JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: THE MLB POSTSEASON EDITION
Going to back-to-back in the ALCS is a huge accomplishment for any team, and with the way the Toronto Blue Jays won the AL Wild Card game, with a sweep of the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, it looked like the Blue Jays were in position to give Cleveland a tough series. The bats would go into “September Mode” dropping the first three games in a best of seven series, scoring only three runs.
The Blue Jays would then try to join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only team to come back from a 0-3 deficit in a championship series. The offence would score some runs in game four, and the bullpen would dominate, bringing the series to 3-1. Jays fans had a glimpse of hope, maybe the season wasn’t over, maybe this team that had done the impossible so many times, could do it once again. In game five, against a rookie starter, and Marco Estrada taking the mound maybe a trip back to Cleveland was in the books? The offence again couldn’t get anything going, and Andrew Miller would continue to be brilliant out of the bullpen for Cleveland, and just like that…the 2016 season was over.
Hitter of the Week – Josh Donaldson .333/.400/.556, 6H, 1HR, 2RBI
Donaldson continued his tear at the plate this series, providing some of the best and biggest moments defensively in the field as well. His biggest hit coming in the third inning of Game four at the Rogers Centre, Donaldson would take Kluber over the wall to break open the Blue Jays offence for five runs in the game. When the calendar turns over to October, Donaldson becomes a monster. As a Blue Jay in the postseason, Donaldson is hitting .325, with an on base percentage of .402, driving in thirteen runs, all within 87 plate appearances. Donaldson is always regarded as a really clutch player, and this postseason run was no different than what fans expected out of their MVP.
Honorable Mention – Ezequiel Carrera .235/.235/.471, 4H, 2 3B, 1RBI
Every successful season usually has one or two players pop up who are unexpected heroes of the season. This season it could have been Aaron Sanchez, who won the fifth starter spot out of Spring Training to become an AL Cy Young Candidate. Or maybe it was Jason Grilli, who was having a poor season with the Braves and then turned it around in a huge way to lift the Blue Jays bullpen in the second half of the season. In the stretch run, that player was Ezequiel Carrera, who’s play at the plate, seemed to put the ball on everything, and in the outfield he was a solid corner defender. Carrera helped this team not only clinch a playoff spot, but get to five games into the ALCS.
While Carrera’s numbers might not be jaw dropping, last season the Blue Jays offence was a force to be reckoned with. Batters one through nine were capable of getting on base, and scoring a ton of runs. A huge part of the offence was the fact that the bottom of the Blue Jays order was extremely efficient at turning the order over for the big bats of Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. In 2015, the batters slotted into the seven through nine spots slashed .270/.328/.407, with 42 home runs, and batting in 203 runs. This season, that number has dropped significantly to .227/.283/.330, hitting 30 home runs, and driving in 146 runs. Carrera was that spark in the bottom of the order.
This drop off of production from the bottom of the order was a big reason why the Blue Jays stumbled offensively for long stretches this season. The Blue Jays would lead the AL East up until Aug 31, and were 19 games above .500 at that point in the season. The offence would go cold in the month of September, losing their division lead and their playoff chances were threatened eventually face planting their way into the playoffs.
Pitcher of the Week – Roberto Osuna 4.0IP, 3H, 0ER, 4SO, 0BB
This was a really tough choice. The entire bullpen in this series was dominant, while Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez both had great starts. Osuna was the hero of the series in the ALDS, but his play continued into this series as well. He pitched four innings, only allowing three batters to reach base. There was never a doubt when Osuna came out of the bullpen, he was a strike throwing machine, throwing 71% of his 49 pitches for strikes.
Fan Vote – Josh Donaldson .333/.400/.556, 6H, 1HR, 2RBI
It’s been a really fun season writing the player of the week article. Thanks to everyone who interacted with the poll throughout the season, and to those of you who liked reading the results. The fans final vote of the year is Josh Donaldson as their ALCS player of the week. Donaldson won by a landslide, and I think if we were to tally up the season totals Donaldson would have won the most fan votes. I look forward to get this article started up next April, in the meantime stay tuned to jaysfromthecouch.com for more great Blue Jays content.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Bliss Nogueira BlissPhoto.ca
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Spencer Redmond is a Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. His loves in life are the NBA, MLB, Stats, and his dog Parker.