Thanks to everyone who’ve been following along so far. Here’s when we really start to get closer to the major leagues with just three minor league affiliates left.
The Dunedin Blue Jays were a study in contrasts this year, showing outstanding pitching but very weak hitting throughout the year. While the club managed to make the playoffs thanks to winning their division for the first half of the season, they were ousted quickly and will look to regroup over the winter.
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 Dunedin Blue Jays:
The club winner, by a very narrow margin is first baseman K.C. Hobson! You can see how dominant Andy Burns was in Dunedin by coming in second place, just one point behind Hobson, despite only playing in Dunedin for half a season. As you probably have figured out by now, this award favours hitters because they play every day but Jesse Hernandez and Scott Copeland had a very respectable seven points each.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
The award goes to Andy Burns. While Burns only played half the year with the Blue Jays, his .907 OPS was far and away the best on the team unless you include players with 30 or fewer at bats. Despite the limited playing time in Dunedin (before his promotion to New Hampshire), Burns had the best batting average, third most home runs, a share the club lead in triples, second most RBI, second most runs scored and a share of the second most stolen bases. Despite playing only 64 games, Andy Burns was, by far, the best position player on the team.
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
Once again, I’m going to go with a surprise here for this award. Congrats to Austin Bibens-Dirkx, the Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year! Now remember that I’m looking at who was the best pitcher for the club this season. I know some people might think that Aaron Sanchez should get the award because he’s the team’s top prospect or because he’s so young for the level while Bibens-Dirkx is a wily veteran. But look at things the other way: Sanchez oozes talent and didn’t do as good of a job as Bibens-Dirkx in getting the same batters out.
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
Ajay Meyer didn’t start out as the team’s closer but he had an outstanding year for the D-Jays, inheriting the role later in the year and taking home the Reliever of the Year Award! Meyer had an unbelievable K/BB ratio of 9.50/1 (76 strikeouts to just eight walks) while shouldering a hefty workload of 68 1/3 innings.
Blue Jays from Away Most Improved Player
While several players showed great improvement year over year, Mike Crouse earns the award. Last season was rough for the B.C. native after an outstanding 2011 that saw a trio of Lansing Lugnuts (Crouse, Toronto native Marcus Knecht and current Miami Marlin Jake Marisnick) get promoted together to Dunedin. By the end of 2012, the trio was split up, with Marisnick in New Hampshire, Knecht struggling through the season in Dunedin and Crouse getting demoted (and still hitting poorly) back to Lansing. 2013 was a step in the right direction for Crouse who hit .250/.343/.403 with eight home runs, 18 doubles and 21 stolen bases in 300 at bats. At 6’4″, 215, the 22 year old has a lot of untapped power potential in his bat (I’ve seen him take BP and he can crush it) and next season could be a real breakout year for him.
Note: All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013) and may not be used without permission.