On the 27th day of May, rain didn’t disrupt the big day for the West Virginia alumni. Toronto Blue Jays top pitching prospect, right-hander Alek Manoah made his Major League debut in the mighty Bronx.
In the high of 27 degrees with bright beaming sun on 1 E 161 Street in the Bronx, a monster brewed his pre-game prep, wearing the powder blue number 6 in front of a ton of friends and family. The Toronto Blue Jays 2019 1st round, 11th overall draft pick faced the New York Yankees for his first-ever Major League appearance. Alek Manoah was the top-performing pitcher at West Virginia. He spent time with the Vancouver Canadians and advanced to AAA Buffalo Bisons to start the 2021 season.
Pre-game at Yankee Stadium, Alek went through his religious routine; looking loose and amped up. He was all smiles and cheery with the boys in the dugout as the Jays started with the bats. At 4:15 pm, the rookie pitcher took the field. Coming out of the gates hot, Manoah expelled the butterflies with a 4-pitch walk to Yankees lead-off stick, DJ LeMahieu. Following this, Odor went down on strikes, and Yankee’s slugger Aaron Judge was taken off of his feet swinging at a 4-seam, before showing up late for dinner on a 97mph fastball, striking out swinging.
From here on out, we were rolling. Manoah showed tremendous confidence in all of his weapons and maintained composure during a natural stressful event, such as a debut. Each pitch, 4-seam fastball, 2-seam, changeup, and slider were all effectively used in this outing. Yankee’s hitters were like a fish out of water; aside from their struggling offence, they could not read the ball out of the hand of Manoah, nor did they know what to expect. His repertoire was executed and was fully electric aggressively and methodically. After a ground ball out in the bottom of the 6th, Manoah hugged the skipper, indicating the end of his night. His lined concluded at 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO; Jordan Romano closing it out to secure an MLB debut win for Manoah and the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: The Debut Take-Away
We witnessed Manoah serve up everything on the menu tonight against the pinstripes. What did the Yankees see? They saw dessert before a snack, dinner then the appetizer; everything fresh. Each serving of pitches was methodically used, batter by batter. Here are some takeaway game notes on the rookie-right hander:
Blue Jays RHP Alek Manoah – Debut NOTES:
– Manoah pounded the strike zone; he maintained an aggressive approach and got up In the count early and often
– His command was on point and improved throughout the game
– Utilized both 2-seam and 4-seam fastball
– 2-seam sat between 94-96nmph with great command and extravagant movement; typically moves in on right-handed hitters
– 4-seam fastball was sharp, sitting between 95-96mph, maxing at 97mph; command was very good, pounding the zone at top, bottom shelf, and corner strikes
– Changeup was the 2nd most used pitch, ranging from an average 85-89mph, maxing at 91 mph. The changeup was used around the world in all counts; great movement working with a low dip below the knees and sometimes works off the plate
– ALL pitches were thrown as strikes; 0-2 count mixes sometimes missed for strikes
– Opposing hitters were confused; at-bats were very weak with weak contact
– The off-speed resulted in a lot of lazy ground balls and fly balls; utilized the Blue Jays defence
– Mechanics and delivery were consistent through all 6.0 innings; no apparent drop in velocity of arm hang
– Manoah’s composure was on point in the given debut scenario
– Quick innings turned It over to the Blue Jays offence
It was all you could ask for from the 23-year-old, and the kind of MLB debut that so many of us dreamed of living for ourselves.