There are four major awards in the MLB: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year, and this season the Jays have multiple contenders for these awards.
The Blue Jays have several talented players on their roster, including the 2015 AL MVP, and 3 starters that received Cy Young votes last year. With most of the key components returning for the 2017 campaign, the Blue Jays could have plenty of contenders for player awards, come season’s end.
I will be going through each award every month and seeing which Blue Jay, if any, will contend for it.
Most Valuable Player
Blue Jays contenders: Josh Donaldson, 3B
This is no surprise. The 2015 AL MVP, Donaldson is going to be a top player in the MLB for the foreseeable future. This means he’ll regularly be a contender for MVP. Even though he had a worse season last year than he did in 2015, he actually improved his on-base-percantage, going up to .404 from .371. This could be the main reason key MVP voting statistics like batting average (.297 to .284), and home runs (41 to 37), went down.
While this isn’t a bad thing for the Jays, it could hurt his MVP case if his numbers resemble his 2016 self more than his 2015 form. That said, being on one of the top offences again will only help him as he makes another case for the MVP.
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I’ll start with Sanchez. Last season’s AL ERA champ (3.00 ERA) has set himself up well to do a good job again at mowing down hitters. While his ERA may seem a bit high for the league leader, it still showed that Sanchez is among the best at limiting runs. This only brings him so far, though, in the Cy Young contention. The other stat that is highly regarded in voting is strikeouts. Last season, in 192.0 innings, he only had 161 strikeouts. He needs to bring those numbers up to around the 200 mark in order to be a real contender for the Cy Young.
Stroman has shown in the World Baseball Classic that the “Stro-Show” is ready for the spotlight. By limiting the potent Puerto Rico offence to no runs in the championship game, Stroman immediately threw himself into the conversation for the Cy Young award. He looked like he was in peak form in March, which means going into the season he will have good momentum, while hitters are just beginning to get into form. Like Sanchez, the stat that Stroman needs to improve is his strikeouts. In 204.0 innings, Stroman got to 166 strikeouts. While his ERA was less than desirable with a 4.37 mark, that is uncharacteristic of him, and should be improved on this year.
Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year.
For now, it seems as though the Jays won’t have anyone in contention for these awards. John Gibbons could make his way into the manager of the year conversation, but that award is mostly given to the most surprising team’s manager. So unless the Jays climb to the top of the AL standings, Gibbons won’t have any personal hardware this season.
If you think anyone else should be mentioned as an award contender, let me know in the comments, and remember to check in next month for an updated Blue Jays Award Watch.