The Toronto Blue Jays’ 2021 season ended sooner than the club hoped it was going to.
Despite a massive playoff push over the summer, the Jays ultimately weren’t able to snag a postseason bid.
However, there were plenty of bright spots along the way.
Toronto is way ahead of schedule in its rebuild, and the team has a plethora of young talent.
While many of the Blue Jays’ young stars got a lot of national attention throughout the 2021 season, one player flew under the radar: Alek Manoah.
The righty put together a fantastic rookie season for Toronto, and he deserves some recognition.
Manoah Pitched Like A Future Ace In 2021
Manoah made his debut for the Blue Jays in May, and it didn’t take long for the team to realize that the youngster was MLB-ready.
He wound up making 20 starts on the year, and the results were outstanding.
He pitched to a 3.22 ERA, 136 ERA+, 3.80 FIP, and 1.05 WHIP.
Of his 20 starts, he allowed three runs or fewer 16 times.
Clearly, he gave the Jays a great chance to win during the majority of his outings, and that’s reflected in the fact that Toronto went 16-4 in his 20 starts.
Alek Manoah gets Rougned Odor swinging for 1st MLB strikeout. 🔥
— theScore (@theScore) May 27, 2021
Near The End Of The Year, He Took Things To Another Level
As good as Manoah was all season long, he took things to another level over the final month of the season.
The 23-year-old had an absurdly impressive five-start stretch to end the year in which he pitched to a 2.23 ERA, 3.14 FIP, and .165 opponent batting average.
If you shrink the sample to his final four starts, then he posted a minuscule 1.69 ERA, 2.61 FIP, and .148 opponent batting average over the span.
Over those final four starts, he fanned at least seven batters each time out and had two games with 10 strikeouts.
It was a fantastic way for the former first-round pick to finish his standout year.
Although the Jays’ regular season ended unceremoniously, Manoah finished his individual campaign with a bang.
The Jays Clearly Got It Right When They Selected Manoah In The 2019 Draft
Manoah and the Blue Jays linked up when Toronto selected the West Virginia University product in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft.
— WVU Baseball (@WVUBaseball) June 4, 2019
Manoah shot up draft boards after he completed three outstanding seasons at the collegiate level.
He posted a 3.07 ERA during his first season at WVU, a 4.00 ERA during his second season, and a sparking 2.08 ERA during his final season.
Toronto obviously loved what it saw, and the organization used the No. 11 overall pick in the draft to select the 6-foot-6 hurler.
At the time of the pick, almost everyone in the media world agreed that the Jays got a steal.
And two years later, it seems like that was an accurate takeaway on draft night.
It took Manoah less than two years to make his MLB debut after he was drafted.
The Blue Jays are already reaping the benefits of a draft selection they made just two seasons ago, and that’s extremely rare in the baseball world.
The decision is paying off for all involved parties, and it’ll be fascinating to see where Manoah goes from here.
He’s got so much potential.