A Superb Start to 2022 for Alek Manoah, the Makings of an Ace

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A superb start to 2022 for Alek Manoah is great to witness. Sure, the season is still early, but the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher has looked great. He is already 3-0 with 18 strikeouts and allowing only four earned runs through 18 innings. His fastball and slider pitches are working well together. Although he seemed to wear down in his starts, his bullpen bailed him out.

A Superb Start to 2022 for Alek Manoah

2021 Review

Having missed out on his first full season due to the canceled 2020 Minor League season, Manoah started 2021 with Triple-A Buffalo looking like a veteran. He had a 0.50 ERA with 27 strikeouts and only three walks in three starts. Another impressive stat was lefty batters went 4 for 26, a .154 average, with nine strikeouts.

On May 27, 2021, he was selected to the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster and promoted to the big-league club. He started against the New York Yankees, winning his first MLB game that same day. He finished the season with a 9-2 record and an ERA of 3.22. Over 111 2/3 innings in 20 starts, he had 127 strikeouts. He also set the franchise record for seven consecutive strikeouts against the Tampa Bay Rays.

A Top Draft Pick

Manoah was considered one of the top pitching prospects in the 2019 MLB draft. He was unanimously named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year while playing for West Virginia. The Blue Jays selected him with the 11th overall pick. The Blue Jays were impressed with his 6ft 6in, 260-pound frame and 95-97 MPH-range fastball. The scouts liked his physical build, some suggesting that his physique keeps his velocity going into the late innings of a game.

A Mix of Pitches

A superb start to 2022 for Alek Manoah has come with a mix of pitches. He relies on three pitches: fastball, slider, and changeup. His fastball is a good pitch; he needs confidence and challenges himself to use it. His slider has been a reliable weapon for him. He has worked on his changeup with pitching coach Pete Walker. Manoah is still working on his command and making better pitch selections. Both will come, especially if he continues to pitch effectively. He wants to be the workhorse a team can rely on.

Games Started by Manoah

Manoah has started 23 games for the Blue Jays. The team is 19-4 in those 23 starts, including wins in his last 11 starts. He is doing what a quality pitcher needs to do, being consistent. That consistency gives a team a chance to win. His teammates know he is giving them all he has. When called upon to relieve him, they feed off his energy, and his bullpen wants to get him the win. All this from a guy who has only pitched in 23 games in his big-league career.

Manoah Is Reliable 

A superb start to 2022 for Alek Manoah means he will be counted on even more. Fellow starter Hyun Jin Ryu is out for at least ten days, possibly longer, with left forearm inflammation. Jose Berríos is off to a slow start with an ERA over six.

Manoah is a pitcher who had an outside shot at an MLB debut in 2021. Look at what he’s done since his big league debut. His confidence, composure, and behavior show he has the makings of an ace, someone this team can lean on like a veteran. His strong performance early in the season might be in contention for the AL Cy Young.

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Players/coaches Mentioned:

Pete Walker, Hyun Jin Ryu, Jose Berríos