Manoah Mania

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Alek Manoah wowed during spring training with two scoreless outings against the Yankees. Now he’ll get to face them in his first major league start.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported and it was since backed up by multiple other outlets that Manoah will be summoned by the Blue Jays to make his major league debut on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. He’ll be the first pitcher and second player from the 2019 Draft class to debut, joining Andrew Vaughn in the big leagues.

After being taken with the No. 11 pick in 2019 following a decorated college career at West Virginia, Manoah made six starts at Short-Season Vancouver later that year, dominating over an abbreviated 17 innings with a 27/5 K/BB ratio.

Although his minor league season in 2020 was wiped out, Manoah worked hard on improving his changeup at the Blue Jays’ alternate site, where he impressed everyone in the organization. The expectations for the big right-hander only grew after he tossed seven scoreless innings during spring training, allowing just one hit and no walks while fanning 15 batters.

Even though Manoah hadn’t pitched in a real game (not including the Grapefruit League) since August of 2019 and had never appeared for a full-season club since becoming a pro, the Jays challenged him with an assignment to Triple-A Buffalo to begin 2021. He handled it with ease, giving up just one run on seven hits and three walks while striking out 27 over 18 innings.

In addition to the aforementioned improving changeup, Manoah boasts a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and he pairs it with a wipeout slider. Given his limited pro experience, it’s fair to question what kind of workload Manoah might be allowed to have as the season moves along. However, he went six innings in each of his three Triple-A outings, so it doesn’t look to be much of a road block in the short term.

On Monday prior to news of Manoah’s impending promotion broke, my colleague and all-around swell guy Christopher Crawford listed the right-hander as his No. 5 prospect for the remainder of 2021 from a fantasy perspective. You’re going to have to update that list next week, Chris.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Austin Gomber vs. NYM – 8 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K

Gomber took advantage of an undermanned Mets lineup Monday. The left-hander went a career-high eight-plus innings, limiting the Mets to just two solo home runs and no walks. Since his disastrous 1 2/3 inning, nine-run start in late April against the Giants, Gomber has posted a 2.97 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 32/3 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 frames covering his last five outings.

Brandon Woodruff vs. SD – 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 8 K

Another day, another brilliant outing from Woodruff. The right-hander permitted a couple singles in the first inning and another in the fourth and that was it. Woodruff now boasts a 1.41 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 73/14 K/BB ratio over 64 innings. He and co-ace Corbin Burnes combined have a 1.55 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 140/16 K/BB ratio over 104 1/3 innings covering 17 starts.

Matt Shoemaker vs. BAL – 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K

After putting up a 7.83 ERA in his first five starts of the season, it’s probably fair to say that Shoemaker is pitching to keep his rotation spot pretty much every time he goes out there. He has been better of late, though, posting a 3.13 ERA over his last four outings while going six frames each of his last three times out. Shoemaker has been walking too many and has always been susceptible to the long ball, so he’s walking a tight rope.

Hitters with an EDGE

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. vs. TB – 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Vladdy Jr. was at it again during an afternoon tilt against the Rays on Monday. He hit a mammoth 461-foot blast for a solo shot in the fourth inning before tying things up in the eighth with a two-run blast before the Blue Jays eventually fell in extra innings. It’s already the first baseman’s third multi-homer game this season, and he’s now tied with Ronald Acuna Jr. for the major league lead with his 15 dingers.

Joey Wendle vs. TOR – 3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI

Wendle slugged his second career grand slam as part of the Rays’ five-run first inning on Monday versus the Blue Jays. He reached base four times on the day, also adding a double, single and a hit by pitch as the Rays won their 11th straight game. Wendle has now gone deep six times already this season, which is only one off his career high.

Willi Castro vs. CLE – 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI

Castro has been losing playing time lately, but he got the start on Monday against the Indians and drove in three of the Tigers’ five runs. The infielder had started only two of the last six contests prior to Monday’s game, but I suspect he’ll be receiving a second straight start on Tuesday.

