The Gold Glove finalists were released yesterday so it’s time to start thinking about Awards Season.
Lourdes Gurriel was the only Blue Jay nominated for a Gold Glove, which isn’t particularly surprising given the fact that the team wasn’t exactly, ya know, good on the defensive side of the game.
As I mentioned yesterday, Gurriel is a bit of a headscratcher for a Gold Glove but so are many, many other selections. Managers had to vote on the top fielders in their respective leagues even though they didn’t get to see two-thirds of the teams this season. As a result, a player like Gurriel who makes highlight-reel grabs and guns guys out at home will warrant attention.
Will Gurriel win the Gold Glove? Probably not. Kyle Tucker has the best defensive metrics of the three while Alex Gordon is the nice, easy, lazy choice because he’s already won seven times. I imagine a few managers just said fuck it and made Gordon their pick because of his history.
Anyways, are there any other Blue Jays who could take home a major award this season? For major awards, I’m talking Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and Manager of the Year.
Cy Young is locked up by Shane Bieber who posted an 8-1 record with a 1.63 ERA for Cleveland this year. Hyun Jin Ryu will likely get some votes but obviously nobody is beating Bieber.
MVP is a bit of a crapshoot. Mike Trout had a bit of a ho-hum season by his standards so we’ll likely see somebody different win this year. You can make an argument for any of Jose Abreu, DJ LeMahieu, or Jose Ramirez. Teoscar Hernandez might have found himself in this mix if he didn’t get injured.
Rookie of the Year is between Seattle’s Kyle Lewis, Chicago’s Luis Robert, and Oakland’s Sean Murphy. Heading into the season, you’d have expected (or hoped, I guess) for Nate Pearson to be in this discussion, but his debut was underwhelming and injury-riddled. Toronto’s best rookie was easily Jordan Romano but a reliever won’t get consideration over a position player.
Is Silver Slugger a major award? Maybe? If any Blue Jay is going to take home a Silver Slugger, it’s Hernandez, who was certainly one of the top three offensive outfielders this season.
So that brings us to the Manager of the Year, which, hilariously, is definitely the major award that a Blue Jay is most likely to win.
Now, before everyone shouts at me, let me preface by saying I don’t believe Charlie Montoyo is the best manager in the American League. I think he does a lot of things well, like creating a relaxed environment for young players to break into the league, but I’m also well aware of his puzzling decision making.
Regardless, we have to remember what the Manager of the Year really is. It’s an award generally handed out to the manager of a team who did surprisingly well, like the Blue Jays. For example, recent winners like Jeff Bannister in 2015, Paul Molitor and Torey Lovullo in 2017, and so on are situations in which a team did better than expected and the manager was given credit.
In Montoyo’s case, the Jays navigated not having a home stadium for the first few weeks of the season and worked around injuries to key players like Bo Bichette and Ken Giles on their way to earning a surprising playoff berth. The writers who vote on this award are going to think about how Montoyo led the young Jays through the challenge of playing in Buffalo and the injuries the team faced a hell of a lot more than the decision to use Sam Gaviglio in a high-leverage situation in July.
I would guess that Manager of the Year comes down to Montoyo or Rick Renteria, the manager of the White Sox who enjoyed a breakout season this year. Kevin Cash will also likely be in the discussion because of how good the Rays are.
Given how hard everyone was on Charlie for his in-game decisions, it would be pretty funny to see him win Manager of the Year. I mean, again, he isn’t the A.L.’s best manager, but he did good things this year and it would be great to see him get some hardware for it.