The Lansing Lugnuts were stocked with the Blue Jays two top prospects to start the year but even the Bo and Vlad show couldn’t get the Lugs to the playoffs in 2017.
Under the leadership of Cesar Martin who was managing in the Midwest League for the first time, the Lugnuts finished with the second worst record in the Eastern Division, coming in at 63-73. The Lugnuts offense was dominant early and the club still finished with the second best offense in the league, scoring 5.04 runs per game (well above the league average of 4.43 r/g) while having an offense that was 0.3 years above the league average age. The pitching was another story, however, with the Lugnuts’ staff giving up 5.85 runs per game, the worst in the league and 0.4 runs worse than their next closest competition. The Lugnuts pitchers were 0.1 years older than the average league age.
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.
|Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.||7.83|
Much like his win of the batting title in the Midwest League, even with a couple of months in Dunedin, no one on the Lugnuts could catch Bo Bichette‘s lead in the Player of the Game Championship. Congrats to Bo!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
It’s tough to go with anyone else at this point. In only 70 games, Bo Bichette had a 1.071 OPS, hitting .384/.448/.623 with 32 doubles, three triples and 10 home runs. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was also very impressive (.316/.409/.480) and Edward Olivares had an excellent year over 101 games (second on the club in games played), Bo was the Midwest League MVP, giving him a big edge.
Honourable Mention: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Edward Olivares
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
As we’ve mentioned before, the Lansing Lugnuts’ pitching was bad in 2017. Really bad. But that’s not to say that there weren’t any bright lights. Patrick Murphy was excellent when healthy and had a 2.94 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 88 2/3 innings, striking out 57 and walking 33. While others threw moer innings for teh Lugnuts, no one was nearly as effective while seeing as much action.
Honourable Mention: Geno Encina, Yennsy Diaz, Tayler Saucedo
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
There were certainly more strong candidates for Reliever of the Year than for our previous category. In this category, we’re really looking at partial years for most pitchers as guys were moved up and down quickly and frequently. While Jackson McClelland led the club in saves and Jared Carkuff took over when McClelland was moved up to Dunedin, Zach Jackson was probably among the most dominant pitchers on the staff. Jackson struck out 25 batters in 20 innings, walking just eight and giving up 13 hits for a 1.05 WHIP to go with his 3.15 ERA. Kirby Snead was close though, thanks to his 30 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings, 2.4 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.
Honourable Mention: Kirby Snead, Jackson McClelland, Daniel Lietz, Nick Hartman, Jared Carkuff
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