Alek Manoah just wants to win. According to the Blue Jays pitcher, he’s always been that way, a product of growing up competing with his older brother Erik (also a pitcher, and currently playing pro ball in the independent Atlantic League) over even the most mundane chores. “That mentality was instilled into us at an early age,” he told me earlier this season. After announcing himself on the scene with a 9-2 record as a rookie in 2021, Manoah’s looking to build off that early success this year.

So far, so good.

Pegged by many as a potential breakout candidate coming into this season, he’s somehow managed to exceed even those high expectations, pitching his way into the AL Cy Young conversation. The former first-round pick’s rapid acceleration from promising piece to rising ace has helped give the Jays a deadly rotation to start the year, as the team waited for their equally deadly lineup to inevitably heat up.

Yes, it’s still early. But even though Manoah’s only a few months into his first full season in the majors, the 6-foot-6 righty already carries himself like a seasoned vet, hunting for wins out on the mound the same way power hitters hunt for fastballs middle-in. He’s currently tied for the league lead with 9, although Manoah’s quick to point out that the only W that matters to him is a team win—something the Jays have done in over 76 percent of his 34 career starts. Much like his fellow Miami native DJ Khaled, all he does is win.

Complex Complex spoke with Manoah about his mindset coming into this year, the sting of missing the playoffs by a single game in 2021, and why he pays more attention to his win-loss record than his ERA.