Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and former West Virginia Mountaineer Alek Manoah has had a historic season in 2022, helping lead his team to a 90-win season and a trip to the playoffs. 

Manoah, who was drafted 11th overall by the Blue Jays in the 2019 MLB Draft, has been dominant on the mound, posting a 16-7 record with a 2.24 earned run average and 180 strikeouts. 

Before heading north of the border, Manoah spent three seasons in Morgantown and helped WVU host an NCAA Regional in 2019. 

The Florida native has emerged as the Blue Jays ace in less than two full seasons in the big leagues due to the combination of speed and movement to his pitches, as he dazzles hitters with sinking fastballs, deceptive changeups, and devastating sliders. 

One of Manoah’s best attributes aside from his pitch repertoire, is his competitiveness and bulldog mentality. 

In today’s MLB, starting pitchers typically don’t work deep into games, as managers tend to give way to their bullpen by the fifth or sixth inning. 

Manoah has not accepted that narrative, as the 6-foot-6 right-hander has pitched at least six innings in 25 of his starts in 2022 and has lasted seven or more innings in 10 of those outings. 

Manoah didn’t even let a stomach bug back in mid-September pry him away from his mound, as the 24-year-old threw 6.2 innings, allowing just five hits and two runs in the back end of a double-header, less than 24 hours after considering a trip to the hospital. 

“It’s my turn in the rotation,” Manoah said after leading his team to another victory. “It’s my job to go out there when it’s my turn and give it my all.” 

Manoah has become a fan-favorite by showing lots of emotion on the field, and never backing away from anyone. Manoah also became a staple in the clubhouse when he stepped up and publicly defended his catcher, Alejandro Kirk, after a radio personality said Kirk was “embarrassing for the sport” because of his figure. 

The former Mountaineer is must-see TV right now, as FOX had him wear a microphone during his performance in the MLB All-Star Game in front of a sold-out Dodger Stadium back in July. 

The Blue Jays ace struck out three of the four National League All-Stars he faced, and the video of him mowing down the talent received over a million views on Twitter alone. 

Manoah’s impact on WVU’s baseball program will last far longer than his three years in Morgantown, as the recognition he gets sheds light on this state and this university.

“He’s the turning point in the history of our program,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “When he’s pitching, there’s rarely a game that goes by when an announcer doesn’t say he pitched at West Virginia. He changed the face of West Virginia baseball.” 

Manoah and Toronto now turn to postseason play, as the Blue Jays will face the Seattle Mariners in the American League Wild Card Series. 

The Mariners will be getting their first sniff of playoff baseball in 21 years on Friday, and the formidable Manoah will be staring them down for game one of the series in Toronto’s Rogers Centre.