Toronto Blue Jays: Handing out the internal awards for the 2021 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 02: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Teoscar Hernnadez #37 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 2, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 02: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Teoscar Hernnadez #37 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 2, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 21: Alek Manoah #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 at Tropicana Field on September 21, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Rookie of the Year

Winner:  Alek Manoah

Honourable Mentions: Nate Pearson & Alejandro Kirk

The Blue Jays first-round pick back in 2019, West Virginia University’s Alek Manoah only had 35.0 innings in the minor leagues before making his Major League debut earlier this season.

Manoah entered the 2021 campaign as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization and would pitch well in Spring Training and with the Buffalo Bisons prior to his call-up to the active roster. The right-hander would only allow seven hits and one earned run through three starts and 18.0 innings with the Bisons this year and with fellow prospect Nate Pearson struggling to stay healthy early in the season, Manoah was needed in the big leagues sooner rather than later.

The Toronto Blue Jays season has officially come to a close and it is time to hand out the internal awards for members on the active roster.

The Florida product would finish the campaign with a 3.22 ERA through 20 starts and 111.2 innings pitched, striking out 127 batters compared to 40 walks. His 1.05 WHIP and .192 opponents batting average are extremely impressive and while his control was a bit wild, evident by his 16 hit batters, Manoah was one of the biggest surprises of the season and was instrumental in helping the Blue Jays put themselves into playoff consideration late in the year.

While he is on the outside of the official AL Rookie of the Year award given his later start in the big leagues this season, he easily earns the honour internally with the Blue Jays, as he stepped up in a big way this season to help stabilize a starting rotation that was struggling to stay healthy and was not getting production from multiple members of the pitching staff.

He was even entrusted with a do-or-die game against the Baltimore Orioles this past Saturday and rose to the occasion, going seven innings while allowing only one earned run and one hit with 10 strikeouts and one walk.

It will be interesting to see how the fiery right-hander will fair with a full season under his belt next year but fans should be pretty excited to have Alek Manoah in the Blue Jays rotation for the next five to six years.

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