Alek Manoah's workout videos on social media give fans hope of a major bounceback

The Jays starter recently posted videos showing he's in tip-top shape, and fans can only hope it means he'll have a return to form this season.

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah looks to be ready for a bounceback season
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah looks to be ready for a bounceback season / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

There's no hiding from and no sugarcoating how poorly Alek Manoah's 2023 season went for the Toronto Blue Jays. While fans can wonder what could have been for last year's team if the Blue Jays starter had managed even a fraction of his previous success, it's in the past. Now, the Jays and Manoah are looking ahead to the future.

From recent videos that have popped up on Manoah's Instagram account, it looks like the 2024 season could be a return to form for the 26-year-old. Based on what he posted, Manoah is heading into the 2024 season in prime physical shape.

Fans, not to mention the team, certainly hope Manoah bounces back this season. Despite Manoah's struggles, the Jays put one of the best rotations on the mound last year. Not only were they incredibly fortunate to avoid major injuries, but they also received the usual Cy Young-worthy campaign from Kevin Gausman, 200 innings from newcomer Chris Bassitt, a José Berríos bounceback, Yusei Kikuchi's surprising about-face, and a solid return from Tommy John surgery for Hyun Jin Ryu.

The rotation put together the third-best ERA (3.85) and amassed the sixth-highest fWAR (13.5) in the majors. That was all accomplished despite Manoah's contribution of a 5.87 ERA and -0.4 fWAR over 87 1/3 innings of subpar baseball. Around a few quality outings, most of the time Manoah didn't look like he'd ever hit the strike zone again.

After being demoted twice and not even pitching in his second trip to Buffalo due to "medical testing," Manoah's trials and tribulations looked like they might completely unravel the promising young career of a future Blue Jays ace.

According to The Athletic's Kaitlyn McGrath (subscription required), general manager Ross Atkins has given Manoah a vote of confidence going into 2024, saying the young pitcher has "earned the right to have a strong leg up" in the battle for the fifth starting spot.

That's a fall from grace for the brash and confident — some might say cocky — pitcher who took the ball as the team's Opening Day starter last year. But with the Jays returning the four starters who carried the season in 2023, Manoah will have to earn his way back to the top of the rotation.

Just imagine if Manoah does get back on track, though. What a boon it would be for a team already dominant in the pitching department. Going into last season, the righty was coming off a 2022 in which he finished third in Cy Young voting with a 16-7 record, a 2.24 ERA, and a sparkling 0.99 WHIP over 196 2/3 innings.

And that was after the former first-round pick burst onto the scene in 2021, skipping Triple-A and putting up a 3.22 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 111 2/3 innings as a rookie.

From the brief glimpses of Manoah's social media posts, it looks like he's at least giving himself the best opportunity possible to return to form this season. Let's keep our fingers crossed that a bounceback is in the cards.