MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Baseball, under ninth-year head coach Randy Mazey, has a storied history of putting graduates into Major League Baseball organizations. Mazey’s first season, in 2013, three players, including current Kansas City Royals first baseman Ryan McBroom, were selected in the MLB Draft.
2014 added six players, including current-Baltimore Orioles left-handed pitcher John Means in the 11th round, while 2015, 2016, and 2017 added two draftees each. Four players, including Los Angeles Dodgers minor league stand-out Michael Grove, were selected in 2018. Grove, then-rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, was the highest draft pick that WVU Baseball had ever produced, going to LA in the second round.
Just a year later, the class of 2019 set two additional records, when a program-high eight players were drafted. Right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah became the Mountaineers’ highest pick ever, heading to the Toronto Blue Jays with the eleventh pick of the 2019 MLB Draft.
Tomorrow, at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Manoah, who shot through the Blue Jays’ farm system, will clash with Means at home. This marks the first time that two Mountaineers have ever started against each other in MLB history. Manoah, who has lit up Toronto’s defense since his debut on May 27, 2021, will go head-to-head with Means at 3:07 p.m EST.
Manoah (8-2) is only six months into his Major League tenure, and has already set two Blue Jays franchise records: striking out seven consecutive batters and tallying the most strikeouts through his first seven starts with 43. The Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-1 thanks to Manoah’s lights-out performance on Jul. 2. He finished the game with seven innings pitched, ten strikeouts, and a measly three hits allowed.
ManOah man 😳
@Alek_Manoah47 fanned seven STRAIGHT hitters! pic.twitter.com/5cp3wY3A2r
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 3, 2021
Means (6-8), was an MLB All-Star in 2019 after his 2.50 ERA served as second-best among AL pitchers leading into the All-Star break. On May 5, 2021, Means threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners, notching 12 Ks en route to a 6-0 shut-out victory. It marked the Orioles’ first no-no since 1991 and the franchise’s first solo no-hitter since 1969. May 10 awarded Means the AL Player of the Week.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) May 5, 2021
These two accomplished Mountaineer alums will face off live on MASN and MLB.TV tomorrow afternoon. Manoah enters the game with a 3.35 ERA, while Means is just slightly better at 3.32.