Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Good and bad, careers that changed from a year ago

TORONTO, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 3: George Springer #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his grand slam with Teoscar Hernandez #37 and Danny Jansen #9 in the third inning during their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre on October 3, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 3: George Springer #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his grand slam with Teoscar Hernandez #37 and Danny Jansen #9 in the third inning during their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre on October 3, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 5
Next
Blue Jays
Oct 2, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah (6) is helped into the team home run jacket by manager Charlie Montoyo (25) at the end of the seventh inning inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The most pleasant surprise of 2021

For as many fun moments as there were in 2021, I don’t know that any player brought as many smiles to my face as Alek Manoah.

The rookie right-hander was a revelation for the Blue Jays, and one that came at a perfect time for a rotation that needed the reinforcements. He broke a pile of Blue Jay records in his first season in the big leagues, and finished 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.048 WHIP over 20 starts that covered 111.2 innings. The big righty also struck out 127 batters on the way to earning 2.8 bWAR.

While I’m not surprised that Manoah has been able to impress at the highest level, I have to admit that he caught me off guard with how quickly he found that success. Prior to last season there were several writers in notable publications that were worried about him for one reason or another, and some of their points were valid. Missing the 2020 season because of the Covid-19 pandemic was a big deal was far as his potential development, and instead of being able to progress through the minors that year he was left to work out in Florida. As good as that instruction may have been, you can’t replace the experience of real games.

In the end, none of that mattered for the Florida native, and he won the hearts of most of the Blue Jays fan base along the way. He’s easily regarded as the top young pitcher in the organization right now, and he’s blown well past Nate Pearson, which was hard to see coming a year ago.

Hopefully he can keep up the same level of production during his sophomore season, and if he can, the Blue Jays are going to have one of the best rotations in baseball.

facebooktwitterreddit