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Priority Pickup

Garrett Cooper, 1B/OF, Marlins – available in 84 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues

Cooper didn’t start Monday’s game against the Phillies, but that didn’t stop him from extending his hitting streak to nine games. He contributed a pinch-hit single, stayed in the game and added an RBI double in the Marlins’ win. Over those nine contests, Cooper is now batting .455 (15-for-33) with three home runs, four doubles, a triple and 10 RBI. The 30-year-old has proven capable of being useful in fantasy leagues when healthy, and he’s healthy now and red-hot.

Closing Time

Emmanuel Clase picked up the save for the Indians on Monday in Detroit, pitching around a couple walks (one intentional) and a single to nail down a one-run victory. James Karinchak had recorded the last two saves for the Tribe but was likely unavailable Monday after pitching the previous two days.

After Austin Gomber’s complete game bid came up short when he gave up a solo home run and then a single to put the tying run on base with no outs in the ninth, Rockies manager Bud Black called up Carlos Estevez. He did the job, getting a flyout and a couple strikeouts to preserve the win. Daniel Bard was surely unavailable after pitching the last two days, and Black went with Estevez over Mychal Givens, who has scuffled lately.

Keynan Middleton notched his third save of the season for the Mariners on Monday in Oakland, striking out a pair in a 1-2-3 inning to nail down a win. Kendall Graveman is on the COVID-19 injured list and Rafael Montero appeared earlier in the game, so the ninth was left for Middleton. Also worth noting is Erik Swanson had arguably the highest-leverage appearance, entering in the eighth with a runner on second and the tying run at the plate. He walked the first hitter he faced but then set down the next three swinging.

Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day

Jack Flaherty (STL) vs. Lucas Giolito (CWS)

Not only is this a matchup of two of the best pitchers in baseball, it’s a matchup of former high school teammates. Flaherty and Giolito were members of the same Harvard-Westlake High School rotation back in the day (along with Max Fried), and White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz was their pitching coach. Flaherty enters the game with an MLB-best 8-0 record and 2.53 ERA. Giolito has been a little more up and down but is coming off his best start of the season.

American League Quick Hits: Andrew Vaughn doubled and cranked a go-ahead, two-run homer on Monday against the Cardinals … Yusei Kikuchi tossed six innings of one-run ball Monday in Oakland before being lifted due to cramping in his back. He’s expected to be ready for his next outing … Lance Lynn limited his former team, the Cardinals, to one run over six frames to pick up a win Monday … Byron Buxton (hip) could begin a rehab assignment before the end of this week … Nelson Cruz (wrist) missed a fifth straight start Monday but appeared in the game as a pinch-hitter … Jorge Polanco (ankle) missed a fourth straight start Monday but will likely return to the lineup Tuesday … Frankie Montas struck out a season-high 11 batters but yielded four runs over six innings on Monday against the Mariners … Trevor Larnach had an RBI single and hit a 461-foot home run in the Twins’ win over the Orioles on Monday … Lourdes Gurriel went 3-for-5 with a solo home run on Monday versus the Rays … Ty France (wrist) doubled in one of his four plate appearances in his return to action Monday … Austin Hays sat out Monday’s game with a tight hamstring … Wilson Ramos was placed back on the IL Monday with a recurrence of his back injury … Ji-Man Choi exited Monday’s game with soreness in his surgically-repaired right knee.

National League Quick Hits: The Mets are hopeful of getting Pete Alonso (hand) and Seth Lugo (elbow) back next week, but they don’t anticipate Carlos Carrasco (hamstring), Michael Conforto (hamstring) or Jeff McNeil (hamstring) to make it back until at least late June … The Brewers put Trent Grisham (foot) on the injured list Monday. Meanwhile, Manny Machado (shoulder) missed another start but has avoided the IL for now … Keston Hiura reached base twice and struck out twice in his return to the majors on Monday … The Diamondbacks activated Carson Kelly (toe) from the injured list Monday, sending Daulton Varsho back to the minors … Sixto Sanchez will throw a bullpen session Tuesday for the first time since hurting his shoulder in late March … Harrison Bader was removed from Monday’s game versus the White Sox with a rib injury, but X-rays came back negative … Brian Anderson aggravated a left shoulder injury on Monday, forcing his removal from a game against the Phillies … Dylan Carlson (back) returned to action Monday but went hitless in four plate appearances … Starling Marte (rib) will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday.