- Rating: 6.74
- 2022 stats: 69 G, 60.0 IP, 2.85 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 1.083 WHIP, 10.17 SO/BB, 243 ERA+, also: 22 H, 2-5 W/L, 2 S, 6 BS.
- Date of birth: March 1, 1991 (31 years old)
- 2022 earnings: $717,000 (via Spotrac)
- 2023 status: On 40-man roster, Pre-Arb eligible (arbitration eligible in 2024, free agent in 2027). 3 MiLB options remaining.
Let’s start this player review with a game of “find the differences”:
I am not sure how many differences you found, but these were probably easy to find:
- The first picture is from October 2020, the second one from July 2022.
- The Joe Mantiply in the first picture is DFAd, the Joe Mantiply in the second one is heading to an All-Star game.
The last difference is probably tougher and one you won’t find at first sight:
- The Joe Mantiply in the second picture is a much better pitcher than the Joe Mantiply in the first picture.
It was not that long ago when we had comments on this site like:
- “I keep wanting to call him Multiply” - Rockkstarr12
- “The only thing multiplying is baserunners” - Jack Sommers
- “Get this clown act out of there.” - AzDbackfanInDc
- “That’s what a career 10.57 ERA looks like.” - Snake_Bitten
Mantiply was DFAd by the end of the shortened season but stayed in the organisation. He started in Reno in 2021 but was called up to the major leagues in May 2021, with a much improved version of himself and with some projection, like Jack Sommers pointed out:
“With few other organizational options and barring injury or a catastrophic spring training, expect Joe Mantiply to be a key part of the Diamondbacks bullpen in 2022. If he can reduce the number of location mistakes, he could continue or even improve upon his 2021 success.” - Jack Sommers in his 2021 review on Joe Mantiply
Joe Mantiply’s walk-up song (Dierks Bentley - Burning Man) pretty much explains both his career until now and his 2021 and 2022 season: at times he looks great and sometimes he is not even close to being in the right direction.
In last year’s review Jack already pointed out that Mantiply would have stretches of good pitching and then some outings where he’d give up several runs. That trend continued in 2022, albeit with a rather different stretch: from the beginning of the season until the All-Star break Mantiply was the sole star on what was a rather mediocre team.
The lefty gave up just 1 run and 1 walk until the end of June, when media, like the AZSnakePit, started to mention him as the only possible representative for the Diamondbacks on the MLB All-Star team.
Once that news started to appear, Mantiply started to make a case against him as in the following 10 outings until the All-Star break he gave up 8 runs, of which 3 homeruns, although still keeping the walks in check.
After the All-Star break he once again settled in for about a month until he encountered another difficult stretch until the end of the season.
The success of Joe Mantiply in 2022 was explained in a great article from Michael McDermott on here in the beginning of June while Jack Sommers in his 2021 review also explained the caveat in his possible success: his sinker that gets hard hit from time to time because of inferior location.
It is of no surprise that the effectiveness of his location in 2022 contributed to his success. The importance of it can be seen in the heat maps of star calibre pitchers like Jacob DeGrom or Justin Verlander, but also in the insane high-precision success of Chris Martin during his 2022 time on the Dodgers.
In the 2022 pitching heat maps of Mantiply you can observe beautifully how consistent Mantiply was in the location of his pitches (a terrific 71% strike percentage) and you can even better see how it changed from 2021 to 2022.
This has cemented Mantiply’s name in our 2023 bullpen as the main lefty reliever.
What is still in the game for Joe Mantiply? The biggest question now is can Joe Mantiply become a go-to reliever as either a set-up man or maybe even closer or a lefty to be deployed in whatever high-leverage relief situation?
Mantiply can be deployed against both right- and left-handed batters. In 2022 righties slugged more against Mantiply, but lefties had a better on-base percentage (although still below-average). His home- and away-splits were also much more in balance. Those are all great observations for Torey Lovullo as it indicates he can use Mantiply against whoever he wants.
But there is some food for thought: Mantiply had 5 losses in 2022 and 6 blown saves, of which 1 loss and blown save were combined in the same outing.
The average leverage index Joe Mantiply pitched in was 1.51 over the whole season, which was 4th highest after Ian Kennedy, Mark Melancon and Reyes Moronta. That certainly shows the Diamondbacks want to deploy him in high leverage situations. but Mantiply let 46% of inherited runners score and those 16 batters that crossed home plate more or less put him into the lower ranks of the relief pitchers that face high leverage situations.
If Mantiply is able to keep his nerves when deployed in those situations, he could become some kind of a Brad Ziegler-kind of pitcher, but right now he looks more of a set-up or possible closer type: the fireman who keeps everything wet, but not the hero who enters the burning house.