Once again, I’m going to be doing a 3-part series for each minor league team over the coming months. The first is the year end awards. These are based strictly on performance. The second will be a look at the pitchers, how they did (statistically and what scouts are saying) and where they project to be next year (we can all look back later and laugh at how wrong I was). The third will look at the hitters (in the same way as the pitchers).
Remember, for the awards, I’m looking only at performance. It’s not about who’s the best “prospect.” These are the players who played the best for their respective teams.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Champion
For those of you following 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’ve been “awarding” 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 without much more ado, here comes my rationale for the system.
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 Bluefield Blue Jays:
Congratulations to 19-year-old Arizona native Mitch Nay for his win of the Player of the Game Championship! Obviously Nay had a great season and he’s still playing after a call-up to the Vancouver Canadians for the playoffs. He’s already hit a big home run and he’s showing that his bat will really help them out as they go for a three-peat as Northwest League Champions!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
This award goes to the position player who, in my opinion had the best season. In this case, I’m giving the award to Matthew Dean. Matt is a 20 year old from Texas who completely demolished the Appalachian League this season and he also adjusted very well to a new position — 1B.
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
With so many great pitchers on the Bluefield Blue Jays, this was really one of the toughest races to call. It really came down to two players and probably not the two that you might expect. Most of the starting pitchers who were in Bluefield for a full season got lucky (as far as the stats will tell you). While they posted low ERAs (and some posted low WHIPs), they had fairly low BABIPs, meaning that a lot of the balls that were hit off them were at fielders or fielders were able to make plays. Only one pitcher really stood in terms of excellent control, dominating stuff but his BAD luck (high BABIP) actually led to his FIP (fielding independent pitching) stat being the lowest on the team despite a great but not miniscule ERA.
So, congrats to Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year, Chase DeJong!
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
Reliever Alvido Jimenez, selected by the Blue Jays in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, was a very effective pitcher both for Bluefield and Vancouver. In 21 innings with Bluefield, he only allowed 18 runners (11 hits and 7 walks), no home runs and struck out 27. With a 1.29 ERA and 0.86 WHIP, Jimenez was a strong addition to the Bluefield bullpen.
Blue Jays from Away Most Improved Player
This is an easy award to hand out. Matt Dean was unbelievable for the Bluefield Blue Jays after a year that saw his stock drop sharply in 2012. Last season, Dean played for Bluefield and hit .222/.282/.353. This year, it was .338/.390/.519 and most of the quality came from the second half of the season including a 1.040 OPS in August.