The following was included in Mike Wilner’s post-game blog following Toronto’s 9-6 loss Sunday to the New York Yankees. You can read the full version of Wilner’s blog here.
At the end of every season, I take a poll of all the Blue Jays uniformed personnel — players and coaches — and ask them to vote anonymously in four categories: MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Most Pleasant Surprise of the season.
With so much roster turnover this season, not every player voted — guys like Chad Beck, Bobby Korecky and Shawn Hill, who were barely here, for example. And injured players who are not with the team such as Jose Bautista, J.A. Happ, David Cooper and the Tommy John Squad didn’t take part in the voting either.
What I have always enjoyed about this exercise is just how seriously the players and coaches take it. Voting for a team MVP this season was easy like cake and Edwin Encarnacion was a near-unanimous winner, but the balloting was tight in every other category and people really thought hard about their votes before making a decision. That was especially true in voting for Rookie of the Year, what with 16 eligible candidates.
Most of the players and coaches either laughed or rolled their eyes upon being asked to name the club’s MVP before either pointing to Encarnacion’s locker or just saying “Edwin” (though one guy said “Edward.”I’m not saying who), but the decision was a lot tougher when deciding who was the Blue Jays’ Pitcher of the Year.
It was the first time I can remember that the award wasn’t won by a starter, but this year only two of those managed to stay healthy, neither of whom warranted consideration. It was clearly between Casey Janssen and Darren Oliver, the two mainstays of the bullpen, each of whom had a sensational season. Janssen stabilized the back end of the bullpen in early May and has been a phenomenal closer ever since, while Oliver had run through his age-41 season with a WHIP under 1.00 until Sunday’s loss and is close to a strikeout an inning despite never breaking 90 on the radar gun.
Surprisingly (to me, anyway), Oliver was the people’s choice — winning by the slimmest margin of any of the categories, just 2.5 votes over Janssen. Voters were allowed to split their ballots.
Rookie of the Year voting was difficult for a couple of reasons. First of all, the sheer number of freshmen who suited up in Blue Jays blue gave people a lot of options, though a few of them could be easily eliminated, like Sam Dyson, Robert Coello and the Carpenter brothers, Drew and David (no relation). It really came down to five guys who were late-season additions to the roster — relievers Delabar and Loup, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria and outfielders Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra, though I would have given Drew Hutchison some consideration as well.
In all, eight different players garnered votes for Rookie of the Year, and it was Loup who came out on top.
Here’s the full voting breakdown for every category:
Edwin Encarnacion – 36 votes
Darren Oliver – 1
Who do you think is the Blue Jays 2012 MVP?
Pitcher of the Year:
Darren Oliver – 15
Casey Janssen – 12.5
Carlos Villanueva – 5.5
(Also receiving votes: Brandon Morrow 4, Henderson Alvarez 1, Luis Perez 1)
Who do you think is the Blue Jays Pitcher of the Year?
Rookie of the Year:
Aaron Loup – 17.5
Steve Delabar – 9.5
Moises Sierra – 3.5
(Also receiving votes: Drew Hutchison 3, David Cooper 2, Anthony Gose 2, Adeiny Hechavarria 1, Chad Jenkins 1)
Who do you think is the Blue Jays Rookie of the Year?
Most Pleasant Surprise:
Aaron Loup – 11
Edwin Encarnacion – 6
Casey Janssen – 6
(Also receiving votes: Adeiny Hechavarria 5, Anthony Gose 2, Brandon Lyon 1, Darren Oliver 1, Moises Sierra 1, Strong finish to bad year 1)
Who has been the most pleasant surprise this season?