We finally turn to the Buffalo Bisons, the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate.
The newest member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ family, Alex Anthopoulos promised to put a winning squad in Buffalo and populated the team with veteran minor leaguers. As such, there weren’t too many true prospects on the Bisons but a few made the jump to the majors this season.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Champion
For those of you that followed along with my daily Minor League Reports on Jays Journal (that I started at the old Blue Jays from Away blogger site) and on Twitter, you’ll know that I “awarded” Player of the Game (PotG) accolades on a game-by-game basis. It should comfort you to know that I’ve been keeping track of these daily awards and my rationale for the system is as follows.
The Player of the Game Awards were determined by a number of factors that included who I thought had the most impact on the game and who might have gone “above and beyond.” Most nights, there was just one Player of the Game. If there was, he earned one point. If I thought that either a) no one stood out enough to merit a single PotG, or b) two or more players were outstanding and deserved mention, I split the point up into two or three shares. If two players earned PotG mention, they each received 0.5 points and if three players earned mentions, they each received 0.3 points.
Here are the final standings for Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game for the Buffalo Bisons:
Despite being Designated for assignment and picked up off waivers by the Washington Nationals following the end of the minor league season, 1B/DH Mauro Gomez is our Player of the Game Champion.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
I decided to give this award to a veteran hitter who was a little more consistent than Gomez and could play a little better defense. In addition, Luis Jimenez hit 35 points higher, walked more and struck out less than half the times that Gomez did in about 50 fewer plate appearances. Congratulations to Luis Jimenez!
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
While getting bounced around between the majors and Triple-A, Thad Weber proved that he’s got better than Triple-A stuff, pitching his brains out for 100 innings in Buffalo. He racked up a 2.61 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and had the best strikeout to walk ratio of all the starters.
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
Mickey Storey takes the award with an excellent Triple-A season. Storey threw 59 2/3 innings and struck out 70 batters with a 2.56 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.
Blue Jays from Away Most Improved Player
This was a tough award to decide on, mainly because of the nature of Triple-A these days. There aren’t as many prospects and there are more veteran minor leaguers with major league resumes who are looking to get back to the show or keep making a living playing baseball with their better minor league free agent contracts (that pay far better than the initial contracts players sign after being drafted). At this level, most players are who they are and generally don’t take big steps forward.
With that said, reliever Joel Carreno, pitching at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels, showed big improvements (particularly in Triple-A) over his work at the same levels last year. He came to camp healthy and with a real drive to prove himself after having a shot at the major leagues in 2011 and 2012. He’s still 26, so he’s not as old as you might think he is and he’s positioned himself well to have a shot in 2014.
All photos copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013) and may not be used without permission.