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The Season That Was: Alek Manoah

A look at Manoah’s 2022 season.

MLB: OCT 07 ALWC Game 1 - Mariners at Blue Jays Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’ve been doing these little looks at the players for years. I like that it gives us something to talk about for the first couple of months of the off-season.

Alek Manoah has made a quick trip from being our number-one draft pick in the 2019 draft to being our number-one starter.

He had a terrific rookie season in 2021, with a 3.22 ERA in 20 games. That was good enough to get him an eighth-place finish in AL Rookie of the Year balloting.

The question was “ could he do as well in a full season?”

He could...

Standard Pitching
24 16 7 2.24 31 31 0 0 196.2 144 55 49 16 51 0 180 15 0 5 786 174 3.35
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/12/2022.

Baseball Reference had him at a 5.9 WAR (tied with Justin Verlander for 3rd in the AL). FanGraphs 4.1 making him worth $33 million to the Blue Jays.

He had a .244 BABIP (.246 last year). 82.6% of his baserunners were left on base (up from 76.6% last year).

Alek’s FIP was 3.35 and xFIP 3.98 (which explains why his fWAR was lower than his bWAR).

His line drive rate was 20.6% (20.7 last year). Ground ball 37.5% (38.8 last year). Fly ball 41.9% (40.6 last year). 7.1% of his fly ball left the park (10.7 last year). So pretty much all the same as last year.

Manoah’s strikeout rate was 22.9% (down from 27.7) and his walk rate was 6.5% (down from 8.7).

His soft contact rate was 16.9% (down from 19.9) and hard contact was 23.7% (also down from 25.7).

He was better vs. right-handed batters (.159/.211/.249) than left-handed batters (.237/.313/.367).

Batters hit him a little better on the road (.213/.289/.322) than at home (.191/.256/.306) but he had a better ERA on the road (2.07) than at home (2.42). A sample size issue I’m sure.

He was equally good in the first half (batters hit .205/.263/.318, 2.28 ERA) as in the second half (.198/.275/.309, 2.20).

Manoah by month:

  • April: 4-0, 1.44 ERA in 4 starts. Batters hit .171/.237/.250 in 25 innings.
  • May: 1-1, 2.03 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .233/.262/.388 in 31 innings.
  • June: 4-1, 2.56 ERA in 6 starts. Batters hit .214/.275/.293 in 38.2 innings
  • July: 2-3, 3.45 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .229/.292/.407 in 31.1 innings.
  • August 1-2, 3.34 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .202/.307/.294 in 29.2 innings.
  • September: 4-0, 0.88 ERA in 6 starts. Batters hit .162/.232/254 in 40.0 innings

I thought he was tiring going into the second half of the season, but apparently not.

The Jays were 18-13 in his starts. Since he was 16-7, that means the bullpen was 2 and 6 in games he started.

The Jays averaged 4.2 runs in his starts. In 15 of his starts we scored 3 or less, in 10 starts we scored 2 or less.

Alex starts on:

  • 4 days rest 12 times with a 2.54 ERA.
  • 5 days rest 15 times with a 2.01 ERA.
  • And more than 5 days 4 times with a 2.28.

Opponent batting average by time through the order:

  • First: .170/.241/.225
  • Second: .205/.274/.309
  • Third: .235/.290/.427
  • Fourth: .333/.429/.500 (in 7 PA)

Alek’s best start, by GameScore, was a 77, on April 28th at home against the Orioles. 7 innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts without giving up a run.

His worst was a 41, July 29th at home against the Tigers. He went 5.1 allowing 7 hits, 4 earned, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts and 1 home run.

He averaged 6.3 innings per start.

Not bad for a 24-year-old. It will be interesting to see what he can do in his prime.

His 5.9 bWAR is tied (with Dave Stieb’s 1990 season) for the 18th best in Jays history. After two seasons, his 8.7 bWAR would put him 24th on our all-time list. Not too bad after 51 starts.

And his 2.24 ERA is the second-best in team history, behind Roger Clemens PED aided 1997 season.

After watching his Wild Card game start, I was wondering if he had a problem with the first inning in starts, but no, he has a 2.03 ERA in the first inning of his starts this year. His best inning is the second when he had a 0.29 ERA.

His Wild Card start wasn’t what we were hoping to see. His 48 GameScore would be tied for his fifth-worst start of the season. He seemed a little hyped up in the first inning, but then bad innings happen even in the regular season.

It was the fifth time this season that Alek allowed 4 earned runs in a start (he never allowed more than 4), and he took the loss in each of those games. You would have thought that our offense could have had his back in at least one of those games.

Alek led the league in hit batters again (though there were three NL pitchers with more), but after hitting 16 in 111.2 innings last year, he hit 15 in 196.2 this year.

He is a lot of fun to watch. He seems fearless out there. And he’s very consistent, he allowed 3 or less runs in 27 of his 31 starts. And 4 or less in all his starts.

Manoah gets a lot of comparisons to CC Sabathia, which is pretty good, since CC played 19 seasons in the majors, had 251 wins and won a Cy Young. Both are very big men. CC is listed at 300 pounds, Manaoh at 285.

CC had four seasons and 69 wins by the end of his age-24 season. But Alek has time to catch up. I’d like to think Alek has a Cy Young in his future too.

Before the season we asked:

  • If Manoah would throw more than the 133 innings PECOTA projected. 91% of us were right.
  • If Manoah would have an ERA above or below the 3.76 they projected. 68% of us were right.
  • And which projected starter would finish with the highest bWAR. Only 11% picked Alek.


For his 2022 season I would grade Alek Manoah an

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