It’s that time of year that we begin our reports summarizing the season for the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates. We continue with the the Jays’ Advanced-Rookie club playing in the Appalachian League, 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).
The Bluefield Blue Jays, under manager Luis Hurtado, had a weaker season than they have in the past, finishing 31-36, right on their their pythagorean record (which extrapolates an expected record based on runs scored and runs allowed).. They finished fifth in their division (the East division), 10 1/2 games behind the Pulaski Yankees who had the best record in the league. The GCL Blue Jays did finish their season by winning the Mercer Cup, by winning six of 11 games against their intra-county adversary, the Princeton Rays, winning the series in the last game against Princeton of the season.
Interestingly, the Blue Jays hitters, averaging 20.3 years of age, scored 5.69 runs per game, the best total in the 10-team league, which averaged 5.08 runs per game with hitters who averaged 20.4 years of age. The pitchers, however, averaging 20.2 years of age, finished 10th (dead last), allowing 6.25 runs per game (1.17 runs above the league average of 5.08 runs per game), and the league average age of pitchers was 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:
Congrats to the winner of the Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Championship for 2019 in Bluefield: Spencer Horwitz who won, beating out highly-ranked prospect Miguel Hiraldo!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
Our results were a little different when it came to the Player of the Year award with several worth candidates on this high-powered offense. I went with Ryan Sloniger, a catcher who also spent time in Vancouver but he was awesome with the Blue Jays, hitting .327/.405/.626 with nine home runs in just 121 plate appearances. He squeaked by over Justin Ammons, another college player who hit .382/.442/.490 (but is more of a gap hitter and a speedster than having home run power) and Davis Schneider, who repeated the level with spectacular results (.313/.380/.550, six HRs) after coming down from Vancouver. Spencer Horwitz (.330/.395/.471) and Miguel Hiraldo (.300/.348/.481) were also strong contenders.
Honourable Mention: Justin Ammons, Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz, Miguel Hiraldo
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
In a season in which the pitching for the Bluefield Blue Jays seemed snake-bitten, I had to go with Jol Concepcion, returning from suspension in 2018 to have a strong season as the only real contender for this award among the starting pitchers. Concepcion had a 3.18 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, striking out 31 and walking nine in 34 innings. None of the other starters had an ERA below 4.00 (and only one of the had an ERA below 5.00), while a couple of relievers did put themselves into contention with heavier workloads, I decided to give it to Concepcion.
Honourable Mention: None
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
As I mentioned above, there were several strong relievers pitching for the Bluefield Blue Jays but no one was more reliable and effective than Adams Cuevas. Cuevas logged 31 1/3 innings with a 3.45 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, striking out 42 batters and walking just nine. Luis Alvarez gets a strong consideration but his lack of domination with just 17 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings hindered his case. Austin Havekost was outstanding in a small sample, tossing 15 innings and giving up just one earned run on eight hits with 17 strikeouts and four walks but his workload was less than half that of Cuevas’s while Julian Valdez had a tiny WHIP of 0.66 over 22 2/3 innings, but again, only struck out 17 in 22 2/3 innings.
Honourable Mention: Luis Alvarez, Austin Havekost, Julian Valdez
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
The 2019 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is available now! Visit the Handbook page for more information!
Now is a great time to subscribe to the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2019) and may not be used without permission.