We move on to the Bluefield Blue Jays, the third club in the Blue Jays’ rookie chain.
The Bluefield Blue Jays were pretty awful this year, finishing with the worst record in the league, 25-42 under manager Dennis Holmberg. The hitters were slightly under the average age for the league, at 20.3 years old, and produced only 4.16 runs per game, second last in the league. The pitchers were also slightly younger than league average at 20.5 years of age and allowed the third most runs per game at 5.21.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Champion
For those of you who followed the minor league reports here, 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, three or four 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. There were occasions that I felt that no one merited the award and therefore, I did not give out any points.
Here are the final standings for Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game for the Bluefield Blue Jays:
That’s right, we have a tie! The tie at the top of the leaderboard reflects two things. The first is how consistently good Rodrigo Orozco was this season and the second is that Christian Williams made his limited production this year count, putting together some big games.
Congrats to Rodrigo Orozco and Christian Williams!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
Rodrigo Orozco is really the run-away Player of the Year for the Bluefield Blue Jays. Not only did Orozco lead the club in plate appearances (254) but he led the club in hits (67), doubles (16), runs (34), walks (24) and slugging (.435). His .300/.368/.435 slash line earned him a brief call up to the Vancouver Canadians and he was easily the best offensive player for the Blue Jays this year.
Honourable mentions: Deiferson Barreto was very good, leading the club in batting average (.302) while Gabe Clark led the club with six home runs.
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
Like the Player of the Year award, the Pitcher of the Year award was pretty easy to hand out. Angel Perdomo, a 21-year-old Dominican lefty made some big impressions pitching 48 innings with the Bluefield Blue Jays before a promotion to Vancouver where he got into five games and threw 21 1/3 innings. Key to Perdomo’s success was his ability to limit walks, walking 14 in 48 innings with Bluefield (although he walked 16 in his far fewer innings in Vancouver). Still, Perdomo had a 2.62 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.
Honourable mentions: Geno Encina bounced back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation and Juliandry Higuera led the club in innings with 61 1/3 but gave up a lot of hits.
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
This award was pretty tough to call but I’m going to go with Geno Encina despite making five starts, he started fewer than half of his appearnaces. Encina had a solid ERA at 3.86 but his very solid 1.24 WHIP and his 4.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio put him ahead of some of the other candidates who either struggled in some of the other parts of their game or didn’t pitch nearly as much.
Honourable mentions: Tyler Burden had a great ERA at 3.54 but also walked 16 batters in 28 innings while Alberto Guzman led the team in saves (4) but had a 4.07 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Tayler Saucedo was also considered but he spent most of the season with Vancouver.
Blue Jays from Away Most Improved Player
The conditions for selection as the Most Improved Player are tough to fulfill. The player needs to have been playing last year and needs to show considerable improvement at the same level or moving up a level. The only player who really manages to check those boxes is Joe Claver who had an absolutely horrible season last year in his professional debut. Claver had an 11.95 ERA and 2.36 WHIP in 20 1/3 innings with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays in 2014. Moving up a level (or two) to the Bluefield Blue Jays and Vancouver Canadians, he posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.54 WHIP overall despite walking 17 and striking out 17.
Blue Jays from Away Best Newcomer
This award goes to the player who was the most impressive in his first year in the Blue Jays’ system whether he was acquired as a draftee or a free agent. This year, the winner is a hitter. D.J. McKnight had a very solid line, hitting .253/.367/.354 with seven doubles and three home runs after being selected by the Blue Jays in the 12th round of the draft.
Honourable mention: Geno Encina, Tyler Burden
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