Steven Matz – 14-7, 3.82 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Shortly before 2021 Spring Training started, Ross Atkins acquired Steven Matz for three prospects and he proved it to be a good trade as the southpaw resembled more of the pitcher he was early in his career over the one who finished with no wins and a 9.68 ERA in 2020.
Matz looked brilliant to start the season as he picked up wins in each of his first four starts while posting a 2.31 ERA. However, he then went on an inconsistent stretch where he would be dominant in one game and then get hit around in the next. Between April 28 and July 28, Matz posted a 4-6 record with a 5.37 ERA over 14 starts, however, during that time he had five starts of at least five innings and two or less runs.
After the trade deadline when the calendar turned to August, Matz got hot. He started 11 games to finish the season and posted a 6-1 record with a 2.69 ERA during those starts. In those final 11 outings Matz allowed more than two earned runs in just one game. In total, the left-handed starter finished with 14 wins which tied him with Hyun Jin Ryu for the team lead. Matz now becomes a free agent and it is unclear how hard the Blue Jays management will go at bringing him back, but at the right price who could be a valuable piece in 2022.
Alek Manoah – 9-2, 3.22 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
The 2019 first round pick made a memorable major league debut on May 27 as Alek Manoah dominated the New York Yankees hitters over six innings that saw him strikeout seven on two hits and no runs. Throughout the season Manoah had a couple small hiccups, but for the most part he showed that he has front of the rotation stuff. Manoah started 20 games this season and in 11 of those he tossed at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs. The big righty tossed at least seven innings this season on four occasions and allowed a total of one run in those starts. He also recorded double digit strikeouts four times this season.
What is the most impressive stat is the team was 16-4 in games that Manoah started. As a rookie Manoah threw at least 100-pitches on five different occasions with 114 being his maximum on August 11 against the Los Angeles Angels. Manoah finished with a 2.8 WAR, which ranked sixth on the team.