Manoah Finds Comfort Zone With Pick By Toronto Blue Jays

Manoah Finds Comfort Zone With Pick By Toronto Blue Jays

The only problem Alek Manoah had with getting drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays? Figuring out a way to make his initial trip to the Canadian city for his jersey and signing ceremony.

“I don’t even have a passport,” Manoah laughed after being picked 11th by the Jays, matching the highest ever selection for a WVU player. “We’re figuring out that right now.”

West Virginia pitcher Alek Manoah puts all his effort into a pitch

Of course, there will be plenty for Manoah to figure out over the coming days and weeks. The Jays’ front office will have to decide where he will start his pro career. He’ll meet new teammates, although he does have a couple of connections in the minor league system. Most importantly, he’ll begin facing players of equal talent level all the time, not just once or twice at most in an opposing batting order.

Those things are still to come, though, and he felt his pro career got off to a great start in being selected by Toronto.

“I think it was a perfect fit for me. I met with people in the front office two or three weeks ago, and I’m glad they were able to pick me. They believe in a lot of things I believe in,” he rattled off quickly. “I am extremely excited to get there and start to work.”

There was a chance that Manoah would be a top ten selection, as there were also talks with teams like the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves, who were just ahead of the Blue Jays in the draft order, but he wasn’t concerned with not making it into the first ten picks.

“Once the draft got to 8, my agent texted me and said it won’t be the Rangers at eight. Then at nine, he texted me again and said the Braves are going to make the same mistake. I think God has a plan for me, and it worked out that I am going to Toronto. I had really good meetings and a connection with them. Their GM (Ross Atkins) is from the Miami area, so that was another tie.”

The Blue Jays front office was enamored with Manoah’s size and velocity, of course, and envision him as a starting pitcher, although some analysts disagree with that assessment. That’s right in Manaoh’s wheelhouse, though. Give him a challenge, and watch him work.

West Virginia pitcher Alek Manoah

“We’re excited about the pitch mix that Alek brings to the table — three pitches, power stuff, a lot of strikes — and confident that he’s got all the ingredients to be a key cog in a Major League rotation,” Toronto director of amateur scouting Steve Sanders told

“I’m ready to do whatever they want me to do, but the plan is for me to be a starter right now,” Manoah confirmed. “That is my career goal. I feel extremely prepared.”

It wasn’t always that way.

“My dream growing up has always been to be a catcher,” he said, which certainly suited his strongly built frame and big arm. “That’s what I played growing up. But people started noticing my arm and my size and they started to see potential as a pitcher. It wasn’t really until my senior year of high school that I started thinking I could make it as a pitcher.”

Manoah doesn’t consider his dream accomplished yet, however.

“My dream isn’t to get drafted, it is to pitch in the big leagues. this is one goal achieved, but there is still more to go.”

Manoah was the second pitcher taken in the draft, behind TCU’s Nick Lodolo, who went to the Cincinnati Reds with the seventh overall selection.

Toronto’s bonus pool amount which they can spend in this year’s draft is $8.46 million. The value allotted to the No. 11 pick is $4.55 million. That does not mean Manoah will receive that entire amount, but it is a fairly close guide, and without question life-changing money.

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