Now that we’ve wrapped up the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays, it’s time to tackle a team that’s a little closer to the big leagues, the Gulf Coast League Jays.
The GCL Blue Jays were pretty bad under first year manager Kenny Graham (who was the hitting coach in Lansing last year) with a record of 18-41. The club had some very good young talent but, overall, they only really showed glimpses of their potential abilities or were moved up in the system sooner rather than later. This year’s club didn’t have any Non-Drafted Free Agents dominate in the league like Boomer Collins, Corey Gorman or Chris Rowley did last year.
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 DSL Blue Jays:
|Andres De Aza||0.5|
Not what you expected, right? Juan Tejada wins the PotG Championship for the 2014 GCL Jays. I’ll talk about him more in the article on the hitters but he definitely accrued most of his points early on. The 20-year-old Dominican outfielder showed the most power on the team (his five home runs were the only number above two for anyone on the team) but when all was said and done, his .241 batting average and .293 OBP were not particularly great.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
I’m going to be inconsistent here and call Juan Kelly the Player of the Year. The catcher/first baseman didn’t get my vote in my predictions for the Webster Awards but I think the fact that he played 54 games gives him the award over Lane Thomas who only played 34. Kelly came out on top when it came to better batting average although there was only a two point difference between the two players’ OPSs. The other thing that tips the scales in Kelly’s favour was the fact that his strikeout rate was almost 5% lower that Thomas’s.
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
Again, with the lower levels of the minor leagues, distinguishing between starting pitchers and relievers is fairly difficult but I’m going to say that to qualify, a pitcher needs to make around half of his appearances as a starter. In that case, the best starting pitcher for the GCL Jays was 19-year-old lefty Grayson Huffman. Huffman, the Jays’ sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft, dominated at both the GCL level and in the Appalachian League, posting a 1.00 ERA in the GCL, allowing just seven hits over 27 innings while walking 13 and striking out 23.
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
By far the most reliable arm out of the pen was Angel Perdomo who made only three starts but threw 46 innings for the Blue Jays. After two seasons in the DSL, Perdomo, a 6-foot-6 lefty, came over to the US and posted a 2.54 ERA with 21 walks and 57 strikeouts through 46 innings.
Blue Jays from Away Most Improved Player
Lefty Jake Brentz came to the Jays highly-touted after being drafted in the 11th round of the 2013 draft but the raw youngster was always considered a work in progress due the fact that he started pitching late in his high school career. After posting a 10.57 ERA and walking 12 batters in 7 2/3 innings in 2013, Brentz started showing flashes of his capabilities in 2014, throwing 39 2/3 innings and striking out 34 batters with a 4.08 ERA. He still needs to work on his command and control with 26 walks but he’s well on the way to turning things around from a rocky start.
Blue Jays from Away Best Newcomer
This award goes to a player who was new to the Jays’ system who performed the best and this will have to go to Lane Thomas. The versatile player showed off his maturity at the plate as well as his capability to drive the ball to the gaps and steal bases. Sean Reid-Foley (2014 second round pick) was close behind but, although SRF has definitely shown some tantalizing flashes of his potential, his season had its ups and downs. I’m kind of disqualifying Huffman here after he already took home the Pitcher of the Year award.
Who are these players? Find out in The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, now available as an ebook at Smashwords.com for $7.99 US. It’s coming soon to Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo and other fine retailers. You can purchase and preview the book at our Smashwords.com page! If you like us here,“like” us on Facebook!
The All-Star Break Supplement to the Minor League Handbook is also available at Smashwords.com for only $2 US! Get an update on how your favourite players have been doing this season as well as a report on the 2014 draft!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2014) and may not be used without permission.