Alek Manoah made his MLB debut for the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday May 27th, 2021. Here are a few of our takeaways from this young prospects first MLB start in the Bronx.
By: Evan Brown
With the 11th pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Toronto Blue Jays selected pitcher Alek Manoah out of West Virginia University. The 6’6” righty fireballer only got better and better once the Jays signed him, and now, he has made his MLB debut.
Incredible work ethic and endless confidence led to Manoah needing only 3 starts and 18 innings pitched in AAA this year to force a depleted Jays’ team into calling him up. In those 3 starts, Manoah posted a ridiculous 0.50 ERA with 27 Ks, only 3 walks, and he won all three of those games.
The excitement around Manoah has been largely because of those outstanding stats. But if you watch his starts, his offseason training, and the way he carries himself, it’s no surprise he got here this fast. His motto and brand of “Manoah Driven” fits the man who started it perfectly. Alek brings heart, emotion, a determination to the mound and isn’t afraid of the big moments.
So, how did the 23-year old do in his first major league start? More than what everyone, including Manoah, was hoping for.
With his family in attendance, Alek, as many would expect someone to feel making their major league debut in Yankee Stadium against the Bronx Bombers, was a bit nervous. He walked leadoff man D.J. Lemahieu on four pitches to start the game and missed badly with all four fastballs. But after that, he was completely dominant.
After striking out every Blue Jays fans’ least favourite player Rougned Odor for his first career strikeout, he proceeded to make Aaron Judge look like a minor leaguer. Judge thought Manoah was going with a slider outside but Alek crossed him up with a 95 mph heater right down the middle that Judge swung way, way too late for.
The rest of the way can only be described as brilliant. After Semien and Bichette hit back-to-back solo home runs in the third, Manoah handled the Yankees lineup with ease. He went 6 scoreless innings giving up 2 walks and the only two Yankee hits of the game to Miguel Andújar while striking out 7. He used all four of his pitches effectively touching 97 with the 4-seam and his offspeed pitches got better and better as the game went on.
Finishing the game at 88 pitches, Manoah handed the ball over to Jordan Romano for the save in the 7th inning of the first game in the doubleheader and that was it. Alek Manoah got the win in his first career MLB start.
And if he keeps pitching the way he did against the Yankees, not only will Manoah stay in the rotation for the foreseeable future, but he’s going to be a good pitcher for this team for a long time.