It’s that time of year that we bring you our reports summarizing the season for the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates. We begin our final summary of the Blue Jays’ affiliates with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons of the International League.
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 Bisons finished with a record above .500, finishing 71-69, five games better than their Pythagorean record of 66-74 under the management of Bobby Meacham. The Bisons finished third in the North Division of the International League, 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees’ affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and 3 1/2 games behind the Syracuse Mets. The Bisons’ offense was on the weak side in the IL, scoring the fourth least runs per game at 4.91 (below the league average of 5.16) while fielding an offense that was over a year younger than the league average at 25.8 years of age. On the pitching side, the Bisons averaged 5.27 runs against per game, 0.11 runs over the league average with a staff that was 0.4 years younger than the 26.2 years league average.
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 Buffalo Bisons:
|Michael De La Cruz||4|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr./td>||1.83|
Congrats to Patrick Kivlehan who had a significant lead over Andy Burns to earn the Player of the Game Championship!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
On a club where the very best and most promising players were moved to the major leagues fairly quickly, it was 29-year-old veteran third baseman and outfielder Patrick Kivlehan who benefited greatly from the livelier ball in the International League, hitting 32 home runs overall including four with Indianapolis, three with New Hampshire and another 25 with the Buffalo Bisons as he played 90 games and had a .247/.336/.534 slash line with The Herd. Socrates Brito also had a strong season after he was sent down from Toronto, posting a .282/.328/.510 slash line while Andy Burns had a solid return to North America with a .275/.364/.470 slash line in 118 games.
Honourable Mention: Socrates Brito, Andy Burns
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
The Buffalo Bisons’ pitching staff was in a constant state of flux with pitchers coming and going between the Bisons and the Blue Jays as well as the Injured List. Once he returned from injury, T.J. Zeuch was probably the Bisons’ best pitcher as he had a 3.69 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over 78 innings, finishing the year in third in innings for the Bisons and was the only starter to finish with an ERA under 4.00.
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
There was a lot more competition in Buffalo for the Reliever of the Year award. Zach Jackson logged the most innings, making 46 appearances with 68 innings and a 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 68 strikeouts with 34 walks. Buddy Boshers didn’t pitch as much but had a 2.78 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, striking out 35 and walking 14 in 32 1/3 innings. Justin Shafer was also solid, going back and forth between the majors and the minors, posting a 3.52 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and just eight walks in 30 2/3 innings and Ty Tice made an impression in 33 innings, posting a 3.27 ERA and 1.545 WHIP, striking out 41 and walking 21. But in the end, the weight of his workload convinced me to give the award to Zach Jackson, despite strong work from several other pitchers.
Honourable Mention: Ty Tice, Buddy Boshers, Justin Shafer
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