There were a lot of questions going into the 2019 MLB draft for the Toronto Blue Jays. Would the club, which is much lighter on minor league talent on the pitching side of things than on the hitting side, select a college pitcher, expected to reach the major leagues faster, or a high school hitter, the way they did last year, drafting Jordan Groshans in the first round?
The Blue Jays answered those questions by selecting righthanded pitcher Alek Manoah out of West Virginia University in the first round of the 2019 draft, 11th overall.
Manoah, 21, was ranked 11th overall by MLB.com and comes with a monstrous frame, at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. While he was a two-way player out of the Miami area in 2016, he wasn’t drafted and went to WVU, starting out his collegiate career in the bullpen, but got some reps as a starter in the Cape Cod League, leading the league in strikeouts.
Starting in the rotation in 2019, Manoah improved his control and sat 94-97 with his fastball, getting good sink. His slider gets good reviews, flashing “plus at times” while his changeup was working nicely in Cape Cod but, according to MLB.com, he hasn’t used it much.
According to Baseball America, Manoah was ranked #13 and was called “one of the more dominant arms in the country” with a 1.91 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 94 innings at the time of this writing. BA notes that “while his walk rate is down significantly this season, Manoah still needs to refine his command” and his body management is going to be a concern going forward.
What do you think of this pick by the Blue Jays?
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