Blue Jays' annual award winners announced
Encarnacion named club's top player; Janssen is top pitcher
TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion was the big winner as the Blue Jays' annual award winners were named, with the veteran first baseman earning Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year.
Encarnacion was named the club's top player by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The award hardly comes as a surprise following a season in which Encarnacion silenced any remaining critics with another impressive campaign.
Closer Casey Janssen was named the club's top pitcher, while right-hander Todd Redmond picked up the award for top rookie. The Most Improved Player Award went to All-Star reliever Brett Cecil , and the recently retired Mark DeRosa earned the John Cerutti Award, named after the late starting pitcher.
Encarnacion was easily Toronto's most valuable position player this season. If there was any lingering skepticism surrounding his 2012 production, it was fully erased as Encarnacion once again proved himself to be one of the elite hitters in the American League.
The 30-year-old missed the final two weeks of the season with a wrist injury but still ranked third in the AL with 36 home runs. He also finished sixth in RBIs (104), fifth in OPS (.904), fourth in walks (82) and ninth in extra-base hits (66).
The impressive numbers come just one season after he signed a three-year extension worth $29 million. After floundering at third base during the early stages of his career, Encarnacion turned things around shortly after being transitioned to first and has since taken over from Jose Bautista as the club's top performer.
Bautista finished second in the voting despite missing six weeks of the year with a deep bone bruise in his hip. Outfielder Colby Rasmus rounded out the top three following a breakout season in which he finished with an impressive .276 average, .840 OPS, 22 homers and 66 RBIs.
Janssen won the top honor for Blue Jays pitchers following his first full season as a closer. The 32-year-old recorded 34 saves in 36 opportunities while posting a 2.56 ERA over the course of 52 2/3 innings. Perhaps most impressive was the fact that Janssen never required a stint on the disabled list despite coming off shoulder surgery during the offseason and dealing with lingering soreness throughout the year.
Left-hander Mark Buehrle finished second in voting and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey finished third. The two veterans were the only consistent performers in a starting rotation that was decimated by injuries for the second consecutive year. Both starters surpassed 200 innings and recovered from slow Aprils to post respectable numbers across the board.
Redmond was the top rookie after being a surprise contributor to the Blue Jays this season. He was acquired during the offseason to provide additional depth at Triple-A, but because of all the injuries on the big league roster, Redmond ended up becoming a permanent fixture in Toronto by the beginning of August.
The 28-year-old went 4-3 with a 4.32 ERA over the course of 17 games, which included 14 starts. Redmond's only previous experience at the big league level came in 2012, when he made one appearance for the Reds. Hard-throwing reliever Neil Wagner finished second in the voting, while second baseman Ryan Goins used his brief audition in late August and September to finish third.
DeRosa picked up the Cerutti Award just a few weeks after he officially stepped away from the game to pursue a career in broadcasting. The Cerutti Award is given to a person that exemplifies the goodwill, cooperation and character as displayed by the late Cerutti. DeRosa has been known as one of the great ambassadors of the game over the course of his career and provided a much-needed veteran presence in the Blue Jays' clubhouse while also acting as a mentor for third baseman Brett Lawrie.