Blue Jays Go All In For Alek Manoah
Alek Manoah put himself on the Blue Jays’ radar last summer, when the 6-foot-6, 260-pound righthander led the Cape Cod League in strikeouts.
From that point forward, area scout Coulson Barbiche and regional crosschecker Michael Youngberg kept close tabs on the West Virginia ace, who continually impressed them with a simplified delivery that helped him repeat his mechanics and improve his command.
By the time the draft rolled around, the Blue Jays were all in on the 21-year-old from Homestead, Fla., selecting him with the 11th overall pick and signing him for the slot value of $4,547,500.
"We really love what Alek brings to the table and his 'now' stuff,” scouting director Steve Sanders said. "But we do see room for him to continue to develop and continue to improve. He’s got a really well-rounded three-pitch mix (fastball, slider, changeup) we think is going to play at the next level.”
The potential really showed in 2019, when Manoah pitched to a 2.08 ERA over 108.1 innings, with 144 strikeouts against 27 walks. Those numbers blew away his first two college seasons, when he alternated between starting and relieving.
As a big guy with a lot of moving parts, Manoah understands that leveraging his size is no simple task, but he developed his mechanics on his own, finding a "delivery that is molded to me.”
"I don’t really have one major league pitcher in common that I can think of who I really follow,” he said. ". . . I learned my slider from a Dellin Betances cutter grip and a Chris Sale slider grip and kind of just molded it into one of my pitches, which really helped me . . .
"I get a bunch of different guys who do things I like and study stuff and how it would work with me. I put it all together, try things out. Some things work; some things don’t. It’s a work in progress and it’s been a good work in progress so far to this point, and there’s a lot more work to do to evolve into a big league pitcher.”
— Righthander T.J. Zeuch debuted at Triple-A Buffalo after recovering from a lat strain, while fellow righty Jon Harris rejoined Double-A New Hampshire after overcoming shoulder trouble.
— Shortstop Jordan Groshans’ breakout at low Class A Lansing was on hold because of a stress reaction in his foot.