Is Tommy Manzella the next Adam Everett?
Is Tommy Manzella the next Adam Everett? This won’t be the first or the last time the two men have been/will be lumped into the same all-field, little-hit category. The Astros are hoping Manzella has a lot of Everett in him, meaning he’ll make all the plays at shortstop and shore up the defense. But they also hope he makes more strides offensively, too.
Everett, whom the Astros acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox in 1998, played seven seasons in Houston and was a key starter on the 2004 team that became the first Astros club to win a playoff series and the 2005 World Series team. He hit .248 with 35 homers in those seven seasons in Houston, but his master glove work made up for any offensive shortcomings.
Manzella, a third-round pick in 2005 out of Tulane, is of a similar mold. He’s bigger than Everett, but has been a Major League-ready shortstop for at least a few years. He’s a career .268 hitter with 21 homers and 205 RBIs in 521 Minor League games (Everett was a career .258 hitter with 23 homers and 164 RBIs in 472 Minor League games).
Last year at Triple-A Round Rock, Manzella hit .289 with nine homers and 56 RBIs. He was called up at the end of the season, but basically spent the whole season in Round Rock after splitting 2008 between Round Rock and Double-A Corpus Christi and 2007 between Corpus Christi and Class A Salem. His offense has improved each year, hitting .289 at Corpus Christi in 2007 and .299 in 2008. He hit .219 at Round Rock in 2008 and .289 in 2009.
Everett reached the big leagues at the age of 24 in 2001 and played in only nine games. He was handed the starting shortstop job on Opening Day in 2002, but spent most of the season in Triple-A New Orleans. He didn’t play a full year in Houston until the 2004 season when he was 27.
Manzella will turn 27 shortly after Opening Day and is getting his first real shot at the Majors a little later than Everett got his. Manzella knows his offense is the key to how long he sticks in the Majors, but the Astros certainly are believers in his future considering they tabbed him as their starting shortstop months ago.
Sure, the Astros could have went out and signed a free-agent shortstop once they walked away from Miguel Tejada, but they felt they could spend money wiser elsewhere and be in good hands with Manzella.
Time will only tell how Manzella winds up stacking up against Everett, but he appears a little further along offensively than Everett. This much is for sure: it should be a treat watching him play shortstop when the season starts.