It’s that time of year that we bring you our reports summarizing the season for the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates. We continue with the the Jays’ Class-A club playing in the MidwestLeague, the Lansing Lugnuts.
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).
The Lansing Lugnuts had a decent but undistinguished 68-71 record this season under manager Dallas McPherson, outperforming their 66-73 Pythagorean record by two games. The Lugnuts were 32-37 in the first half, missing out on a playoff spot by eight games and finishing the half in sixth place (out of eight) in the Eastern Division. The Lugnuts were two games over .500 at 36-34 in the second half, finishing fourth in the division, 3 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.
Offensively, the Lugnuts were supercharged, scoring 4.61 runs per game, well above the 4.28 r/g average in the league and were in second place out of 16 teams with a lineup that averaged 21.2 years of age, exactly the league average. On the other hand, the pitching was pretty bad overall, allowing 4.86 runs per game, above the 4.28 r/g league average while sending a pitching staff out there with an average age of 22.2 years, above the average of 21.9 for the league.
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 Lansing Lugnuts:
|Luis De Los Santos
|Mc Gregory Contreras
|Juan De Paula
Congrats to Griffin Conine, who overcame his early-season suspension to still finish with the Player of the Game Championship for 2019!
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
Our top two players for Player of the Game Champion finished one and two in the race for Player of the Year. Griffin Conine, despite the fact that he struck out far too much, was absolutely dominant over 80 games with the Lugnuts, hitting .283/.371/.576 with 19 doubles, two triples and a club-leading 22 home runs. Gabriel Moreno is our honourable mention with a .280/.337/.485 slash line over 82 games but only Alejandro Kirk, Jordan Groshans and Yorman Rodriguez were better than either of them but none played more than 23 games with the Lugnuts.
Honourable Mention: Gabriel Moreno
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
We had a very interesting race for Pitcher of the Year. The starters were generally not great overall with Josh Winckowski and Eric Pardinho standing out in smaller sample sizes. While Winckowski pitched about half the year with the Lugnuts, logging 73 2/3 innings with a 2.32 ERA and 1.195 WHIP, Pardinho only threw seven times with 33 2/3 innings to go with his 1.25 WHIP and 2.41 ERA. We decided to go another way and select Marcus Reyes as our Pitcher of the Year. Reyes, a solid lefty coming out of the bullpen, confounded Midwest League hitters, tossing 77 1/3 innings with a 2.56 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, striking out 56 and walking just 18 batters. Those numbers would be even lower but he had a rough time in his last few outings, likely due to fatigue since he’s never pitched this much as a pro before.
Honourable Mention: Josh Winckowski, Troy Watson
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
The Lansing Lugnuts were blessed with several strong relievers in 2019. Sean Rackoski saved five games, throwing 47 innings with a 2.87 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, striking out 49 and walking 18 while Cre Finfrock led the league in saves with 17, posting a 3.99 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 38 1/3 innings, striking out 50 batters and walking 16. But no one was as utterly dominant in a Lugnuts’ uniform as 24-year-old righty Jackson Rees, whose 0.36 ERA and 0.67 WHIP were utterly devastating as were his 44 strikeouts and four(!) walks in 25 1/3 innings of work. Rees was so good he was moved up to Dunedin where he continued to excel. Congrats Jackson!
Honourable Mention: Sean Rackoski, Cre Finfrock
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