Lourdes Gurriel Jr. named top Toronto Blue Jay for 2019
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates after homered to left against Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (45) during fourth inning MLB American League baseball action in Toronto on Tuesday June 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 4, 2019 5:40PM EST
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., has been named the team's player of the year and most improved player for 2019.
Gurriel edged second baseman Cavan Biggio for the Neil MacCarl Award as player of the year in voting conducted by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
After struggling at the plate and on defence at second base to open 2019, Gurriel was sent to triple-A Buffalo on April 15 and converted to an outfielder.
The Blue Jays called the 26-year-old Cuban back up on May 24. Gurriel finished the year batting .277 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs in 84 games with Toronto (67-95).
Gurriel missed chunks of the last two months because of a left quad strain and an appendectomy.
Meanwhile, closer Ken Giles was named the team's pitcher of the year, shortstop Bo Bichette got the rookie of the year nod and first baseman Justin Smoak earned the John Cerutti Award recipient for displaying goodwill, co-operation and character.
Giles finished 2-3 with a 1.87 ERA and 23 saves.
Bichette, who was called up in late July, hit .311 with 11 homers and 21 RBIs in 46 games with Toronto.
Biggio was second in the rookie of the year vote, while former top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., was third.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2019.