D-backs’ Brent Strom thinks LHP Joe Mantiply is top candidate for All-Star Game
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks left-handed reliever Joe Mantiply has raced to a stellar start halfway through the season and pitching coach Brent Strom thinks he is one of the top candidates this season to represent the team at the MLB All-Star Game.
The MLB requires at least one representative from each team and with a 37-44 record, Mantiply has an opportunity to be the lone selection from Arizona.
The lefty has posted 1.13 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and just four earned run in 33 games, the second most appearances of any pitcher on the team.
“He has a really good feel for speeds,” Strom told reporters on Wednesday. “His command is his No. 1 thing. He’s fearless… He does not default to the fast ball in key situations.”
“We have a couple of candidates for that All-Star Game and I think he is one of the top candidates. Nothing would please me more to see him get selected.”
Mantiply had given up only one run on the season before giving up a three run home run to the Detroit Tigers, something that stuck with Mantiply because it was a team that had DFA’d the lefty in the past, Strom said.
Strom spoke to Mantiply’s effectiveness as a left-handed pitcher against right-handed batter as well as left-handed, a trait not always common in the majors.
Batters are hitting .220 against the lefty, a .254 slugging percentage and .494 OPS. He also has a career high 27.3% strikeout rate this season.
And counting. 😉 pic.twitter.com/aPkQMvbboj
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 7, 2022
Strom told the media on Wednesday that when analyzing youth in Triple-A Reno and Double-A Amarillo, the team does not directly pay attention to the ERA but rather he and the analytics team run a different way to compare talent.
“The ability to throw something other than the fastball when you’re behind in the count, something off-speed,” Strom said.
“These major league hitters really hunt. With blood in the water they’re like sharks. When they sense a young guy that can not throw something off-speed over the plate, they really start to hunt the fastball.”
Catch Merrill Kelly and the D-backs go for the sweep against the San Francisco Giants at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.