Q&A with Tigers prospect Matt Manning

Q&A with Tigers prospect Matt Manning

As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Tigers camp, it was No. 1 prospect Matt Manning (MLBPipeline.com's No. 74 overall prospect).

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Matt Manning was the Tigers' top pick in the 2016 Draft, going ninth overall and signing for $3.5 million. The 19-year-old right-hander impressed during his professional debut in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, posting a 3.99 ERA with 46 strikeouts and just seven walks in 29 1/3 innings while making 10 starts.

MLBPipeline.com: Where were you/what were you doing when you learned that the Tigers had taken you with the No. 9 overall pick?

• Tigers' Top 30 Prospects list

Manning: I was at home back in California with my friends, family and coaches, just having a get-together for the Draft. I knew there was a good chance the Tigers would take me if it all worked out like we projected it would, and I could feel it kind of playing out that way as it happened. It was really exciting.

MLBPipeline.com: As the son of a former NBA player (Rich Manning), what were those pick-up games like growing up?

Manning: Actually, it was more me and my older brother playing, because he's more my age, about 2-3 years older than me. He's about 6-foot-6, too. I was a little shorter for a while, but by my junior and senior year I started to get the better of him. My dad had surgeries, so he'd more sit and watch and urge us on. It was always fun.

MLBPipeline.com: With March Madness now underway, does it make you think about what your basketball career might have been like?

Manning: I don't regret anything and am very happy with the decision I made. Seeing the tournament going on right now has been exciting, especially seeing all of these teams and the coaches who recruited me to play. It's fun to watch, but I definitely like where I'm at now.

MLBPipeline.com: What was the transition from high school to the Rookie Gulf Coast League like for you last summer?

Manning: It was tough, but I was really excited by it. I got hit around a little bit in my first game, but I remember going home and telling my friends and family just how fun and exciting it was to pitch all three innings against some of the better players around here.

Tigers Spring Training report

MLBPipeline.com: What has been your biggest developmental focus this spring?

Manning: Cleaning up my delivery a little bit and making it more consistent so I can be more consistent in the zone and throw more strikes. I want to have all three of my pitches there to throw for strikes when I need them, and that starts with brushing up my mechanics. I've been trying to work in my changeup when possible in bullpens and against left-handed hitters.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.