With the 13th round pick in the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft, the New York Mets selected Erik Manoah, an 18-year-old RHP from South Dade high school in Homestead, Florida. Manoah comes in at 6’2, 210 pounds, with a fastball in the 89-92 MPH range.
The young right-hander has been playing baseball since the age of 3, but did not start pitching until his sophomore year in high school. “I played middle infield all my life until my sophomore year,” Manoah explained. “My coaches told me I was too slow at shortstop but I had a good arm. My junior year I stepped onto the mound in a fall game and popped a 92 mph fastball. At that point I told myself I was going to work at pitching to become the best I can be.” The Mets are glad he made the switch, and liked what they saw in his three short years on the mound.
Manoah earned himself a college scholarship but noted, “that’s not what I want to settle for,” and settle he did not. “My senior year I had plenty of chances to prove to MLB scouts that I was draft material and that’s exactly what I did. Now I’m playing for the Mets and my dream came true,” Manoah said. He also understands this is the first step in a long process… “It’s a long road to success, and I’m willing to complete!”
A mixed feeling of nerves and excitement was how the Miami born pitcher described himself leading up to the draft. “I told myself I wasn’t going to be disappointed if I didn’t get drafted cause either way I still had division 1 baseball.” The dedicated ballplayer that he is, Manoah was actually playing baseball the day he got drafted. “I was on deck so I gave my phone to my teammate and told him to answer any call I had. I hit a double and when I got to second base my teammates started jumping and screaming telling me I had a call from the Mets!” Once I got back to the dugout, after the inning ended of course, Manoah got in contact with the Mets. “They told me congratulations that I was drafted in the 13th round and I got really emotional. My dream turned into reality and that was the best day of my life.”
Manoah was quick to point out he could not be in this position without his biggest supporter, his mother. He also credited his coaches for all of their help. “My mother sacrificed so much of her time, coming to all my games and being by my side even if I had a bad outing. I also want to recognize my coaches as well for keeping me healthy and making me not only a better player, but also a better person!”
Manoah compares his mental game to Jose Fernandez. “He’s a competitor and plays with heart and intensity. He is cocky and doesn’t fear any opponent.” Manoah understands this is just the beginning of the road, but explained that he wants to get stronger and become more of a student of the game in his first year of professional baseball. He explained, “My goal is to go out there and throw strikes and get people out! I’m not trying to light up the gun or overthrow, just locate my pitches and keep the ball down and I know I will be successful.”
Manoah is definitely someone Mets fan should pay close attention to as he begins his professional journey. Besides the tremendous upside that scouts have described for Manoah, he also comes with the mentality every Mets fan enjoys. When asked what he wants fans to know about him, he couldn’t have answered better. “I want them to know that I’m a young kid who plays with a purpose! A lot of people have doubted me and told me I wasn’t good enough to make it to the big leagues or even play college baseball. I play my heart out and I always appreciate the support from fans!”
Manoah has reported to Gulf Coast League, and has appeared in 1 game, pitching 1 inning giving up just 1 hit.
This is just the first chapter for Erik Manoah, but the Mets definitely selected a class act with their 13th round pick. NY Mets Life would like to thank Manoah for sitting down for this exclusive interview and we wish him the best of luck in the future. You can follow Erik on Twitter: @Erikjr_05.