Tim Kurkjian on Alek Manoah The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast

Longtime ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian is the latest guest on The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast, and he's a big fan of former Mountaineer Alek Manoah. In this interview with Ryan Decker, Kurkjian breaks down Manoah's presence on the mound, and explains why the pitcher's career with the Blue Jays has begun with so much success.  Kurkjian also dishes on another former Mountaineer, John Means, who will miss the remainder of the MLB season due to injury. The Orioles ace is the only former Mountaineer to throw a big league no-hitter. 

Roughly three months of the Major League Baseball season have been played, and Alek Manoah has been one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Following his start on Wednesday, which put him in elite company with the likes of Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan, the former Mountaineer hurler is 9-2 with a 2.09 ERA.

He is tied for second in the MLB in wins, fifth in ERA, and tied for first in quality starts (13).

Manoah, according to MLB.com, is also currently tied for second in the AL Cy Young Award race.

A total of 44 MLB.com contributors weighed in for the site’s latest Cy Young poll.

Manoah received three first-place votes, putting him in a tie with Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander for the second-most in the American League. Tampa Bay Rays starter Shane McClanahan received the most first-place votes of any pitcher in both leagues.

Here is a comparison of the three pitchers’ stat lines thus far:

  • McClanahan: 8-3, 1.77 ERA, 11 QS, 2.8 WAR, 0.83 WHIP, 123 K, 16 BB
  • Manoah: 9-2, 2.05 ERA, 13 QS, 3.1 WAR, 0.96 WHIP, 85 K, 19 BB
  • Verlander: 10-3, 2.03 ERA, 11 QS, 2.4 WAR, 0.83 WHIP 90 K, 17 BB

Manoah currently has the third-best odds to win the American League Cy Young Award, according to odds compiled by Rotowire.

The big right-hander is expected to make at least two more starts before the all-star break.

It is widely expected that Manoah will make the AL all-star team for the first time this year. If he does, he will be just the second former Mountaineer to ever be selected as an MLB all-star.

While Manoah has, statistically, put himself in the same categories as Clemens and Ryan, the start to his career can also be compared to Clayton Kershaw, CC Sabathia and Tim Hudson.