TORONTO – Reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson was unanimously named Blue Jays player of the year while Marco Estrada was the decisive pick as pitcher of the year Thursday in voting by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Closer Roberto Osuna was a unanimous choice as the team’s rookie of the year, centre-fielder Kevin Pillar was named the most improved player while former general manager Alex Anthopoulos won the John Cerutti Award, given to the person associated with day-to-day workings of Blue Jays baseball who displays the goodwill, character and co-operation exemplified by late left-hander.
Donaldson batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers and 123 RBIs in his first season with the Blue Jays. Jose Bautista, the 2014 winner, finished second.
Estrada posted a 13-8 record with a 3.13 ERA in 34 games, 28 starts, while logging a career-best 181 innings. He signed as a $26-million, two-year extension as a free agent. David Price, who signed a $217-million, seven-year deal with the Boston Red Sox after the season, finished second.
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Osuna, just 20, went 1-6 with 20 saves and a 2.58 ERA, stabilizing a back-end of the bullpen that had been shaky. Aaron Sanchez finished second.
Pillar batted .278/.314/.399 with 12 homers and 56 RBIs and made a name for himself with a series of spectacular catches. Ryan Goins and Estrada tied for second.
Anthopoulos’s sixth season as GM culminated in an American League East championship but he left at season’s end citing concerns over the "fit" with new president Mark Shapiro for his departure, despite being offered a five-year contract extension.