The Toronto Blue Jays’ throwing prospect hailed the Twitter frenzy that followed his triple A debut on Thursday night, but he didn’t let it add any pressure or expectations.
“Never think ahead, never think back,” Manoah said in an interview on Sportsnet 590 Le Fan. “Just try to stay in the moment. I think that’s how I’m able to overcome all the adversity that I’ve been through, some of the challenges that I’ve been through. Just try to stay where I am right now. “
The 22-year-old right-hander threw six scoreless frames with 12 strikeouts with the Buffalo Bisons against the Worcester Red Sox, showing off his four-seam fastball while mixing up a change and a slider. The performance immediately kicked off projections of when Blue Jays fans will be able to see him in the big leagues.
“The heat was really good,” the six-foot-six Manoah said of Thursday’s outing. “I was able to throw the radiator on both sides of the plate, and that just opened up everything else. The cursor was really good – early in the count and late in the count. The change has been quite devastating too. , right-handed and left-handed people, to get balls on the ground. “
Manoah is currently ranked sixth on the Blue Jays’ prospect list. A product of the University of West Virginia, he was drafted in the first round of the 2019 Draft.
On his first outing over the A-single, Manoah witnessed the difference in level of play every time he took a step forward. Although he didn’t throw a single walk on Thursday, he did hit three hitters, which he said served as a wake-up call.
“(I need) advanced focus on every pitch,” Manoah said. “And I learned that last night. Three strokes per stroke, you kind of get into cruise control, and the next thing you know, a slip. And it’s like, ‘hey, we need to focus.’ A change stays above the plate, you give up a shot, you say to yourself ‘hey, we need to focus’. So I think this is a nice step in my development, just keep keeping that laser focus before mistakes happen to try and avoid them. “
The discussion around Manoah is not just about when he will be called, but also about the quality of it. The prospect is currently seen as a two-step right-hander, with a slider and the reliable four-seam, which has generated discussions about him as a good option for the bullpen.
But the Florida native disagrees.
“A couple of my strikeouts last night were changing,” he said. “I think I was able to get about three or four ground ball outs with the change. And they weren’t just left-handed. … So this land is exactly where it needs to be, man. The development is there, the confidence is there. “
Manoah can also count on the occasional lead in his arsenal.
“It’s distinctive, the difference between my lead and my four seams. So even though people want to advertise it as a single pitch, just a fastball, it’s definitely a different feeling for a batter to have that ball running over it. their hands and things like that.
“So being able to mix that with the change, I think it’s a really good mix that I’ve started right now. I just have to keep developing it, focusing and throwing it in the right places at the right time. “
The guy brings the energy !! Fun to watch my brother! @ Alek_Manoah47 https://t.co/vOFc0jtC5C
– Nate Pearson (@ big_nate5) May 7, 2021
Widely regarded as a genuine man, Manoah appreciates the relationship he has established with other great prospects in the Blue Jays organization, such as Nate Pearson and Simeon Woods Richardson.
He knows he’s exactly where he needs to be, but Manoah also appreciates where he and his potential colleagues are going.
“We have a very good camaraderie. There is a lot of competitiveness that can turn into envy, but there is just a lot of real love between us. I just think we’re all very close and we all know how special we can be once we get there. “