Right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah, the fourth West Virginia player to earn All-America honors and first named first team since 2010, was drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft on Monday night, going to the Toronto Blue Jays with the 11th overall choice.
He stands 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, but that’s not the only statistic that sets Manoah apart. The Miami native struck out 144 (fifth in the NCAA) in a school-record 16 starts, easily breaking the single-season school record (123) set in 1964 by John Radosevich. He also is No. 3 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.33/1) and tied for sixth in victories (nine) and shutouts (two).
He struck out 15 in consecutive starts April 12 and April 20 this season against Texas Tech and Kansas.
Manoah, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, joins Bill Marovic (1964), Chris Enochs (twice in 1997) and Jedd Gyorko (2010) as WVU’s first-team All-Americans.
Manoah’s pitches have been clocked as high as 94-97 mph.
“He pitches with so much emotion,” MLB Network analyst John Smoltz said, “that you can be assured you are going to get a guy that puts everything he has into his craft.”
MLB Network’s Jonathan Mayo added, “There are still some questions about his command. It’s hard to repeat your delivery when you’re that big.”
Most analysts believe Manoah, the second pitcher drafted, could find a place in the back end of the bullpen, if he doesn’t land in the starting rotation.