Dunedin was unfortunately defeated by the Daytona Cubs (affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) in their three-game series. The team did have many things to be proud of in 2011 including their manager, Clayton McCullough, named manager of the year.
The team finished seventh in the league in batting average, producing an overall .262 average for the year. As a team, they hit 287 doubles (first), 22 triples, 125 homeruns (first) and 641 RBIs (first). They also scored 689 runs as a team which placed second in the league. They walked 490 times which was second in the league but did strikeout 1053 times which, unfortunately second most.
Many key players contributed to the success of this line-up including:
1) C A.J. Jimenez: Jimenez, a Puerto Rican native, was drafted in the 9th round of the 2008 MLB draft whose offensive game has been getting better every year since turning pro. He had a break out campaign in 2011 hitting for a .303 average, he also hit 29 doubles, one triple, four homeruns and drove in 52 runs. He showed very good plate vision only striking out 60 times and walking 28 times in 103 games. He is also very athletic for a catcher stealing 11 bases while only being caught two times. He was rewarded for a strong showing this season being named to the FSL Mid/Post-Season All-Star teams.
2) OF Brad McElroy: The London, ON native was drafted in the 25th round in the 2008 MLB draft had a breakout year offensively in 2011. The Canadian outfielder hit for a .295 average, while also hitting 24 doubles, three triples, three homeruns and driving in 42 runs. Like Jimenez, McElroy show good plate vision by only striking out 58 times and walking 39 times in 106 games. He showed great speed stealing 31 bases, which ranked sixth in the league, while only being caught six times. Click here for McElroy’s interview with JaysProspects.
3) SS Ryan Goins: The 23-year-old Goins was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB draft. He was a big part of the Dunedin offense hitting for a .286 average, while also hitting 24 doubles, five triples, three homeruns and driving in 52 runs. He too showed great plate vision only striking out 67 times while walking 32 times in 102 games. Click here for Goins’ interview with JaysProspects.
4) OF Brad Glenn: Glenn a 24-year-old outfielder was drafted in the 23rd round in the 2009 MLB draft had a break out power year for Dunedin. He hit for a .263 average, while also hitting 25 doubles, one triple, 26 homeruns (lead all Blue Jays’ minor leaguers) and drove in 80 runs (sixth in the league). Like a typical power hitter Glenn struggled with plate discipline striking out 123 times while only walking 30 times. He was reward for his season being named to the FSL Mid/Post-Season All-Star teams.
5) OF Brian Van Kirk: This 26-year-old Florida native was drafted in the 21st round of the 2008 MLB draft who enjoyed a breakout season in the FSL in 2011. He hit for a .292 average, while also hitting 21 doubles, one triple, 17 homeruns and drove in 66 runs. He showed some plate discipline by walking 50 times compared to 89 strike outs in 103 games.
Honourable Mention: C/3B Sean Ochinko: Drafted as a catcher out of Louisiana State in the 11th round of the 2009 MLB draft has done nothing but hit since turning pro. He has been playing some infield as well playing 17 games at 1B and 28 games at 3B for Dunedin. His offensive numbers took a dip in 2011 but were still respectable, he hit for a .261 average, while also hitting 35 doubles (ranked fourth in the league), one triple, 16 homeruns and drove in 79 runs (second on the team).
Honourable Mention: OF/INF Justin Jackson: The 23-year-old Jackson was drafted in the first round (45th overall) in the 2007 MLB draft. Since turning pro Jackson has struggling getting a consistent offensive game going but started to turn it around in 2011. He played in 92 games for Dunedin and hit for a .259 average while also hitting 16 doubles, two triples, four homeruns and 24 RBIs. He continued to show some speed swiping eight bases while being caught five times. He was rewarded for a strong first half being named to the FSL Mid-Season All-Star team. Click here for Jackson’s interview with JaysProspects.
Dunedin placed eighth in the league in team ERA with a respectable 3.87, allowing 521 earned runs in just over 1212 innings pitched. They had a few key stats that contributed their pitching success, as a team struck out the fourth most batters with 1026, also allowed the second least walks with 356 and least hit by pitches with 47. Another key stats contributing to their pitching success was 45 saves which lead the league.
Many key players contributed to the success of this pitching staff including:
1) RHP Deck McGuire: Deck was the Blue Jays first pick in the 2010 MLB draft (11th overall) in Alex Anthopoulos’ first draft as General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. The 22-year-old right-handed pitcher enjoyed a successful first pro season with Dunedin and New Hampshire. He started his season with Dunedin going 7-4 with an amazing 2.75ERA in 19 games (18 starts). He held opponents to a miniscule .228 average and struck out 102 batters only walking 38 in just over a 104 innings pitched. He was rewarded for his strong season in Dunedin being named to the FSL Mid-Season All-Star team. He finished off the season playing a huge part in the Championship winning New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Click here for McGuire’s interview with JaysProspects.
2) RHP Nester Molina: Since signing with the Blue Jays as a non-drafted free agent in April of 2006, Molina has put up some extraordinary numbers. This year with the Dunedin Blue Jays, he was given the chance to start games for the first time in his professional career and didn’t disappoint. He went 10-3 with a 2.58ERA in 21 games (18 starts). He held opponents to a .248 average while striking out 115 batters only walking 14 in just over 108 innings pitched. He was rewarded for a superb season being named to the FSL Mid/Post-Season All-Star teams. He finished off the season playing a huge part in the Championship winning New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
3) RHP Wes Etheridge: Etheridge, who had not played pro-ball since 2008, was signed by the Blue Jays as minor league free agent in 2011. He was Dunedin’s most reliable reliever and their closer saving all 32 save opportunities. He went 1-1 with an amazing 1.89ERA in 46 games. He held opponents to a .222 average while striking out 38 batters only walking 7 in just over 47 innings. He was rewarded for his strong showing being named to the FSL Mid/Post-Season All-Star teams. He finished off the season playing a big part in the Championship winning New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
4) LHP Frank Gailey: A 26-year-old left-handed reliever was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2007 MLB draft has been brilliant since turning pro. He went 4-2 with a 1.84ERA in 26 games for Dunedin in 2011. He held opponents to a ridiculous .168 average while striking out 38 batters only walking 10 in 44 innings pitched.
5) RHP Ryan Tepera: The 24-year-old Tepera was drafted in the 19th round of the 2009 MLB draft has had a decent start to his pro career. He went 11-6 with a 4.43ERA in 27 games (23 starts) for Dunedin. Opponents hit .276 off the right-hander but he did struck out 93 batters while walking only 38 in just over 146 innings pitched.
Honourable Mention: RHP Asher Wojciechowski: The intimidating right-handed pitcher was drafted in the first round supplementary portion of the 2010 MLB draft (41st overall). He struggled a bit in his first full-season going 11-9 with a 4.70ERA in 25 games (22 starts) for Dunedin. Opponents were able to hit .292 of the 23-year-old but he did strike out 96 batters while only walking 31 in just over 130 innings pitched.
That sums up the season of the Dunedin Blue Jays, JaysProspects looks forward to seeing what young talent is coming next!
Click here for the Lansing Lugnuts season recap. Stay tuned for the season recap of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats!