In a recent post on MLB.com, Will Leitch named Toronto Blue Jays ace-in-the-making Alek Manoah as one of the top breakout players of the 2022 season.
Leitch pointed out that the Blue Jays as a whole just seemed to have more pep in their step when Manoah was on the mound, which is 100 percent true. With all of the ace-caliber pitchers on the roster heading into the 2022 season, few people had Manoah being the one to have the Cy Young-worthy season.
There just isn't enough to say about the performance Manoah had last season. So much of this has already been said before (and it will be said again), but the man was just utterly dominant all year long.
Now that all is said and done, the 24-year-old (25 in a few weeks) made the All-Star team, finished 17th in the AL MVP voting and finished third in the AL Cy Young voting. All year long he was performing at a rate that had him near the top of the conversation for the award handed out to the league's best pitcher.
In 31 starts for the Jays, Manoah went 16-7 with a sparkling 2.24 ERA and 174 ERA+. The ERA+ uses 100 as a league-average, so yes, Manoah was 74 percent better than a league-average pitcher last season.
That is, in a word, nuts.
The home runs were down, the walks were down, the strikeouts were up and Manoah just seemed to elevate his game in every way a pitcher can.
Statcast was high on Manoah as well, showing all sorts of red on his MLB Percentile Rankings, meaning he was at or near the top of the entire league in most advanced pitching categories.
He ranked in the 92nd percentile in HardHit% and 73rd in Avg Exit Velocity, meaning that when hitters made contact, it was very rarely solid contact. His ERA was fourth in Major League Baseball behind only Justin Verlander, Julio Urías and Dylan Cease who all had Cy Young-worthy seasons in their own right.
The Blue Jays are sitting pretty with this beast of a pitcher sitting atop their organizational depth chart at starting pitcher. Manoah is still so, so young and is under team control through the 2027 season as of today. Sit back and enjoy the Manoah Mania Blue Jays fans, because 2022 was just the beginning of what he is going to accomplish at the big league level.