Blue Jays: Alek Manoah backing up what he’s said in the past
Alek Manoah hasn’t been shy about telling people that he’s a workhorse, but he’s backed up the use of that term in his second season for the Blue Jays.
I had the opportunity to interview Manoah before he’d ever made his MLB debut, and that was one of the biggest things I took away from our chat. He wanted to be viewed as a reliable workhorse that would be able to endure the grind of a 162 game season, and consistently deliver quality starts for his team. While there were high expectations for the right-hander as he entered his sophomore season, it’s safe to say he’s exceeded them for the vast majority of us.
After throwing 7.1 shutout innings against the Pirates on Friday night the 24 year old is now 13-7 with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP over 26 starts, covering 163.0 innings and striking out 153 in the process. The sophomore will receive legitimate Cy Young consideration, and he’s really given the Blue Jays everything they could have asked for in 2022, and more.
I’ll admit that he’s exceeded my expectations for this season, even if I consider myself to be a big believer in the Florida native. That said, what really impresses me is that he’s already one of the best “workhorses” in baseball, and he’s backing up his statements from years ago. He’s continued to talk about that kind of mentality and performance being a priority for him, and you can see it when he respectfully fights with his skipper whenever he is on the verge of being removed from a game.
It’s not that I doubted what Manoah told me and pretty much anyone else that would hear it, but I have to admit that I expected to see some signs of wear at this stage of the 2022 campaign. Last year he wracked up a career high of 129.2 innings between AAA and the big leagues, and he’s already far exceeded that this season. For a lot of pitchers, that kind of year to year increase in workload might even be enough to shut them down completely, but Manoah is a different breed, and the Blue Jays have no plans to do anything like that.
When they talked about as much back in the early part of the summer I was happy to hear it, but I have to admit that I had some doubts. I figured that maybe they’d manage Manoah’s workload by utilizing some of the other starting depth, and maybe even skip a couple starts to save his arm a bit. The Jays really haven’t had the luxury of considering such a thing thanks to injuries and underperformance from other rotation candidates, but thankfully Manoah has made it a moot point so far.
With 32 games left in the regular season, I think we can probably expect the talented righty to make at least six more starts, and maybe even a seventh if they need him again at to secure a playoff spot. If he continues to average over 6.0 innings per start, you can add another 36 or so innings. That would take him right about the 200 frame mark, which again, is a significant increase from last year, and a really impressive total for a second-year starter.
The good news is Manoah is showing no signs of slowing down, and he’s backing up his early season claims. It’s hard to imagine where this team would be without him, and it’s pretty safe to say that I’ll probably never doubt him ever again.