Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but Alek Manoah had a pretty good season on the mound in 2022. Pretty good might be understating it, actually. Manoah was really good.
After a solid rookie campaign in 2021, the big right-hander became the ace of the Toronto Blue Jays’ staff, and was a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award thanks to his 16-7 record and 2.24 ERA.
While Mountaineer fans knew Manoah’s potential after his All-American season in Morgantown in 2019, he was still relatively unknown nationally. That is no longer the case.
Manoah is one of eight players named surprising breakout players by MLB.com on Tuesday. The recognition puts a bow on a stellar sophomore season for the young pitcher.
The south Florida native got off to a red-hot start to the 2022 season. He was so good, that he became just the second WVU player ever to be named an MLB All-Star. Manoah then made WVU history, as the first former Mountaineer to appear in the Midsummer Classic.
It was there, on the national stage in Los Angeles, that Manoah fully burst onto the national scene.
That appearance was far from the only history Manoah made this year. Among all of the other feats he accomplished, Manoah became the first Mountaineer to start a game on the mound in the MLB Postseason.
The former Mountaineer finished the regular season strong – four wins and zero losses, 33 strikeouts, and an opposing batting average of just .162 across six starts. He earned AL Pitcher of the Month honors for his efforts. According to the Blue Jays, his 0.88 earned run average in September is the lowest single-month ERA in club history.
Manoah’s 16 wins were the third-most in the American League this season. His 2.24 earned run average was the fourth-best in all of baseball. His 25 quality starts were more than any other pitcher in the AL.
Two seasons into his still-young MLB career, Manoah appears on track to achieve greatness.
While it’s impossible to truly project Manoah’s career path at this point, experts in the game see it’s trending in the right direction.
In an exclusive interview with Gold and Blue Nation earlier this year, Hall of Fame baseball reporter Tim Kurkjian said, “I think he’s going to be really good for a long time. The stuff is there. The competitive nature is there. And the size is there.”