2020 TORONTO BBWAA AWARD WINNERS
The Toronto Chapter of the BBWAA has announced its annual award winners highlighted by the selection of OF Teoscar Hernández, who earned both the Neil MacCarl Award as player of the year and the Most Improved Player Award. Also recognized were LHP Hyun Jin Ryu, who earned the Pitcher of the Year, RHP Jordan Romano as the Rookie of the Year, along with OF Anthony Alford and Broadcaster Mike Wilner as the John Cerutti Award co-recipients for displaying goodwill, cooperation, and character.
Alford, 26, played 13 games for the Blue Jays and five for the Pittsburgh Pirates before a right elbow fracture ended his season. The right-handed hitting outfielder homered for each club and posted a personal-best .741 OPS for the year. The native of Columbia, MS, played an integral role in 2020 as he shared his personal experiences with racism and discrimination, which his teammates say influenced and impacted them throughout the summer’s Black Lives Matter initiatives.
Hernández, 28, slugged 16 home runs during the regular season, tied for fifth among American League batters. The native of Cotui, Dominican Republic, also ranked seventh in the AL in slugging percentage (.579), seventh in OPS (.919), tied for ninth in total bases (110), while finishing 13th with a career-best .289 batting average – an offensive performance which led to his first career Silver Slugger Award. The right fielder made his mark on the defensive side as well, tying for the Major League lead as he racked up seven outfield assists.
Romano, 27, posted a 1.23 ERA while holding opponents to a .154 batting average in 15 appearances before he was sidelined with a with a right middle finger strain at the end of August. Among American League pitchers with at least 15 games pitched, the Markham, ON, native finished sixth in ERA, ninth in opponents’ average, 11th in SO/9 (12.89), and 12th in WHIP (0.89). The 6-5, 225 lb. right-hander earned both his first career save and first career win this season and is a nominee for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual Tip O’Neill Award.
Ryu, 33, ranked fourth among American League pitchers with a 2.69 ERA while going 5-2 across 12 starts. The Incheon, South Korea, native was also top-10 in the AL in strikeouts (ninth, 72), SO/9 (ninth, 9.67), BB/9 (seventh, 2.28), SO/BB (tied for eighth, 4.24), and innings pitched (tied for 10th, 67.0). Ryu strengthened as the season went on, allowing two-or-fewer earned runs in nine of his last 10 starts, and helped Toronto clinch its first postseason berth since 2016 with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees on September 24. The lefty’s effort led to a 3.0 bWAR for the season, which was third best among all Major League players, trailing only Mookie Betts (3.4) and Shane Bieber (3.2).
Wilner spent 18 seasons as a member of Toronto’s broadcast crew and was on the Blue Jays beat for the last three decades. The Toronto native hosted the pre- and post-game shows from 2002 to 2018 while moving into a full-time play-by-play role in 2013, spending the last two seasons with Ben Wagner as the radio duo bringing the sights and sounds of the ballpark to life for Blue Jays fans across the country. The University of Toronto graduate worked collegiate games and began his professional radio career at age 19 with the Single-A Welland Pirates, before broadcasting for the Single-A Watertown Indians and the Double-A Hardware City Rock Cats.
– BLUE JAYS –