Originally published by Dodgers Nation on June 22, 2019.
After hitting no more than 8 home runs in a single season and 2 in his first professional season, Devin Mann has busted out with 12 home runs at the All-Star break. This is Mann’s first season with the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and he’s making a name for himself. From a little known 5th round draftee in 2018 to getting a nice write up in Baseball America it looks live Mann will be well known soon.
All Star Game Interview
Born (in 1997) and raised in Columbus, Indiana Mann attended Louisville from 2016 through his Junior year in 2018. He left school after being drafted by the Dodgers in the 5th round in 2018 and signed for a $272,500 bonus. Despite being 6′ 3″ he was drafted as a second baseman.
With the 164th selection (5th Round) in the 2018 #MLBDraft, the @Dodgers select @UofLBaseball INF Devin Mann (@devinmann444).
👏 Congrats Devin! #L1C4 #ProCards pic.twitter.com/BNkxdikqFu
— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) June 5, 2018
Mann only played two games in Rookie ball before he was quickly promoted to the Great Lakes Loons in Low-A. He played some first base but most of the time was spent at second base. His first professional season ended with him slashing .240/.348/.332 (AVG/OBP/SLG), spending most of the season at a higher level than expected. The numbers seem a bit low but that can happen when a player is pushed. The real test comes in the next season.
Ready For 2019
For the 2019 season it would not have been surprising to see him start the season with the Loons again but something happened to Mann during the off-season. He made some impactful changes to his swing. I was able to ask him about what he did in the off-season to add extra power.
“I worked in LA with Craig (Wallenbrock) and worked on my lower half positioning and then my bat path as well. (I’m) trying to use all my levers correctly and just keep on making changes and keep making changes as we go.”
Right out of Spring Training Devin Mann was called on to start the season with the High-A Quakes. Basically, this puts him on the fast track as it puts him a year ahead of a lot of other 2018 draftees. Not only that but they also started playing him at third base. Before one of his first starts at third I asked him if he’d worked out their much and he said “not really.” So, Mann starts the season in an advanced league and is learning a new position.
Playing 3rd Base
Up to the All-Star break Mann has started 34 games at his natural second base position with 26 starts at third. There have been some rocky moments at third with a fielding percentage under .900. However, that has not impacted his play at second as his fielding percentage is over .960. I asked him about how he felt about the transition to third base.
“It’s been going well. Elían (Herrera), our fielding coach, has been doing a lot of work with me there. It’s been a great transition with some bumps in the road… but I’m really comfortable over there.”
The versatility he is displaying can only help as he moves through the system. Any follower of the Dodgers know that they value versatility a lot. At some point in the future, there will be an opening at third base and Mann could have a spot there some day.
Displaying The Power
“When I was at Louisville I was a very reserved hitter,” Mann said. “I didn’t really use my body well, use my levers well. Then, when I got drafted with the Dodgers, we made a lot of changes with my lower half and bat path, just making sure I was tapped into all the power that I have and making sure I’m staying through the zone better. It’s paid off so far. I’m happy with the changes we’ve made.” – from Baseball America
Many of the Dodgers’ top prospects are left-handed hitters and Mann bats right-handed. Someday it will need to balance out a bit and the timing for Devin Mann could be perfect. He’s displaying some newly unlocked power and is learning to play third base. It just so happens that Justin Turner‘s contract ends at the end of next year so a spot could be open at third base for somebody. At a minimum, his power and versatility will give him opportunities others won’t get. Even though he hasn’t made any top prospect lists yet, that will change soon.
I fully expect him to be in the top 30 for the MLB Pipeline Dodgers prospect list once they make their mid-season updates. For his efforts he was named to the California League All-Star Game.