Top 5 Blue Jays storylines to monitor this spring training

What are the things to keep an eye on for the Jays this spring?

Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays
Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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As spring training has gotten underway for the Toronto Blue Jays, the team will be preparing for a new season of glory ahead as they set their sights once again to make the playoffs. But before we can look that far ahead, there are various storylines to monitor during this pre-season as the Jays look to put together their ideal contending roster for 2024. Let’s take a closer look at five things this spring that will shape the Jays for the upcoming regular season.

Alek Manoah’s rebound

2023 was a year that was certainly worth forgetting for pitcher Alek Manoah. Coming off a Cy Young-calibre performance the year prior, Manoah was looking to anchor the Jays pitching staff and help lead them to success into the postseason. However, it quickly became a nightmare for the 26-year-old as almost everything that could have possibly gone wrong for him, did. In the end, he put up the worst numbers of his career by posting a 3-9 record, 5.87 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, giving up 57 earned runs along with 79 strikeouts in just 19 games started. Much more worrisome was the fact he struggled mightily with his control and command, leading to a whopping 59 walks over 87.1 innings of work. He was even demoted to the minors to work on his pitching mechanics, but the stint didn’t provide the antidote to his otherwise throw away season.

Nevertheless, entering 2024, Manoah still had GM Ross Atkins’ vote of confidence in that he believes there's a bounce back coming and Manoah will have a legitimate shot at a starting rotation spot. That belief is now further supported by Manoah’s recent health and workout regimen, as he appears to be in great shape and ready to go this spring. How he will turn out in the coming weeks will go a long way in determining if the Jays will be strong contenders for the upcoming year, along with whether or not they need to add more starting pitching depth as insurance.