It’s that time of year that we begin our reports summarizing the season for the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates. We continue our reports with the Bluefield Blue Jays.
If you’re new to Blue Jays from Away, we summarize all eight of the Blue Jays’ minor league teams in four parts: The Blue Jays from Away Awards, Starting Pitchers, Relief Pitchers and Position Players. Players are discussed with the team that they spent the most time with (by innings pitched for pitchers and at bats for batters).
Under long-time manager, Dennis Holmberg, the Bluefield Blue Jays went 42-26 (three games better than their Pythagorean record of 39-29, based on runs for and against) and finished second in the East Division of the Appalachian League, good enough to get them into the playoffs. The Blue Jays won the first game of their playoff series against the Princeton Rays but lost the next two to go down in defeat in the first round.
Bluefield fielded a mighty offense, scoring the third-most runs in the league, averaging out at 5.81 runs per game (well above the 5.44 r/g league average) with a batting lineup that was 0.4 years below the 20.3 years average age. The pitchers weren’t quite as good, finishing fifth in the 10-team league but were still a half run below average, giving up 4.94 runs per game with a pitching staff that was right around the league average age of 20.7 years old.
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.” Many 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 0.33 points, etc. 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:
|Luis De Los Santos||5.25|
While it was a close one, congrats go to Alejandro Kirk, the Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Champion for the 2018 Bluefield Blue Jays!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
It was an incredibly close race for the Player of the Year for the Bluefield Blue Jays as the top two players both had an OPS over 1.000 and they finished at #2 and #3 in the overall batting race for the league. The question then becomes which do you rate higher, OBP or slugging percentage? Cal Stevenson led the league in OBP at .494 to go with his .359 average and solid, .518 slugging percentage, while Alejandro Kirk was fourth in the league in slugging percentage (and tops on the team), hitting 10 home runs to go with 10 doubles. In the end, I’m going to give the award to Cal Stevenson thanks to a little more versatility in his game. Stevenson stole 20 bases in 21 attempts and had seven outfield assists and while Kirk was successful in throwing 43% of potential base stealers out, he only caught a a little more than the half the games he played.
Honourable mention: Alejandro Kirk, Hagen Danner
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
For me, innings count for the Pitcher of the Year award, and, frankly, since we have an award for the best reliever, I generally look for a starter to give this award to. This year, my choice was pretty clear and I’m going to go with the starter and select 17-year-old Eric Pardinho who, in his professional debut, had a 2.88 ERA while posting a stellar WHIP of 1.06 and an electric strikeout rate of 31.5%.
Honourable Mention: Nicolas Medina, Brad Wilson
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
There were several worthy pitchers in the reliever category. Fitz Stadler was dominant in his brief stay in Bluefield and Troy Watson was excellent, posting a 1.67 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 27 innings. But I do look for dominance and strikeout rates help with that and Brad Wilson had a 1.63 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and struck out 27.8% with an 8.3% walk rate. But he still wasn’t better than Nicolas Nicolas Medina who threw 23 2/3 innings with a 31.5% strikeout rate, a 1.52 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP. In a close race, the award goes to Nicolas Medina.
Honourable Mention: Troy Watson, Brad Wilson
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