — 255 is a little too heavy and 230 is not enough.”
His catcher, Bruce Maxwell, said Manaea is nasty when he’s got all three of his pitches working.
“He’s definitely a front-runner in our rotation, especially with the power of the fastball, its deception, and mixing speeds with his good changeup and good slider,” Maxwell said. “I feel like he could step on the mound and beat anybody.”