MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s Opening Day in the MLB, and one former Mountaineer will take center stage in a starting role this afternoon.
Alek Manoah, WVU’s single-season strikeouts king and a former first-round pick, is the Opening Day starter for the Toronto Blue Jays. They’ll begin their 2023 campaign this afternoon at St. Louis.
Manoah was one of the big league’s biggest breakout stars a season ago. He finished third in the voting for the AL Cy Yong, and is the only Mountaineer to become a finalist for pro baseball’s top pitching award.
Last season was a much different story for a different former WVU pitcher. Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means is still working his way back to full strength after undergoing Tommy John surgery last April.
Means will begin the 2023 season on the injured list, but could be nearing a return to action soon.
A third pitcher, Michael Grove, was a late addition to the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster Thursday. He was recently assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, but was called up on Opening Day due to an injury to another pitcher.
These former Mountaineers are just three of the 20 big leaguers who previously played or coached college baseball at a Big 12 school. See the full list below:
Players from Big 12 Schools on MLB Rosters (as of March 30 at 11 a.m. ET)
Shea Langeliers, C, Oakland
Max Muncy, 3B, Los Angeles (NL)
Rob Thomson, Manager, Philadelphia
Will Brennan, OF, Cleveland
*Cade Cavalli, P, Washington
Jon Gray, P, Texas
Steven Okert, P, Miami
Oklahoma State (1)
Andrew Heaney, P, Texas
Tyler Alexander, P, Detroit
Matt Carpenter, DH, San Diego
Nick Lodolo, P, Cincinnati
Alex Young, P, Cincinnati
Brandon Belt, 1B, Toronto
John Curtiss, P, New York (NL)
Hoby Milner, P, Milwaukee
Texas Tech (3)
Danny Coulombe, P, Baltimore
Josh Jung, 3B, Texas
Parker Mushinski, P, Houston
West Virginia (3)
Alek Manoah, P, Toronto
*John Means, P, Baltimore
Michael Grove, P, Los Angeles (NL)
* — Starting the year on Injured List