For me, the big takeaway was that this puts the emphasis on the theory that Manaea was already in the midst of his breakout season. I had actually mentioned.
As things stand now, Manaea has made five starts this season. He's worked at least seven innings four times. He's allowed more than one run once, when he coughed up two. He hasn't allowed more than two walks in a game. He's only allowed more than four hits once. The overall numbers are amazing ...
Manaea is 3-2 with a 1.23 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 30 strikeouts, six walks and only 16 hits allowed in 36 2/3 innings. He leads the majors in innings pitched and paces the AL with just 3.9 hits per nine innings. Sure, some of that is skewed by throwing a no-hitter in April, but he had a 1.63 ERA with while holding hitters to a .168/.210/.305 line through four starts; before his no-hitter.
Manaea has long had this kind of talent. He was drafted by the Royals as the 34th overall pick in 2013 out of Indiana State. He was ranked as high as 45th as a prospect (by Baseball Prospectus) when he was in the minors and the Royals dealt him while pushing for a 2015 World Series title for Ben Zobrist. This is a player who was highly-regarded at every turn.
He showed flashes last year of his talent. Manaea had three starts of at least six innings with no runs allowed. He actually had one start with no hits allowed through five innings, but he needed 98 pitches to get through it as he walked five. It pretty well illustrates that his problem last season was consistency. He's always had good stuff.
The stuff was on display Saturday night, just as it has been throughout April this season. Manaea isn't really doing anything different on the mound in terms of velocity or pitch selection. He's just commanding his pitches better and staying more consistent. Given his age and experience level, this is exactly what a breakout season looks like. The no-hitter was just the tip of the iceberg. He was already breaking out, as I pointed out last Sunday. Now it's a national story, thanks to the no-no.