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.
With a fresh crop of talent from the Blue Jays’ 2015 DSL team, along with many newly drafted players, the 2016 GCL Blue Jays, under manager Cesar Martin, had a dominant season despite missing the playoffs to the only team in the GCL better than they were. The Blue Jays were an offensive juggernaut, scoring 5.14 runs per game, over a run more than league average with a team average age 0.3 years above the league average (19.5 years). The pitching, however, was not as exemplary. It was a younger pitching staff, at 19.8 years old, and were 0.7 years younger than the league average but they gave up 4.21 runs per game, just above the league average of 4.12.
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.
And we have a tie! Congrats go out to both David Jacob and Norberto Obeso for winning the Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Championship for the 2016 GCL Blue Jays!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
Despite his injury, Bo Bichette‘s dominance in the GCL at the age of 18 is worthy of the Player of the Year award. Despite playing half as much as his competitors, the above-mentioned Jacob and Obeso, he had as many extra-base hits as Jacob and exceeded the extra-base hits by Obeso. While Bichette didn’t walk much, he managed to hit .427/.451/.732 in only 91 plate appearances, as a younger player than either of his two closest competitors for the award. Congrats Bo Bichette!
Honourable mention: David Jacob, Norberto Obeso
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
Since we have separate “Pitcher of the Year” and “Reliever of the Year” awards, this award will go to a starting pitcher, despite a worthy reliever who threw almost as many innings. Another starter may have been considered for this award, except he was traded part way through the year leaving Wilfri Aleton the best candidate (in my eyes) for this award. Aleton, 20, made his North American debut this year after three years in the Dominican Summer League, and got his season underway with a bang, throwing five no-hit innings and striking out 10. While his season was up and down (ending on a down note in his last start of the year), Aleton had a 2.92 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP with a 4.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio over a team-leading 49 1/3 innings.
Honourable mention: Lupe Chavez (traded), Joel Espinal
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
There was a clear reliever of the year for the GCL Blue Jays: Yonardo Herdenez, a 20-year-old righty from Venezuela who dominated the GCL hitters. Despite throwing 42 1/3 innings (quite a lot for a reliever in a short season), he allowed only five runs, posting a 1.06 ERA and a miniscule 0.71 WHIP. While Herdenez’s strikeout numbers weren’t great (just 26), his six walks were exceptional. Herdenez’s closest competition was Jared Carkuff who threw 25 1/3 innings and struck out 35 batters with only three walks.
Honourable mention: Jared Carkuff
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