Blue Jays: First-round pick Alek Manoah set for debut

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 18: Toronto Blue Jays' players Wilson baseball gloves lay in the dugout during a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on May 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 6-2. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 18: Toronto Blue Jays' players Wilson baseball gloves lay in the dugout during a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on May 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 6-2. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images) /
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The Blue Jays made Alek Manoah their first-round pick this season, and the talented 22-year-old will make his pro debut this weekend.

After a dominant season at West Virginia University where he racked up 144 strikeouts in 108.1 innings, Blue Jays 2019 first-rounder Alek Manoah will return to the mound Saturday as he makes his pro debut with the Vancouver Canadians, according to Future Blue Jays.

As Manoah joins the Canadians he will be playing alongside several other top ten picks the Blue Jays selected from the college ranks with 4th-rounder Will Robertson, 5th-rounder Tanner Morris, 6th-rounder Cameron Eden and 9th-rounder Philip Clarke.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound right-hander hasn’t pitched in a game since June 1st at the NCAA Regionals and seeing as he’s already surpassed the 100 inning mark in college this year, fans may not see a ton of Manoah as the Canadians enter the final month of the season.

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The Miami native officially joined the Jays organization in June when he inked a deal that included a signing bonus worth just over $4.55M.

Manoah has a big presence on the mound and it’s not just his ability to reach back and fire bullets that led the Blue Jays to make him the first college right-hander chosen in 2019. He was working in the 94-97 mph range this spring and his slider has come along way, becoming a put-away pitch. for him.

The sink on his fastball makes him difficult to square up  and his command was another area of his game that saw major improvements this year and allowed Manoah to fly up the draft board. Despite pitching double the innings in 2019 compared to 2018 at West Virginia, he still walked less batters this year.

As several top positional prospects have already began to make their mark at the major league level with the likes of Vlad Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and soon Bo Bichette, Manoah joins the organization as they shift into developing some top pitching prospects.

Nate Pearson continues to dominate in Double-A New Hampshire and Eric Pardinho has been just as impressive to start his career, both ranking among the top 100 prospects in baseball.

If these three pitchers, along with some other intriguing arms in the system, could make an impact at the big league level by at least 2022, the Blue Jays would have quite the team and with many of them being homegrown players.

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With a long break since his last start, we don’t know what we’ll see from Manoah but he has the makings of becoming another well-known prospect drafted into this organization.

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