It’s that time of year when the minor league seasons have ended and it’s time to analyze the results and see where everyone stands. I’m going to be doing a 3-part series for each minor league team over the coming months. The first is the year end awards. These are based strictly on performance. The second will be a look at the pitchers, how they did (statistically and what scouts are saying) and where they project to be next year (we can all look back later and laugh at how wrong I was). The third will look at the hitters (in the same way as the pitchers).
For the awards, I want to make something clear. I’m not just going to talk about “prospects.” In fact, you might not see your favourite prospects at all in this part of the season report. Why? Simple. “Prospects” aren’t the only ones playing the game. I want to highlight the fact that the players who succeed at any given level may not be the ones that are getting all the hype. Heck, they may not even play at levels that are much higher but this year, they caught my attention for what they were doing on the baseball field. For that, they deserve the recognition.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game Champion
For those of you following along with my daily Minor League Reports on Jays Journal (that I started at the old Blue Jays from Away blogger site) and on Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been “awarding” 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 without much more ado, here comes my rationale for the system.
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 or three 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.
Here are the final standings for Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays:
The clear winner for the GCL Blue Jays was 17-year-old shortstop Franklin Barreto! Congrats!
Barreto earned himself a call-up to the Bluefield Blue Jays at the end of the year but is one of the most talked about young prospects in the Blue Jays system. He’s just 17 years old but has been showing remarkable maturity with the bat but has had issues in the field.
Staying with the hitters, I’ll hand out the second award:
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
While Barreto was a very solid hitter, his defensive deficiencies led me to select someone else as (position) Player of the Year. That award goes to a player who has really been under the radar. He was an undrafted free agent out of college who ended up getting a lot of playing time and really anchoring the outfield. Congratulations, Boomer Collins (a.k.a. Thomas Collins III)!
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
Like our Player of the Year, the Pitcher of the Year was a guy who is also very under the radar. He’s another undrafted free agent, this time out of West Point (Army) who has since left baseball to complete his military commitments. Congratulations, Chris Rowley!
*Note: For higher level teams there will be a “reliever of the year” award as well, but since there’s so much piggy-backing in the GCL, the “reliever” definition is much more difficult to pin down.
Blue Jays from Away Most Improved Player
There weren’t all that many players to choose from in this category, mainly because the GCL team is always very young and with a lot of players from this year’s draft. I did consider Dominican Summer League stats in this category however but you’ll see a lot more competition for this award as we move up the ladder.
However, there is a clear winner (at least in my mind). Congratulations Gabriel Cenas! Cenas is a 19-year-old Venezuelan who had a horrible (statistical) season in the GCL in 2012 but was one of the more solid players on the club in 2013.
Stay tuned for more of our season wrap ups for the GCL Blue Jays. Who do you think should have won the awards?