Latest leg of the Alek Manoah Redemption Tour went surprisingly positively

The former Blue Jays ace is looking to regain his old form and so far he's off to a good start.

Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians
Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages

Alek Manoah has had one of the most confounding young careers in recent memory. Drafted out of West Virginia in 2019, Manoah made his debut in 2021, finishing eighth in Rookie of the Year voting. With a 3.22 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie, he looked promising.

In 2022, Manoah stepped his game up, posting a 2.24 ERA in 196.2 innings, earning him third place in Cy Young voting. He looked like he was the future of the Blue Jays rotation. Then, in 2023, everything suddently fell apart.

He became unable to throw strikes, walking 6.1 batters per nine innings. The 5.87 ERA didn't help, either. He was eventually sent back to rookie ball for a start, as well as Double-A. He had to do a lot to get right. His first start back went poorly, giving up six runs in 0.1 innings, but after he was subsequently sent down and made his return after that start, it went a little better.

It now looks as if Manoah is making strides in his journey to return to his former self.

What would the return of Alek Manoah this mean for Toronto?

Right now, it's pretty hard to count on the right-hander returning to his Cy Young finalist days. However, it seems as if he's getting a little closer. According to Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic, Manoah had a good outing in his sim game recently.

His velocity was reportedly good, he struck out six batters, and the next step is throwing four innings at Low-A, according to McGrath. It seems as if Toronto is taking its time to get Manoah back to form before they add him back to the rotation.

As previously mentioned, it's hard to imagine Manoah getting back to his 2022-self anytime soon. The Jays currently have Kevin Gausman leading the rotation, and he's taken the place as the team's ace. Jose Berrios has been a reliable innings eater and solid number two his entire career, so they're set at the top of the rotation.

At this point, it seems like Manoah would act as a depth piece until he becomes a pitcher that isn't a liability everytime he takes the mound. I'm sure the dream for Toronto is that he becomes the Manoah of old, but they have more than enough pitching in the event that he doesn't.

In the offseason, there were teams reportedly asking about his availability via trade. In theory, given his performance last year and everything the two sides went through, his trade value should not have been high. Despite that, the Blue Jays elected to hold onto the right-hander.

That would appear to be a sign that the Jays still believe he can get back to a pitcher that, at the very least, would be useful. In his last start of the 2023 season, he struck out six in four innings, despite giving up four runs. Couple that with his recent sim start, there might be some room for optimism. This will continue to be one of the more fascinating stories to monitor over the course of the year and we will see how Toronto handles it in the end. If he can become a reliable starter again, Toronto becomes even more dangerous.