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 Blue Jays’ complex team in Florida, the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.
Like the DSL Blue Jays, the GCL club made the playoffs, making it all the way to the league finals, losing in two straight games to the GCL Red Sox. Under manager Cesar Martin, the GCL Blue Jays were 39-19, outplaying their Pythagorean record (32-26) by seven games. The Blue Jays sat in fifth place in the league, scoring 4.40 runs per game with a club that averaged almost a year over the league average age. The pitchers finished in the middle of the pack, allowing the eighth fewest runs per game (3.90) with a pitching staff that was 0.2 years older than average for the league.
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 0.3 points. 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 GCL Blue Jays:
It was a very close race, particularly at the top as no one really ran away with the title, but when all the dust settled, Jake Thomas had the most points, so congratulations, Jake Thomas, the 2015 Blue Jays from Away GCL Player of the Game Champion!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
While it’s always interesting to see who comes up on top of the Player of the Game Points leaderboard, this year, the Player of the Year will be someone different. By virtue of hitting for the club’s best average (of anyone with more than 100 plate appearances), with a tremendous on-base percentage while also hitting for a little bit of power, the Player of the Year is Lance Jones. The 22 year old hit .299 with a .446 OBP and .402 slugging percentage in 150 plate appearances.
Honourable mentions go to Kalik May (.261/.376/.406, 10 SB) and Jake Thomas (.263/.393/.365).
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
This is a tough race to call, mainly because there were two players who were under consideration who are very different. Justin Maese, 18, was the Blue Jays’ third round pick in the 2015 draft. A high schooler, Maese was exceptional, posting a 1.01 ERA while walking just six batters all year with a 1.06 WHIP. I was considering Mike Estevez for the award as well but Maese’s age and ability to pitch so well at such a young age gave him the edge. All of the club’s starters were pretty solid, however, and John Kravetz, Denis Diaz, Luis Sanchez and Jose Espada were all in the running.
Congrats to Justin Maese!
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
While a few other relievers were very good (including Griffin Glaude and Nate Abel), the winner of this award is clearly Mike Estevez whose 1.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP were strong while his 32 strikeouts in 26 innings were outstanding. Estevez not only earned the role as closer, he was able to keep it through most of the season, saving nine games.
Congrats to Mike Estevez, the GCL Blue Jays’ Reliever of the Year!
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