Toronto Blue Jays: Handing out the internal awards for the 2021 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 02: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Teoscar Hernnadez #37 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 2, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 02: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Teoscar Hernnadez #37 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 2, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ONTARIO – OCTOBER 3: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts to a Boston Red Sox home run as they play the Washington Nationals on the big screen at the Rogers Centre, after the Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles in their MLB game, on October 3, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays needed a little bit of luck from the out-of-town scoreboard yesterday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Unfortunately, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees won both of their respective games and the Blue Jays will not be making an appearance in the AL Wild Card this season, seeing their campaign end with a 91-71 record and placing fourth in a very competitive AL East division.

The Blue Jays roster was full of impressive players with many different individuals setting themselves up for personal accolades like Vladimir Guerrero Jr for the AL MVP Award and Robbie Ray for the AL Cy Young later this off-season.

That being said, it is time to hand out the internal awards for the Blue Jays that range across a few different categories.

MVP Award

Winner: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Honourable Mentions: Marcus Semien & Robbie Ray

At 22 years old, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. entered the 2021 season leaner and stronger, shedding roughly 40 pounds during the off-season prior to entering Spring Training.

Dubbed the top prospect in all of Major League Baseball just a few years ago, Guerrero Jr. exploded this season at the plate, finishing the campaign with a .311/.401/.601 slash line along with 48 home runs and 111 RBI. He would finish the season with the highest AL OPS at 1.002 while also leading the AL in OBP and slugging, tying the home run tally with Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals. He would finish third in terms of batting average while finishing tied for fifth in terms of RBI and was arguably one of the top hitters in the league this year.

On the defensive side, Guerrero Jr. was solid at first base, finishing the season with a .993 fielding percentage with eight errors and 1026 putouts. His leaner figure allowed him to stretch and make plays close at the bag while also handling the tough shots up the line, making a few highlight-reel plays that turned potential extra-base hits into outs.

It is safe to say that the Blue Jays would not be anywhere near postseason contention if it wasn’t for Guerrero Jr. and his impressive batting stats. At a few different moments this season, it looked like the righty slugger had the potential to capture the Triple Crown but a minor slump late the last few weeks of September saw other players pull ahead in all three categories, eventually settling for a tie in the home run category and falling a few spots back in the other two.

While he wins the Blue Jays MVP award, he may come up just a bit shy when it comes to the official AL MVP designation, as two-way star Shohei Ohtani appears to have the upper hand on the Montreal-born slugger. One could argue that Guerrero Jr. contributed more towards the club attempting to make the postseason compared to Ohtani and his role with the Angels but it is hard to argue with a two-way player that sports a sub 4.00 ERA and a high OPS.

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