How did Alek Manoh get his wish?

© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball teams are like most entities that operate with limited resources: if you want to know their value, find where those resources are spent. The Toronto Blue Jays obviously appreciate the start of the promotion. They spent 80 million dollars over four years hyun jin ryutwo top leads plus a seven-year extension worth $131 million Jose Perios$110 million over five years Kevin GussmanAnd $36 million over three years after that Yossi Kikuchi.

Gausman was as good as it was announced this year, but behind him, the Blue Jays’ most important bowler hasn’t been a huge acquisition, but Alec ManoahThe 24-year-old is under contract. And he’s not even 6-foot-6 in Florida most people would expect to become the starter of the local frontline in Toronto. In 2017, the Blue Jays spent in the first round Nate Pearsona speed of 102 mph and a touch slider of 95. Pearson Ranked in the top ten global potential client rankings in 2020while Manouh – despite being the number one – operated in relative obscurity.

Pearson’s career has come to a halt, thanks to a host of possibly at-home setbacks in Job’s book, ranging from sports hernias to mononucleosis. And in the field rose Manoah, who has less eye-catching but versatility and toughness built for front-line rookies.

Manoah is among the top 15 eligible rookies in turns, era, strike and war, but his style of promotion belies his youth. He’s throwing reasonably hard—though his average fastball pace of 93.9 mph is unwritable in this day and age—but this year his fastball has fallen by eight tenths of a run while his run rate has dropped by five percentage points. . This is because it allows for a less difficult connection than any other eligible player in the game.

The key to Manoah’s success is the combination of his four stitches and dives, two pitches that closely resemble each other in speed and flight path until they diverge sharply in the late rest period. This combination doesn’t always result in swings and failures, but it’s extremely difficult for a hitter to swing, making it the baseball equivalent of putting your palm on your little brother’s forehead and straightening your arm so he can’t hit you again.

“I think the biggest thing I love to do is watch the hitters approach, watch their swing path, watch the way they swing, the way they take pitches, see some of the pitches they look at,” Manoah said. “For me, that will determine if I’m going to sink in or four layers or how I want to set it up.”

Of course, Manoah did not invent this strategy. Many shooters made great use of it, even during the height of the heavy tulip fever, swing and death, that swept baseball at the end of the last decade. In fact, many of these shooters have worked in Toronto in recent years, specifically Ryu and Berríos, which are Savant baseball rosters As one of the league’s most similar shooters to Manoah in terms of speed and movement.

Manouh took the opportunity to learn as much as he could from his older colleagues.

“[Ryu’s] The stadium design may not be the same, but the way he gets into his legs, mechanics and rhythm is very similar to mine,” Manoah said. For me, I wasn’t really a man of change, but I was able to watch him, and he’s not worried about certain movements—as long as he digs them in a tunnel away from the diver, he can use them together.” Ray, Gusman and David Phelps As players he took lessons from them during his time in the majors.

Manoah had to be a quick learner, because as much as he seems to have just appeared on the scene as a rookie last year, his ascent has been more of a meteoric than you might think. Despite his physical talents, he dropped out of high school, and during his three years in West Virginia, he only spent one as a full-time starter. After being drafted 11th overall in 2019, he spent all of 2020 pitching an alternative location in Toronto.

“I feel like we’ve had a very good simulated season,” he said of the alternate camp site. “Still training, still long throws, still facing live hitters. There was a sense of motivation because at the time people knew who was working and who wasn’t. I didn’t have to focus on results because there were no results. Being able to Working on my change, my body, work ethic, and routine without having to worry about results—I think it allowed me to enjoy the process and prepare for spring training.”

So Manoah entered the major league rotation in May of 2021 after just nine minor league games, at any level, and just two seasons from over 80 runs. And he was instantly one of Toronto’s top shooters, managing to hit more than one stroke and posting a 3.22 ERA in 111 2/3 rounds over 20 starts.

“I think every step of my journey has been preparing me for that,” said Manoah.

Now, despite his young age, Manoah is one of the most important players in a team that is close to making it to post-season. He made his first All-Star Team in July, and His turn while raising the microphone It made him one of the superstars of the game. When a Radio Montreal host made insensitive comments about Alejandro Kirk last week, It was Manoh who jumped to defend his catch. He is a veteran in every respect except for age.

And now, one of the big questions facing Toronto interim manager John Schneider is how hard it will be to ride Manoah down the stretch. On the one hand, the domestic stadiums advantage in the first round may be significant for Toronto, but on the other hand, the right-handed youngster is now around 54 rounds after his career high with two weeks, plus the post-season, remaining on the calendar. Currently at 16 1/3 innings from 200, Manoah is a milestone he sees as important because reaching him is evidence of a good work ethic, but he is happy to participate or sit down if asked.

“I literally told them I didn’t want to be the one making that decision,” he said with a chuckle. He is simply delighted that he is progressing so well that the Blue Jays are planning their turn in the Final with them in mind.

“Last year, I moved because we wanted to establish Ruby Ray and our horses.” “I remember telling myself I wanted to be one of the guys that gets prepared for the big matches. Now that we’re there, it’s great.”