Wondering who some of the Blue Jays minor league players are? You can find out with The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook and the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section! Both are available now!
The Toronto Blue Jays’ minor league season is over. Three teams made the playoffs (Lansing Lugnuts, Bluefield Blue Jays and New Hampshire Fisher Cats) and the Fisher Cats won their league. Lots of hardware has been given out to Blue Jays prospects and we’re going to continue on that note by awarding our 2018 Blue Jays from Away Jay of the Day Champion.
We’ve awarded Players of the Game in all minor league games (except for those in which we didn’t feel anyone qualified) for the past several years but 2018 was the first season in which we awarded a “Jay of the Day,” given to the player or players who had the best day in the Jays’ system that particular day.
Scoring is simple. If just one player earned the Jay of the Day nod, we gave him a full point. If there were two players sharing the honour, each received a half point. If there were three players mentioned, they received a third of a point and so on. We’re going to count down our Top 10 players (including ties) among the 88 players receiving at least one mention.
#10 (3-way tie)
You can see with this trio of players, that it’s not just who had the best year, but who was able to dominate and contribute to a game most frequently. Biggio was the Eastern League MVP with 26 home runs and an .887 OPS while Lundquist hit 18 home runs with an .845 OPS, turning on the jets after his promotion to Dunedin. Juan Kelly, however, only hit .221 with a .317 OBP but hit 15 doubles and 13 home runs in his first year in Double-A. But when he hit, he made a difference.
#7 (3-way tie)
Smith had a breakout year with the Blue Jays in 2018, splitting the season between Lansing and Dunedin and launching 25 home runs with an .886 OPS. Despite taking a bit of a tumble in his overall stats in Dunedin, he still finished his season there with a .799 OPS in 371 plate appearances at the higher level. Rowdy Tellez has made a big impact with the fan base in his major league debut and he was coming off a strong finish to the minor league season after what has been two difficult season both professionally and personally. He hit 13 home runs and had a .765 OPS for Buffalo but since July 1, he’s hit .301/.353/.487 with seven of his 13 home runs. At 20 years old, Bo Bichette had a strong year in Double-A New Hampshire, setting a club record with 43 doubles while also hitting seven triples and 11 home runs and stealing 32 bases and posting a .796 OPS. Bichette had his ups and downs but that’s to be expected of such a young player (not named Vlad).
#5 (2-way tie)
Kacy Clemens was really cruising on his hot start with the Lansing Lugnuts where he hit .301/.454/.624 with seven home runs in just 27 games for the Lugnuts before cooling off dramatically after a promotion to Dunedin where he had just a .599 OPS and five home runs in more than three times the plate appearances.
Yennsy Diaz was also part of the dominant Lugnuts in the first half of the season, posting a 2.08 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in nine starts. Moving up to Dunedin, he still was able to post strong numbers and dropped his walk rate from 4.7 BB/9 to 2.5 BB/9 while not losing much on his strikeout rate with a 3.52 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 4.17 points
What? An award that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. didn’t win? How does a player of his calibre not win this award? Well, he missed well over a month of the season, that’s how. In this competition, being available to play makes a huge difference and despite Vlad’s .402 average and 1.120 OPS in 61 games in New Hampshire, that’s only half a season’s worth of games. He did rack up some more Jay of the Day points in Buffalo, hitting .336/.414/.564 in 30 games but he’ll have to settle for fourth place in probably his last year to compete for the award.
#2 (2-way tie)
We have some Canadian content in this tie for second place with pitcher Jordan Romano. Romano picked up a lot of points with his dominant first half of the season but he’ll have to find some more consistency after finishing with a 4.13 ERA and 1.19 WHIP despite very solid peripheral numbers with 2.7 BB/9 and 8.2 K/9.
Yes, that cover photo of Jonathan Davis was kind of a fake out. Davis was a consistent hitter mostly in New Hampshire but he’s gotten a couple of promotions, getting his first major league hit in Toronto this month and hitting .249/.308/.389 with the Buffalo Bisons in his first chance at that level. His ability to explode for multiple hits and extra-base hits was what landed him second on in points.
T.J. Zeuch – 4.67 points
Surprised? Zeuch was consistently strong in at two levels, posting similar numbers at both Dunedin (in six starts) and in New Hampshire (21 starts). Zeuch was taken “over the top” of his competition thanks to his two stellar postseason starts in which he allowed just one run in 12 innings helping the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to the Eastern League championship. Zeuch had a combined 3.17 ERA and 1.24 WHIP between the two levels, generating tons of ground balls with his 93 mph+ sinker.
Congrats to T.J. Zeuch, our winner! Here’s our complete list.
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
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.