Jays From the Couch makes predictions on this year’s 2016 R. Howard Webster Award winners, with a look at ‘runner-ups’ and previous winners
Every season a select few Toronto Blue Jays prospects are recognized for helping their team succeed. The R. Howard Webster Awards are handed out at the end of the MiLB season to the Most Valuable Player for each Blue Jays minor league affiliate.
Typical this award is given to the prospect who put up good numbers, yet remained at the same level for the duration of the season. I’ve listed my winners below, along with my runner ups and the past two winners at each level.
Buffalo Bisons (66-78, 5th)
The Buffalo Bison received strong performances from several players throughout the 2016 season, but none more than 3rd baseman Matt Dominguez.
Dominguez provided the Herd with a rock at the hot corner. For his efforts in the field, Matt will challenge for another gold glove. Not only did he provide highlights with the glove, he also provided some fireworks. Dominguez lead the Bisons in home runs, falling shy of 20 home runs.
Jesus Montero– I just couldn’t bring myself to give the award to a full-time DH, despite being the Herd’s most consistent contributor in 2016.
Dustin Antolin– During his Triple-A rookie season, Antolin provided the Bisons skipper with a consistent late inning reliever. Dustin finishes the year leading the team in saves.
Matt Hague– 2015
Kevin Pillar– 2014
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (69-73, 4th)
Probably the easy award to hand out. Rowdy Tellez is the winner by a country mile.
After a slow start to the year, hitting .164 through 19 April games. Tellez maintained his approach at the plate, slowly working his way back to a respectable batting as May turned into June. He would hit over .300 in each of the next next 3 months (June, July and August). The burly 1st baseman led the Fisher Cats in almost ever offensive category.
If I could name the entire bullpen, MVP, I would have. Unfortunately, I can’t. So I’m going with Murphy Smith as my runner up. Smith combined with several other relievers, forming an impressive back end. Many of his colleagues (Wil Browning, Chris Smith, John Stilson, Danny BarnesMatt Dermody) received promotions, leaving Murphy to hold down the fort.
Ryan Schimpf– 2015
Jon Berti– 2014
Dunedin Blue Jays (43-23, 1st)
There are three deserving candidates from the 2016 Dunedin squad.
There is zero doubt in my mind this award likely would have went to Richard Urena had he not gotten promoted to Double-A.
McBroom will likely receive strong consideration for his 2nd straight R. Howard Webster Award, after he produced his third excellent season.
Despite not receiving the attention as Urena or McBroom. Jonathon Davis gets my MVP pick.
Finally healthy, the 24-yr-old Davis finished 2016 leading the D-Jays in games played, triples, walks, stolen bases, and on-base percentage. He finished second on team in doubles, home runs, and runs batted in. Consistency was Davis’ issue. Heck, even his name was inconsistent. He started the year as J.D. Davis, then switched back to Jonathan Davis.
Davis hit over .280 in April and June, but failed to hit over .200 in May and July. Imagine the numbers he would’ve posted had he been able to hit in May and July.
Ryan McBroom- he might actually be the safer bet.
Dwight Smith Jr.- 2014
Lansing Lugnuts (36-34 and 33-37. Overall record 69-71, 5th)
From start to finish, Juan Kelly was the catalyst of the Lugnuts offence in 2016. Kelly led the Lugnuts in hits, doubles, triples, RBI, and BB. He finished second, behind Max Pentecost, in OBP, SLUG,BA, and OPS. Juan Kelly also showed he’s no stranger with the glove, playing a mean 1st base. This will be the Mid-Season All-Star’s 2nd MVP award.
Angel Perdomo– despite a losing record, Perdomo was one of the top pitchers in the Midwest League.
Ryan Borucki– had Ryan started the year with the Lugnuts, the MVP race might have been closer. Borucki gained confidence as the season wore on.
Ryan McBroom- 2015
Mitch Nay– 2014
Vancouver Canadians (13-23, 3rd)
Patrick Murphy gets the nod over two strong 2016 draft picks. Murphy started 2016 by getting knocked around as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. This came as no surprise to this fan, as Murphy dealt with injuries since being drafted in 2013. The fact that Murphy remained healthy enough to pitch 94.2 innings is a testament to the 21-yr-old strength and determination.
Murphy quickly established himself as the C’s ACE, leading them in wins, IP, and strike outs.
Cavan Biggio– A strong hit tool and an advanced approach at the plate will get Biggio some strong consideration
J.B Woodman- After a slow start, Woodman had a strong July. His power showed up in August, as he hit all 3 of his home runs.
Ryan Hissey– 2015
Bluefield Blue Jays (37-31, 3rd)
Bradley Jones leads the league in HR, RBI, SLUG%, and total bases. He strikes out a tonne but established himself as power bat, one to keep an eye on over the next few seasons. Here’s a piece i recently wrote on Bradley Jones (here).
Osman Gutierrez will get some consideration for his consistent play over 11 starts. He pitched one of two Bluefield complete games, throwing a complete game (7IP), 2 hit, shut out on August 4th.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr will also get consideration for being a 17-yr-old who didn’t look out of place playing with prospects 2-3 years his senior. Vlad showed good power, a good eye and surprising speed while playing 3rd base.
Rodrigo Orozco– 2015
Richard Urena- 2014
Gulf Coast League Blue Jays (39-17, 2nd)
Bo Bichette would’ve walked away with this award had he not missed the entire month of August. Instead, Noberto Obeso will win his second consecutive R. Howard Webster Award. Obeso continues to show excellent plate discipline, leading the league in walks. Obeso walked twice as much as he struck out. The 21-yr-old from Mexico has yet to show much, if any home run power, but he lead the GCL Blue Jays in doubles.
David Jacob– Led GCL Blue Jays in HR and showed a good eye at the plate.
Justin Maese– 2015
Juan Kelly- 2014
Dominican Summer League Blue Jays (36-32, 2nd)
Contreras led the DSL Blue Jays in games played, triples, total bases, walks, slugging, and OPS.
Kelly led in HR, and OBP. He feel just shy of Contreras in almost ever other offensive category.
My guess is that Contreras ends up the victor.
Elio Silva led the DSL Blue Jays in IP and GS, while posting a solid 2.05 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.
Norberto Obeso– 2015
Enmanuel Moreta– 2014
Good luck to all Blue Jays prospects. Congratulations on a fantastic 2016 season. Stay tuned as Jays From the Couch breaks down the season of each Toronto MiLB affiliate.
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.