Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Season Preview: RHP Alek Manoah

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

Next up in our 2023 Toronto Blue Jays season preview series is starting pitcher Alek Manoah.


Addison BargerAnthony BassChris BassittBrandon BeltJosé BerríosBo Bichette, Cavan BiggioMatt ChapmanAdam CimberHagen DannerSantiago EspinalMatt GageYimi GarcíaKevin Gausman, Chad GreenVladimir Guerrero Jr.Thomas HatchSpencer Horwitz, Danny Jansen, Leo Jimenez, Kevin Kiermaier, Yusei Kikuchi, Alejandro Kirk, Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes

Here's a quick refresher on the projection systems we will be taking into account and their predictions for Manoah for the upcoming season.

STEAMER: 32 GS, 12-11 record, 4.03 ERA, 195 SO and 61 BB in 199 innings

ZiPS: 30 GS, 13-8 record, 3.43 ERA, 177 SO and 51 BB in 181 innings

THE BAT: 30 G, 13-10 record, 3.72 ERA, 172 SO and 57 BB in 186 innings

2022 stats: 31 GS, 16-7 record, 2.24 ERA, 180 SO and 51 BB in 196.2 innings

Manoah, 25, is heading into 2023 with all kinds of momentum after a stellar sophomore season in which he was named to the AL All-Star team and was a finalist in Cy Young voting.

In a rotation that saw its fair share of turmoil in 2022, Manoah was a solid and consistent performer for the Jays. But the projections don't think he'll perform at the same level again this season.

His K/9 dropped to 8.24 last season, down from 10.24 in 2021, and the projections predict that he'll remain at a sub-nine rate this year. However, an improved 2.33 BB/9 last year, down from 3.22, helped offset the decline in strikeouts. All three projections predict a BB/9 under three again, ranging from 2.54 to 2.75.

The projections all think Manoah's ERA will jump well above three. ZiPS predicts a 3.43 ERA, THE BAT shows 3.72, and Steamer pegs him for 4.03.

These numbers show a lack of faith in Manoah's ability to outperform his xERA and xFIP. He slightly exceeded these expected stats in his rookie year and widened the gap even more last season.
















While there's no guarantee that he'll continue to beat the expected stats, there is good reason to believe he can.

The Big Puma's Statcast Percentile Rankings page is a beautiful array of red sliders. The most notable is his HardHit%. He ranked in the 92nd percentile in the league and placed fourth among qualified starters last year at 31.5%.

That, combined with the fact that he's so good at missing barrels, was a big reason he wasn't hurt by contact last year and why he remained successful despite fewer strikeouts. His Barrel rate of 5.4% ranked him fifth among starters and in the 80th percentile overall.

Limiting damaging contact is a skill that Manoah has now shown over a large sample size. Below, you can see his Statcast rankings over the last two years among starting pitchers with at least 300 innings.

Statcast Stat.

2021-2022 Totals

MLB Rank













Some players consistently beat their expected stats. If you had to choose one Blue Jay to be one of these outliers, Manoah would be the obvious choice.

When you watch him pitch, you can immediately see that there's something different about the youngster. Something that stats and metrics can't measure.

Whether it's his swagger and confidence, his pitching smarts, his competitive drive, or all of the above, the big righty has a special, intangible quality that projections can't account for.

So here's hoping that Manoah proves the projections wrong and continues his upward trend toward superstardom in 2023.

Next. Kevin Gausman is the key to the Blue Jays rotation in 2023. dark