After a disastrous start to his 2023 season, right-hander Alek Manoah currently finds himself back in the minors, trying to find his way so he can return to a big league mound.
It took 13 starts for the Blue Jays to finally decide enough was enough for the 25-year-old. In that time, he went 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA, 6.52 FIP and a ghastly ERA+ of 65, which puts him at 35 percent below league-average on the mound. On the heels of such a successful 2022 campaign in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting, nobody could've seen this twist of fate coming.
So here we are, Manoah just wrapped up taking a few weeks "in the lab" to hone in on some adjustments he needed to make to his game in order to find his 2022 form. He made one start in the Florida Complex League (FCL), going 2.2 innings while allowing 11 earned runs on 10 hits, including two home runs to a group of 18 and 19-year-olds.
His next assignment? Well, he's going north. Not Toronto north, but New Hampshire Fisher Cats north, where he will join the Blue Jays' Double-A affiliate. Per multiple reports, the right-hander is going to make the start for the Fisher Cats in Sunday's contest against the Portland Sea Dogs. Interestingly, this will be the first start Manoah has ever made in Double-A.
Per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun, Blue Jays manager John Schneider has told the media that Manoah will be treating this game as a legitimate start in which he will not have any sort of pitch limit.
Longley continues and says that Schneider believes this game environment will give the organization a better chance to see how Manoah fares against higher-end competition rather than the FCL.
"It’s a more competitive environment for one, a chance of scenery, a night game not a day game. Just a combination of where he’s at and the competition we want to see results against. It just gives him and us a better feel of where everything is at.”"