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.
The GCL Blue Jays had a very strong season in 2017 under manager Luis Hurtado, finishing in second place in their division and narrowly missing the playoffs. They had a 35-25 record, slightly outplaying their 34-26 Pythagorean record. The Blue Jays were a slightly younger-than-average offensive team and finished 11th out of 17 teams in the league with 4.33 runs/game, slightly below the league average of 4.51 runs/game. The pitching was outstanding though. They averaged 3.70 runs per game against, well below the league average of 4.51 runs/game with a staff that was 0.1 years older than 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.
|Luis De Los Santos||2.67|
Congrats to Dom Abbadessa, the Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Champion for the GCL Blue Jays! Abbadessa was excellent in his second go-round in the league and showed us all that there’s a lot more to come from the young outfielder!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
We’re not going to hesitate to hand Dom Abbadessa a second piece of hardware as the Player of the Year! Abbadessa was the only regular to have an OPS above .800 and had a .340/.402/.408 slash line, playing 39 games.
Honourable Mention: D.J. Neal, Luis De Los Santos
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
As we mentioned above, the GCL Blue Jays had an excellent pitching staff so there are several pitchers who deserve this honour. With that said, we’re going to go with Maverik Buffo who was utterly dominant in his debut season. The 21-year-old had a 0.53 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 34 innings, striking out 36 and walking only two batters all year. He (very) narrowly beats out lefty Matt Gunter who threw 38 1/3 innings with a 0.94 ERA and 0.81 WHIP, striking out 36 and walking four.
Honourable Mention: Matt Gunter
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
This award is another very tough contest to decide. While Gunter led the team in innings pitched, he did only make 40% of his outings as a starter and could be considered a reliever (although I won’t consider him as such). Connor Law had a 1.54 ERA in 23 1/3 innings while Gaudy Ramirez had a 1.21 ERA and just 11 hits allowed in 22 1/3 innings at 19 years old. Jonathan Cheshire walked only one batter in 19 1/3 innings. With all that talent, I’m going with the man the Blue Jays considered an experiment. Emerson Jimenez, despite being 22, was pitching for the first time as a professional after having broken in as a shortstop in the Rockies’ organization, reaching Double-A in 2017 before being released. Jimenez became a pitcher and didn’t show any growing pains at all, throwing 15 scoreless innings and giving up only six hits and five walks while striking out 23, showing a dominance that is almost unheard of in converted pitchers.
Honourable Mention: Connor Law, Jonathan Cheshire, Gaudy Ramirez
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All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2017) and may not be used without permission.