Why Blue Jay Alek Manoah deserves some love in AL rookie of the year discussion

For all the talk around the Blue Jays and individual awards this year — and there has been a lot of it — one player’s bid has been quieter than the rest.

Alek Manoah for American League rookie of the year.

This month, the 23-year-old right-hander earned a bit of support from a panel of experts in an MLB.com poll. Manoah, drafted in the first round in 2019, made his big-league debut on May 27 and has been a mainstay of the rotation ever since.

But how close is he to winning, really? Is he Robbie Ray/Cy Young close? Or Vladimir Guerrero Jr./MVP close? Or is Manoah more like teammates Marcus Semien and Teoscar Hernández, who are sure to get some top-10 votes for MVP but won’t touch the hardware?

Let’s take a look.

The big picture

Unlike in the National League, where Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India seems to be walking away with top rookie honours, the AL race is much tighter, which bodes well for Manoah. Fourteen AL players received at least one vote in MLB.com’s poll. The odds, however, favour a non-pitcher winning. On the Sports Betting Dime website, four of the top six AL candidates are position players.

The field

  • Position players: Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, who had a monster post-season in 2020 but still qualifies for the award, was tied for the best fWAR among AL rookies at 2.6 (all stats through…

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