Q&A with Mizzou Commit RHP Luke Mann (Vianney, 2018)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

Luke Mann (Vianney, 2018) has committed to play baseball at the University of Missouri.  The 6-foot-2 200-pound right-handed pitcher attended the PBR Future Games and the Area Code Games, after an impressive showing at the Missouri Underclass Games in June. 

Mann had a solid two-inning outing at the Future Games, working mostly off his 84-87 mph fastball. He also flashed a 68-69 mph breaking ball, fanning three batters in two innings. 

Mann has a high-three quarters arm slot,  with a simple and repeatable delivery. His fastball tops at 88 mph, with cutting action.  He will also work a 2-seam fastball inside to right-handed hitters.  Man has a sharp, late breaking 11-to-5 curveball, and sharp 75 mph slider.  He is a strike thrower with all pitches. 

Last spring, Mann posted a 6-1 record for the Griffins, matching his record on the mound as a freshman, making him 12-2 during his high school career.  He led Vianney to a 24-12 record in 2016, fanning 56 hitters in 48.2 innings pitched.  Mann allowed just three earned runs and finished with a 0.43 ERA as a sophomore. 

Below is a look into the recruiting process for Luke Mann. 

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Mann: My expectations for the process was not much different than expected. I knew that it would mainly be communication through the mail and online, but did not expect the majority of coaches telling me to call them came through talking to my coaches. That definitely made it a lot less of a “frightening” process. There were so many people willing to help and wanting this for me as well.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Mann: Location did end up playing a part in my decision. I had always pictured myself going far away for school and playing on a coast. In the event of either playing tournaments or looking at schools that were that far from home, i realized that not only would i be so far from home but my family would also be so far from me. I wanted to go somewhere where my family would be able to see me play when they wanted to.

PBR: Where did Missouri first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Mann: Missouri first saw me Freshman year’s summer while i was participating in the 15U USA team trials in North Carolina. On my way home from the trip, I received an invite to a camp and from then on stayed in contact with both the old and new coaching staff. I went on a visit with both sets of coaches and also was able to see the coaches at some of my games and at a few events i attended.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Mann: The best player that I have faced in Missouri would have to be Erik Miller from Desmet High School. I we faced off on the bump in the middle of high school season my sophomore year and he was dominant. Although he did not have his best stuff that day, he was still able to manipulate hitters up and down the line up. He only allowed two hits on the game.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Mann: Don’t wait to be the best you can be. Sitting around and wishing does not get you anywhere. If you truly want it, you have to be willing to sacrifice other things to get it. Always go 100% and then some, you never know who’s watching, on and off of the field.

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season?

Mann: For me the offseason is about cleaning up flaws from the previous season as well as watching guys at the next levels, trying to pick up new things. St. John Vianney High School is great with how we run the off season workout program and it shows in how we play. I try my best to not only try to stay ahead physically but even more mentally. A lot of this comes from truly watching and studying major leaguers and how they go about their games.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Mann: The best moment of my career so far would be when I played at Holly Springs in North Carolina with the 15U USA 40 man team. I came in the game in relief in the 6th inning in the second last game of the week. We were under the lights and this was the game to take the week long series. In my last inning on the mound, before stepping on the rubber for the last time there, I just looked around. Up until this point, i never actually realized what i was doing. I was on the mound, surrounded by the best of the best of my age group and i was in the middle of it. It jolted me with a rush of energy, passion, and joy and i won’t forget that feeling for a long time.  

PBR: What do you like most about Missouri and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Mann: What I love most about The University of Missouri is the environment both academic and baseball, as well as the coaching staff. From when I was a little kid, I loved being on campus and going to Mizzou for a game would make my month. Growing up with that feeling and now knowing I will soon get that feeling everyday for four years is exciting. I and also psyched for the new coaching staff to grow in the program. I have been to the  campus prior to them arriving and felt “iffy” that i truly wanted to go there but upon meeting them, my decision was clear.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Mann: I was talking heavily with Missouri State and Oklahoma State. I talked to Arizona, Illinois, Washington, and Arkansas but was not able to go on visits to check them out.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Mann: It really began to boost after the PBR Future games in Indiana and also when i got home from the New Balance Underclass Area Code Games in Long Beach. Both of the events had the most scouts in a single place that i had seen to that point. I performed well at both and the next few days was getting emails from schools and also texts from my coach to call other coaches.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Mann: We lost many seniors last season including a core C and SS who had played on varsity since freshman/sophomore year. I feel that we have the talent to be just as good if not better. It all comes down to how we play as a unit and how new guys step up to the challenge that was set forth by the players prior to them. Main goal consists of many small goals. Win our conference, win our district, win the sectional, win the Final Four game, Win State. If you have the mindset of only one large goal at the end, you tend to let the games before take advantage of you. You cannot obtain the last one without first getting the ones before.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Mann: I play for The St. Louis Naturals Organization. We play a few tournaments in town but are mainly traveling the rest of the season. My favorite memory with them is basically the entire season last year. We grew on and off of the field and really created that bond of a family more than a team. We were willing to do whatever it took to help out the rest of the guys, even if that meant sacrificing personal success.

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