Toronto Blue Jays News

Part 2: Comparing Alek Manoah’s rookie season to former Blue Jays pitchers

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 02: Alek Manoah #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to the dugout 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: Alek Manoah #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to the dugout 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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TORONTO, CANADA – JUNE 6: Former player Jimmy Key #22 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on the 25th anniversary of the opening of SkyDomebefore the start of MLB game action against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 6, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Key

Rookie Season: 63 games (zero starts); 62.0 IP; 4.65 ERA; 44 strikeouts; 1.645 WHIP

Another name fans will find high on the Blue Jays franchise leaderboards, Jimmy Key was a dominant force for the club during his nine years with the organization. As a Jay, Key would earn two all-star appearances and would finish second in Cy-Young voting in 1987, leading the league with his 2.76 ERA.

As a rookie in 1984, Key’s role was strictly in the bullpen, appearing in 63 games while striking out 44 batters through 62.0 innings pitched, earning 10 saves on the year. The southpaw would move into the rotation in 1985 and would be a major force as a starter throughout the late 1980s, eventually leaving the squad as a free agent for the New York Yankees in 1993 before finishing his career with the Baltimore Orioles, a two-year span that stretched the 1997 and 1998 seasons before he hung up his cleats for good due to injury.

Crunching the Numbers

Similar to the Manoah-Hentgen scenario in the previous slide, it is a bit tough to compare Manoah and Key rookie campaigns given the former Blue Jays pitcher was strictly in the bullpen in 1984.

If we take a look at Manoah compared to Key’s first season as a starter in 1985, Key edges out the 6’6″ Florida product when it comes to ERA (3.00 vs. 3.22). games started (32 vs. 20), innings pitched (212.2 vs. 111.2), HR/9 (0.9 vs. 1.0), and BB/9 (2.1 vs. 3.2) while also earning an all-star appearance. Manoah does best Key when it comes to strikeouts (127 vs. 85), WHIP (1.048 vs. 1.119), and H/9 (6.2 vs. 8.0), as the fiery right-hander was able to generate more swings and misses compared to his counterpart.

Key finished his Major League career with a 3.51 ERA, an absurd number that one can only hope Manoah can stick around as he continues to pitch for the Blue Jays over the next 5-6 years.

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