Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
Toronto +137 over N.Y. YANKEES
7:05 PM EST. Domingo Germán (RHP - NYY) missed all of the 2020 season due to a domestic violence suspension. A strong performance during spring training (1.38 ERA, 17/1 K/BB in 13 IP helped him lock down a rotation spot and he hasn’t looked back. He has displayed outstanding control early on, walking exactly one batter in each of his eight starts. The whiffs are down slightly for Germán this season. He continues to miss bats with a curve he throws on about one-third of his offerings (33.3% whiff%), but his four-seamer continues to get punished, with opposing batters slugging .880 on the pitch in the small sample thus far. Home runs have been an issue for Germán (1.7 career HR/9), and this season his fly ball rate is up to 41% leading to seven jacks surrendered in 44 frames.
Not much has changed with German since 2019, the last time he was on a big league mound. He's getting a few less swings-and-misses so far, and his bad fastball and homer-prone tendencies suggest there could be a couple blow-ups in his future. Don’t get us wrong, as dude is very capable but this might not be a great matchup against the power-hitting Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays have been scoring runs in bunches; they’re pacing the league over the last 30 days. However, Jays fans’ are very aware that the pitching staff hasn’t been keeping pace over the same period. The bullpen has dealt with plenty of injuries and their MLB roster page lists four healthy starters. Alex Manoah (RHP - TOR) is going to try to fill a hole in the roster and earn himself a long-term stay on the big league roster.
Manoah makes his first career start and it comes at Yankee Stadium. Dude was taken by the Blue Jays with the 11th overall selection in the 2019 draft out of West Virginia University despite only a single season as a full-time starter at the collegiate level. He blew up in the Cape prior to his Junior year in Morgantown and did enough the following year against college bats to convince the Jays to snag him in the first round.
There isn’t a long minor-league track record to discuss—after the 2019 June draft, Manoah finished out the year in Low-A, and then like every other minor leaguer, lost a season to the pandemic. As a professional, he has only tossed 35 innings across nine starts, but those innings have been impressive. He has registered a career 1.54 ERA, 13.9 K/9, and an impressive 2.1 BB/9. So far in 2021 he has notched three starts and a 0.50 ERA in Triple-A.
This offseason Manoah wasn’t considered to be major-league ready. The projection was mainly due to some down reports coming from Blue Jays alternate site action. Manoah went completely unmentioned this spring by scouts. Early reports said he always had a body poorly suited to starting and a high-effort delivery. Group those facts with a fastball that declined in velo last year, and the bullpen looked like the most likely outcome. That said, the fastball velo has returned (92-95 of late) thus far in 2021. His slider has always been his best pitch. He will also mix in a change, but the fastball/slider tandem is going to be his bread and but.
It is unclear if the Blue Jays are looking for a long-term solution for their rotation or a just spot start from a Triple-A arm who has put up fantastic numbers in a small sample. Manoah’s public prospect stock has taken a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but he has done nothing in-game to hurt his status. He has a short track record as a professional, but if he is able to replicate his minor league success at this level, he may be able to earn an extended stay with the big league club even if they aren’t playing their home games in a hotel. His first test is a tough draw against a Yankees’ that seems to be waking up.
What if Alek Manoah, and not Nate Pearson, is the most MLB-ready Blue Jays pitching prospect? It’s not just that Manoah put up superhuman numbers for Buffalo-on-Trenton, with a 27/3 K/BB ratio in 18 innings. It’s the ease with which he did it. Pearson is clearly talented, but it was possible to feel the effort in every pitch. Manoah looks like someone utterly capable of coming to the big leagues and contributing right away, which is partly why we’re seeing someone with 18 innings above low-A ball getting a shot right now. Essentially, while Toronto asked Pearson to accomplish certain things in Triple-A, Manoah went out and did them. The Blue Jays had a great win to start this series and can absolutely compete with the Yanks.
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Toronto +137 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.74)