As the Blue Jays battle the Texas Rangers (again) in the playoffs, we come to the highest-level and, most accessible to those in Toronto, club in the Blue Jays’ organization, the Buffalo Bisons.
The Blue Jays had the QEW Express going between Toronto and Buffalo frequently this year and the Bisons lost steam in the second half, going 66-78, outperforming their Pythagorean record of 61-83. The Bisons had the worst offense in the league, generating 3.47 runs per game (almost a half a run less than the league average) while the pitching staff finished 10th (out of 14 teams) in the International League, allowing 4.07 runs per game, just above the league average of 3.96.
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 0.33 points, etc. There were occasions that I felt that no one merited the award and therefore, I did not give out any points.
Our Player of the Game Champion was none other than third baseman Matt Dominguez, who had a fairly consistent season with the bat. That said, in the early going, it was looking like Wade “Gandalf” LeBlanc would be a rare pitcher who was able to win the PotG Championship but his trade to Seattle opened the door for the hitters.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
On a team that didn’t have a lot of offense going for it, the club’s batting leaders all have their share of warts when it comes to trying to decide on who the Player of the Year is. Jesus Montero didn’t hit for much power and a post-season suspension doesn’t help his cause and Matt Dominguez, while leading the club in home runs, only had a .315 OBP. I’m going to make an unorthodox selection and pick Darrell Ceciliani as the Bisons’ Player of the Year. Ceciliani finished the year with an OPS only 23 points lower than Montero while continuing to hit for significant power (after his year in Vegas last year). Ceciliani hit 17 doubles, three triples and a career-high 10 home runs in 334 plate appearances (almost 200 fewer than both Montero and Dominguez).
Honourable mention: Jesus Montero, Matt Dominguez
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
The race for Pitcher of the Year is another tough one to decide. Do we want to select a pitcher who is no longer in the Blue Jays’ system? Or do we go with someone who didn’t throw a ton of innings. In this case, I’m going to give it to Wade LeBlanc. His mastery of the International League was particularly excellent as he had a 1.71 ERA, 1.17 WHP with 85 strikeouts and 21 walks in 89 2/3 innings.
Honourable mention: Drew Huchison, Scott Copeland, Casey Lawrence
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
I’m not going to give the Reliever of the Year award to the same player for two different clubs, although Danny Barnes would certainly merit consideration for the award for the Bisons. In that case, Dustin Antolin will be our Reliever of the Year for the Bisons, throwing 53 innings and posting a 2.04 ERA and 1.30 WHIP with 61 strikeouts.
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