Next up in the Blue Jays’ organization are the Vancouver Canadians, a club which has struggled over the past two years after winning the Northwest League title from 2012-2014.
The Vancouver Canadians, the only minor league team still in Canada, had a 29-45 record and, despite the contributions of several newly drafted prospects, finished second last in the league with 4.12 runs scored per game (0.7 runs below league average) by an offense that was 0.1 years younger than league average (at 20.9 years old). The pitching was only slightly better giving up 5.16 runs per game, third last in the league, at an average age of 21.2 years (also 0.1 years younger than 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.” 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.
Congrats go out to Cavan Biggio, the son of former MLB All-Star Craig Biggio and the Jays’ 2016 fifth-round draft pick and our 2016 Player of the Game Champion for the Canadians.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Year
While Biggio had the Player of the Game Championship clearly sewn up for the Canadians, the Player of the Year is definitely a different player. While Biggio had a solid first professional season with a .282/.383/.366 slash line, two other players selected higher than him by the Blue Jays this year were better. It’s a tough call between Joshua Palacios, who had a .909 OPS with a .355/.437/.473 slash line but only 126 plate appearances, and J.B. Woodman who hit .272/.375/.421 but played 54 games with 232 plate appearances. Despite the brevity of his assignment to Vancouver, Joshua Palacios‘s dominance makes him the Player of the Year!
Honourable mention: J.B. Woodman, Cavan Biggio
Blue Jays from Away Pitcher of the Year
The winner of our (starting) Pitcher of the Year award is much clearer. Patrick Murphy was the club’s only starter to really have an above-average season throughout the entire season. While Justin Maese was outstanding in five starts before his promotion to Lansing, Murphy made 13 starts and logged 69 2/3 innings for the Canadians, earning himself a post-season All-Star award from the Northwest League and finally getting a full season of pitching under his belt since being drafted in 2013.
Honourable mention: Justin Maese, TJ Zeuch
Blue Jays from Away Reliever of the Year
The Reliever of the Year award was a little trickier to decide on. The club’s best reliever was only involved in nine games and the choice came down to Geno Encina and Griffin Glaude. Both had ERAs in the low twos but Encina was just a little bit better over the course of the season. With 26 2/3 innings, Encina had a 2.02 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a 26.2% strikeout rate. While Griffin Glaude struck out batters at a slightly higher rate (27.2%), Geno Encina‘s miniscule 3.7% walk rate, better WHIP and better ERA make him our Reliever of the Year.
Honourable mention: Griffin Glaude, Nick Hartman
Blue Jays from Away Most Improved Player
Absent a true “Most Improved Player” on the Vancouver Canadians, this award becomes the “Comeback Player of the Year” and goes to Patrick Murphy who, between his drafting in the third round of the 2016 draft and the start of this season, had only thrown four innings of competitive baseball. Coming back from injury after injury, Murphy had a stellar year for the Canadians.
Blue Jays from Away Best Newcomer
The Blue Jays stocked the Vancouver roster with several of their college-age draft picks from 2016, the best newcomer to the Jays’ organization for the Canadians was Joshua Palacios who posted a .909 OPS in his Age-20 season coming out of Auburn University. Palacios hit wherever he was, with 13 games in the GCL and finished with a stellar, nine-game audition for the Lansing Lugnuts.
Honourable mention: Cavan Biggio, J.B. Woodman, TJ Zeuch
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