At Jays Journal, we decided to complete ‘End of the Season Awards’ as a group to give you, the reader/fan, some insight into how this group views this team/season. This also allows us to put the heart breaking way the season ended behind us and should allow us to move forward….this is kinda like a therapy session for all of us.
Lets introduce my willing victims: Our new Co-Editor Shaun Doyle (SD), our MLB Editorial Director Kyle Franzoni (KF), Staff Writer Eric Elliott (EE), Staff Writer Brandon Nickle (BN), and finally me (RM).
At the All-Star break (it seems so long ago) we did the same activity, answering the 5 headings listed below. So consistency sake, I thought it best to use the same headings.
- Overall State of the Toronto Blue Jays
- George Bell Award (Team MVP)
- Dave Stieb Award (Best Pitcher)
- Biggest Surprise
- Biggest Disappointment
So let’s get to it.
State of the Franchise
SD: As of right now, I’d say the state of the franchise is…meh. They will have to do a lot over the off season to turn the corner. The rest of the AL East will be active.
EE: The overall state is really ambiguous. Their offence is great but is one that’s aging at a scary pace. Pitching appears to be the most promising aspect of the Blue Jays and it will be interesting to see in the future how this could play out.
KF: Overall state is stuck in the middle of the road, with no clear direction of where to go. Build up and sacrifice for one shot at a postseason run or wait for the youth and sacrifice the core of the line-up. Neither road is overly appealing right now.
BN: Finally on track pitching wise, about a year too late to have run support or a bullpen. Post season is not an option until a decision is made on Buehrle’s rumoured trade possibility for a position player. Sanchez in the bullpen would be a shame if they can’t find a solution.
RM: The state of this franchise all hinges on what they do with Melky Cabrera this off-season. For the past couple years we have been telling fans about the talent in the low minors, well we’re finally seeing them trickle up into the mid to upper minor league teams. You can just rebuild a minor league system in year, it takes time, but it appears that Alex and co. have finally done it….the future looks bright.
George Bell Award
SD: Jose Bautista. ‘Nuff said.
EE: Easy Bautista. How could it not? At a time when people were concerned his age would impact his power, Bautista has not only continued to stroke the long-ball but has also managed to get on base at a phenomenal rate.
KF: Jose Bautista, one of the best seasons by a Toronto hitter in a while, not to mention the defense in right field this season.
BN: In my Blue Swagger article this week Jose Bautista is the pick. He leads on the field and has seemed since being thrown out the other game to be leading off the field too. His numbers were better than projected and was off the DL compared to previous seasons.
RM: Jose Bautista. Very quietly he had his best all-round season as a Blue Jay. I was very impressed with his outfield play and his demeanour at the plate.
Dave Stieb Award
SD: I’m going with #StroShow, Marcus Stroman. Mark Buehrle‘s second half was brutal. Stroman came into the rotation and lit it up. He had some bad moments, but he’s a rookie. And, his throwing at the Orioles was a statement.
EE: Marcus Stroman. People will say Buehrle but considering the numbers when Stroman was in the rotation compared to when he was in the bullpen, Stroman is clearly the better pitcher. Good on Buehrle for having a comeback year but Stroman is clearly the better of the two pitchers.
KF: Marcus Stroman. Without him stepping into the rotation, the Jays would have been lost much sooner.
BN: Marcus Stroman for providing another starter they didn’t have at the start of the season. Although Dickey finally turned his game around this season, just not an Ace. Stroman needs to use his slider-curve as much as this season without tipping off his very straight fastball. More movement would make him possibly the best pitcher in the AL East alone.
RM: If Stroman had been with the team earlier, this award is his. This award goes to RA Dickey. He remained healthy, he provided innings, he provided stability, he struck out almost 200 batters, and he posted a sub-4.00 ERA. His record would have been better had the teams offence not disappeared.
EE: Has to be Brett Lawrie’s continuation with the injury bug. I thought after what seemed to be a couple unlucky injuries, Lawrie was ready to have a break out year. Unfortunately, Lawrie played barely half a season and wasn’t able to contribute to what could have been a strong playoff run.
KF: Dioner Navarro. Maybe the bar was set really low by Arencibia, but it was good to see so much production out of the catcher this season. Integral to the line-up.
BN: Pompey went from another kid being evaluated to being a possible solution to one of the two holes in the outfield. A bigger sample size is needed but may be helpful considering the desperation in the off-season market.
RM: The health of the pitching staff as a whole. As Blue Jays fan, we have grown accustom to injuries. This year we lost Brandon Morrow from our starting staff…that’s it.
SD: Alex Anthopoulos. Failure to pull the trigger many times over the last year. Maybe his hands were tied. Maybe the biggest disappointment is ownership.
EE: Easily Colby Rasmus. I thought we would have had to lock him up in April after a strong 2013 but they way things played out, I wouldn’t pay him any money to play centre-field on my team.
KF: Colby Rasmus without a doubt. Had a chance to put up a special season in a walk year and bombed out instead. You could argue that with Rasmus fully productive and healthy all season, this Jays team is completely different.
BN: Would think many said Colby so I will say Brett Lawrie. With so much promise of his better plate strategy and good defence, his injury for the season caused many lineup headache.
RM: Jose Reyes‘ defence, just because it looks like he is like 40 years old out there. He has a great arm, but his lack of range was exposed without Brett Lawrie patrolling 3rd.
Well boys and girls there you have it. Please feel free to gives us your picks or tell us which picks you disagree with in the comments section.