Alek Manoah’s confidence, the charisma that helps him find a foothold in the MLB

by Pedro Mora
FOX Sports MLB Writer

In mid-May, it was Cincinnati Reds Travel to Toronto for a rare overlapping match against blue jays. Ahead of the first round of the three games, a few Jays bowlers gathered to plot their plans against the Reds’ lineup filled with little-known players and starters.

veteran Kevin GussmanNew to the team, share what he knows about the likes Tyler Naken And the Tommy Fam of his time in the National League. When Gusman arrived joy photoCincinnati’s cleaning batsman thought he didn’t have to sum up the 38-year-old’s qualifications or strengths.

But the start of the second year was tumultuous Alek Manoh Spoken: Who was it?

“Man,” Gussman said, “Joy Foto’s first Hall of Fame vote.”

“How long has he been playing?” Manoah asked.

“you do not know him?” Gusman replied skeptically.

“Not much,” Manoah admitted.

Gusman could only laugh and offer his exploratory report. The next day Foto drove into the Cincinnati singles with a double, but Manoah recovered to fire eight effective rounds in victory. This is how it applies to the 24-year-old right-hand man who doesn’t study sports like most of his peers.

“He’s so young that he still doesn’t know some of the men he’s up against,” Gussman said. “It’s like: ‘Tell me about this guy. Does he have time in the major leagues? And you’re like, ‘Yeah, he has 10 years. You do not know such and such? He was on the 2009 World Championship team. He played for this team, this team, this team.”

It’s like ‘no’.

Manouh does not dispute these accounts.

“I’d rather just play,” he said. “Play and find out from there.”

His strategy was solid. By 18 starts this season, Manoah has had a 2.28 ERA over 114 2/3 innings. Fifteen times in 2022, he held his opponents by two runs or less.

The eleventh selection of the 2019 draft, Manoah made just nine minor league appearances before making his major league debut in May 2021. He received starter votes for this year last season and an All-Star nod this season. Obviously, he can dominate men he doesn’t know.

“At first, I was like, ‘Is he bulls – cheating on me?’ But, no, it really is,” said Gussmann. “I think a small part of that is why it’s so good. He has complete confidence in himself. He feels like the best man ever.”

At at least 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, Manoah is within a few pounds of flaunting a typical NFL left-handling body. But he casts more brilliantly than it makes it seem.

With its 93 mph sink, it was quite average in terms of generating strikes but at the 97th percentile in generating poor contact. He could impress the best of them, even in the East Elite. Yankees star Aaron Judge It is 1 for 14 against Manoah. red socks star Raphael Devers Not much better.

“Strengthening my strengths is the most important thing,” said Manoh. “Sometimes, not knowing a guy’s weakness can kind of help me attack him.”

In other words, when Gussmann told him that the hitter could handle dips, Manoah asked, “Well, what about my dipter?”

The Toronto season so far has been more bumpy than the organization and industry had expected. 2021 All-Star Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. , Bo Bechet And the Tuscar Hernandez All of them did not live up to expectations. Precious Business Acquisitions Jose Perios And the Matt ChapmanAlso, disappointed. hyun jin ryu out for this year. The team recently fired its manager, Charlie Montoyo.

But the Blue Jays remain more likely than not to do post-season, due in large part to Manoah, their burgeoning stock and their preeminent source of entertainment. As he explained while wearing a microphone on FOX during the broadcast of the All-Star Game, Manoah is comfortable talking through anything.

He even asked broadcasters Joe Davis and John Smoltz to provide real-time suggestions on how to show Jock Pederson.

“I haven’t read the Scout Report,” Manoah admitted.

He was still hitting the side, endearing to millions and screaming as he ran off the hill.

“I didn’t realize he was as open-minded as he is,” Gussman said earlier this year, standing in the squalid area of ​​Angel Stadium. “He can talk to this dirt here. He has a way of getting into it, and it’s contagious.”

Last week, this energy earned him some fans among his All-Star teammates, even Manoah knew some of them. begged Miguel Cabrera And the Albert Pujols, two of his childhood idols, for having a picture taken during the festivities. Asked Justin Verlanderstar all nine times, for advice.

Verlander noted that Manoah’s career path mirrored his own.

“He didn’t spend much time with the palace,” Verlander said. “He had a lot of success early in his career. To be able to do that, I know how difficult it is. I really enjoy watching him play.”

Manoah Verlander is also studying. It’s not like he doesn’t know any top players. Slowly, surely, he is gaining an understanding of the league.

“If one day he encounters a man,” Closer Jays Jordan Romano He said: He knows who he is and knows how to get him out.

Pedro Moura is the National Baseball Writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the Dodgers for three seasons for The Athletic and before that, Angels and Dodgers for five seasons for the Orange County Register and LA Times. Previously, he covered his home school, USC, for The son of Brazilian immigrants, he grew up in the suburbs of Southern California. His first book, How to Beat a Broken Game, came out this spring. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.

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