Predicting the Blue Jays' All-Stars in 2023

92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard
92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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Alek Manoah

Alek Manoah wasn’t the MVP of last year’s All-Star Game and was well out of the game by the time it was decided. But he gave the game its most memorable moment.

Manoah came on to pitch the second inning in what was his first All-Star appearance. What made this different from every other time he took the mound in his incredible sophomore season was the fact he was wearing a microphone, allowing him to speak directly to Fox host Joe Davis as he prepared to take on the NL’s best hitters.

While discussing his strategy and the pitches he was about to throw, Manoah struck out William Contreras. Then he struck out Joc Pederson. After hitting Jeff McNeil on the foot, he capped off the inning by getting Ronald Acuña Jr. swinging. The entire baseball world got a glimpse of his personality, his demeanor on the mound, and, most importantly, his potent stuff.

Manoah has been in the big leagues for less than two full seasons but is already among the elite pitchers in the game. He finished third in the AL in ERA and fourth in WHIP last season. Any concern that the long season and increasing workload would wear him down were quickly put to rest when Manoah only got better.

His September was one for the record books as he posted a 0.88 ERA over his final six starts, the lowest in a calendar month in Blue Jays franchise history. He gave up only six earned runs in his last eight appearances. His incredible year was recognized when Manoah finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting behind Justin Verlander and Dylan Cease.

The rest of the league saw what Manoah is capable of last year. Now entering his third big league season, Manoah can show it was no fluke and earn his way onto the AL All-Star roster once again.

Dark Horse candidates

This core four is a strong bet to get to Seattle if they perform as they are capable of this season. But the Blue Jays lineup is deep enough that they can rival last year’s group of six that represented the club in the All-Star Game.

Alejandro Kirk was one of the Blue Jays who made his first All-Star appearance last season, but his chances of returning in 2023 could be hampered by a lack of opportunities. The addition of Brandon Belt to the roster will likely reduce the number of plate appearances Kirk makes this year. Kirk was in the lineup 51 times as the designated hitter last season; but with Belt getting his shot to be the club’s full-time DH, either Kirk or Danny Jansen will have to sit.

George Springer is preparing for a full-time move over to right field as Kevin Kiermaier assumes his old center field role. He’s a four-time All-Star already, including last season, but he faces a crowded field of outfield candidates in the AL. Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, and Julio Rodriguez have the talent and name recognition to be popular picks to start the game, and that doesn’t even include players such as Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Byron Buxton. Simple numbers could keep Springer from joining his teammates in Seattle.

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