Alek Manoah’s right shoulder is still sore, likely won’t be ready for Opening Day

Photo credit:Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
Well, this isn’t a great start to the season.
According to MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson, Alek Manoah’s bullpen session scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled.
Why? Well, it appears that his right shoulder is still not 100%, an injury he picked up after his first start. Moreover, it appears that Manoah won’t be ready for opening day, according to Matheson.
Manoah finished third in American League Cy Young voting in 2022, posting a 2.24 ERA and a 3.35 FIP in 196.2 innings pitched. Moreover, he had a 22.9 K% and a 6.5 BB%, finishing behind Justin Verlander and Dylan Cease.
The 2023 season didn’t go nearly as well for Manoah, as the righty posted a 5.87 ERA and a 6.01 FIP in 87.1 innings pitched. While his K% dropped slightly to 19%, his BB% jumped from an acceptable rate at 6.5%, to one of the worst BB% for a starter at 14.2%.
Toronto unfortunately had to take him out of the rotation in June and sent him to the Florida Complex League, where he gave up 11 earned runs in just 2.2 innings pitched. This wasn’t a great look, as players in the FCL are usually under 20 years old.
Heading into Spring Training, it was encouraging to see how Manoah looked as he shed some weight and looked in great shape. However, he gave up four earned runs in an inning and two thirds for a 21.60 ERA and a 10.80 FIP, so not great.
It’s hard to tell what went wrong for Manoah from 2022 to 2023. One hypothesis I have is that his inning count jumped too quickly. In 2017, Manoah pitched 55.2 innings with West Virginia University (WVU). The next season between college and summer ball, Manoah pitched 87.1 innings, before a jump of 125.1 innings pitched in 2019 between WVU and Short-A Vancouver.
Of course, we don’t know how much he pitched in terms of innings at the alternate site during the plague season, but Manoah started only three games, or 18 innings, in 2021 with the Buffalo Bisons before a May call up. That year with the Jays, he pitched 111.2 innings pitched, or 129.2 total innings pitched, so far so good.
While Manoah was excellent in 2022, he went from around 130 innings pitched to 196.2 innings, a significant jump. Maybe, just maybe, the workload was just too much to deal with so soon in his career.
That’s just speculation of course and there could be other factors we don’t know about. However, with a limited Spring Training, it appears that Manoah will probably start the season on the injured list or in Triple-A Buffalo.
Either way, let’s hope the 26-year-old can find what made him a dominant force in 2022.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


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