The Dunedin Blue Jays were co-champions of the Florida State League, getting some help from the Blue Jays’ top two prospects in the second half.
With manager John Schneider on their side, the Dunedin Blue Jays were 72-66 overall, placing second in the North Division overall, behind the stellar Tampa Yankees who won the second half with a 46-19 record. While the Blue Jays were just 34-35 in the first half, their second half record of 38-31 (and the Tampa Yankees’ ability to win the division in both halves of the season) gave the club their entry to the playoffs. With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, the FSL decided to cancel the final series and name the winners of the two semifinal series “Co-Champions.” While they lost the first game in their semifinal series to the Tampa Yankees, the Blue Jays rallied to win both games in a double header to win the series 2-1. Over the course of the season, the D-Jays lead the league in runs per game, scoring 4.65 r/g, well over the average of 3.97 with an offense that was 22.6 years old, 0.1 below league average. The Jays’ pitching was eighth in the league, allowing 4.29 runs per game (above the league average of 3.97) with a pitching staff that averaged 23.8 years old, 0.7 years above 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.” 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.
|Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.||6.67|
|Michael De La Cruz||3.83|
Canadian Connor Panas had a phenomenal second half that allowed him to charge up the rankings, including being a playoff hero, hitting three home runs and driving in five runs in three postseason games. Congrats to Connor.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
The Dunedin Blue Jays had three or four of the Blue Jays’ top prospects at one point or another through the season but it was a player who was there the whole year and had a huge playoff who is our Player of the Year. Connor Panas led the club and the league in home runs (18) while putting up an .839 OPS in 114 games. While other players made a strong contribution, like Cavan Biggio, Max Pentecost and Juan Kelly, no one put together as strong of a season oer quite as many games as Panas.
Honourable Mention: Cavan Biggio, Max Pentecost, Juan Kelly
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
Lefty Ryan Borucki had an outstanding season that started in Dunedin. While he started in Dunedin, this season, he had a very different result after getting hit so hard he was sent back to Lansing in 2017. This year, Borucki started in Dunedin, going 6-5 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, striking out 109 in 98 innings with just 27 walks, before moving up to New Hampshire and Buffalo where he thrived at both levels. Still, he had some good competition from Canadian Jordan Romano who had a better ERA (3.39) and struck out a batter per inning (138), and from Conor Fisk, who led the club with 152 1/3 innings while putting together a 3.84 ERA and a better WHIP than Borucki (1.22). It was a tough choice but we give it to Borucki.
Honourable Mention: Jordan Romano, Conor Fisk, Josh DeGraaf
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
The D-Jays’ best relievers all started the season in Lansing before finishing in Dunedin. Jackson McClelland (1.07 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 25 K, 8 BB, 33 2/3 IP) was a dominant closer, breaking out this year while Kirby Snead sidewound his way to a 1.36 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 26 strikeouts and 12 walks in 33 innings. Zach Jackson was a strikeout machine for much of the season, whiffing 43 in 31 innings with a 2.03 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, walking 18 and Danny Young walked just nine batters in 30 1/3 innings, striking out 27 with a 1.02 WHIP and 2.08 ERA. With so much choice, we’re going to go with with the safest decision. Congrats to Jackson McClelland, our Reliever of the Year.
Honourable Mention: Kirby Snead, Zach Jackson, Danny Young, Ryan Cook
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