For those of you that may not know, the R. Howard Webster Awards go to each of the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates’ Most Valuable Players.
In 2013, seven of the eight awards went to position players, a trend that is fairly prominent. Since 2009, only nine (of 39 possible winners) have been pitchers, with Justin Nicolino winning an award twice. To me, many of the award winners are pretty surprising but it appears (historically) that the Blue Jays tend to give the award to players who stayed with one minor league affiliate for most of that year and not necessarily the best player on that team. Without further ado, the 2013 Webster Winners!
Ryan Goins tops off a sweet season that saw him earn a major league call-up with the 2013 Webster Award for the Buffalo Bisons. While Goins had a solid season with the Bisons (.257/.311/.359), I’m surprised he took home the award. Jim Negrych had a better season as did Kevin Pillar and Andy LaRoche. I mean, if they’re going to give it to a middle infielder who had mediocre numbers, why not give the award to Justin Germano, a starting pitcher who had okay numbers but was a workhorse for the staff? This is Goins’s second Webster Award (2012, New Hamsphire).
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Brad Glenn won the award for the Fisher Cats and had an very nice season in his second year at the level (.264/.334/.459). While I wouldn’t say that he wasn’t deserving, I could suggest that Adam Loewen had a better year (with a slightly higher OPS) and could easily have won the award. On the pitching side, why not give the award to Marcus Stroman or Sean Nolin? Were they not more instrumental in keeping the Fisher Cats in a playoff race for as long as they were?
Dunedin Blue Jays
The powers that be selected second baseman Jon Berti as the winner of this award and, despite his lack of power, I think he actually deserves. From all accounts the speedy 23 year old is a hard worker and had a solid .338 OBP to go with his FSL leading 56 stolen bases. Despite some strong work from some of the pitchers, I won’t really argue this one.
Congrats to Dwight Smith, Jr., winner of the 2013 Webster for the Lugnuts. This another award that I whole-heartedly agree with. While, if you look at OPS, he’s just single-digit points away from Emilio Guerrero and Dalton Pompey, Smith was the most consistent player on the club over the course of the whole season and his .284/.365/.388 slash line (with 25 SBs) doesn’t appear to be a fluke.
Northwest League MVP L.B. Dantzler took home the prize. Again, I have no problems with this selection as Dantlzer was far and away the best hitter for the Canadians, hitting .302/.385/.504 with a league-leading nine home runs.
Bluefield Blue Jays
Another league leader takes home some hardware with Matthew Dean, the Bluefield Blue Jays’ slugging first-baseman winning the Webster. In addition to being the Appalachian League batting champion (hitting .338), Dean also had a share of the team lead with six home runs.
Gulf Coast League Blue Jays
Concurring with me, the Blue Jays named Franklin Barreto the 2013 Webster Award winner for the GCL Jays. While Boomer Collins might have been considered for this award, there are no issues with Barreto, who hit .299/.368/.529, taking it home.
Dominican Summer League Blue Jays
Right-handed pitcher Miguel Castro (who earned some US playing time this year in the both the GCL and with the Bluefield Blue Jays) is the 2013 Webster Award winner. Castro, a Dominican international free agent, had an outstanding season overall and is definitely deserving of the award with a 1.36 ERA, 12 walks and a whopping 71 strikeouts in 53 DSL innings.
Note: All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013) and may not be used without permission.