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Mountaineers in the Pros

Alek Manoah Named the Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day Starter



Alek Manoah

The Toronto Blue Jays named former West Virginia baseball superstar Alek Manoah their opening day starter on Friday, the first time he’s received this honor in two seasons in the majors.

The hulking hurler stands 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds and was a part of two of West Virginia’s tournament teams, starting the Mountaineers’ first game of the tournament as a freshman in 2017. Manoah pitched to a 2.81 ERA in 58 college games, including 34 starts, while racking up 249 strikeouts across 218 innings.

He was excellent in college, named the unanimous Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in 2019 after posting a 1.91 ERA and 125 strikeouts. Toronto selected him with the 11th overall pick that year, and he’s been even better in the big leagues.

Manoah rocketed through the Minor Leagues, playing less than half a season in 2019 after getting drafted, missed all of 2020 after the MiLB season was cancelled because of COVID-19, and needed less than two months to make the big league roster in 2022, making his Blue Jays debut on May 27, 2021.

After contributing a 2.24 ERA and 180 strikeouts along with a 16-7 record, Manoah finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting last year, his first full season in the majors. He also had an ERA+ of 174, meaning that his pitching performance was 74 percent better than the average major leaguer.

He’s already reached these heights and is only 25. It’ll be exciting for Mountaineers (and Blue Jays) fans to see where Manoah can go from here.

The Blue Jays will open in St. Louis this season, facing the Cardinals at 4:10pm EDT on Thursday, March 30.

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