It’s that time of year that we begin our reports summarizing the season for the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates. We continue our reports with the GCL Blue Jays.
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).
Under second-year manager Luis Hurtado, the GCL Blue Jays struggled a bit more in 2018, finishing with a 24-29 record despite a Pythagorean record of 29-24. The club finished fifth (and last) in their Northwest Division, 13 games behind division winners the GCL Tigers West.
Out of the 19 teams in the league, the Blue Jays finished sixth in runs, coming in at 5.15 runs per game (about half a run above the 4.67 r/g average) with a club was averaged 0.2 years younger than the 19.7 year-old average of hitters. The Blue Jays were also above the curve on the pitching side, finishing eighth of 19 teams, allowing 4.74 runs per game (slightly above the 4.67 r/g average) with a pitching staff that was 20.1 years old, on average, slightly younger than the 20.4 years-old average age of pitchers.
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 GCL Blue Jays:
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Congrats to Joseph Reyes, the Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Champion for the 2018 GCL Blue Jays!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
Deciding on the Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year for the GCL Blue Jays was a tough, three-player race. In the end, I went with a player who was with the GCL Blue Jays the whole year rather than one who had a huge impact in just 23 games. The winner of the Player of the Year is the team’s home run leader (six) who also had the club’s highest OBP of anyone playing more than than 24 games (.402). Joseph Reyes edges out the Jays’ first round draft pick by virtue of five OPS points, hitting .273/.402/.492 with nine doubles, a triple and six home runs.
Honourable mention: Jordan Groshans, Gabriel Moreno
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
It’s always tough to rate college pitchers coming into professional baseball against high schoolers and Latin-Americans, one pitcher was head and shoulders above the rest of his team, despite being used mostly in a multi-inning relief role. Ryan Thurston, despite being 23, was absolutely dominant, posting a 0.90 ERA with the GCL Blue Jays in 30 innings and having a 0.77 WHIP, striking out 31.6% of batters and walking just 7.0%. Thurston started just four games despite logging a relatively heavy workload.
Honourable Mention: Juan Diaz
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
Making it a double bill was Ryan Thurston who comes away as the Reliever of the Year, locking two awards down.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2018) and may not be used without permission.