Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, who had a breakout season as the Toronto Blue Jays spent 2020 playing their home games in Sahlen Field, was named the Blue Jays' most valuable and most improved player Wednesday in voting by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The Buffalo News has a membership and a vote in the Toronto chapter.
Hernandez batted .289 and was the team leader in home runs (16), slugging (.579) and OPS (.919). He was second on the club with 34 RBIs. He won his first Silver Slugger Award last month, joining Los Angeles' Mike Trout and Chicago's Eloy Jimenez as the outfield choices for the league's top offensive players as voted on by managers and coaches.
Hernandez finished fifth in the AL in home runs and his average of 11.9 at-bats per home run was the fourth best in the league, behind only New York's Luke Voit (9.7), Minnesota's Nelson Cruz (11.6) and Trout (11.7). He also tied for the MLB lead with seven outfield assists.
Hernandez collected 26 homers and 65 RBIs in 2019 but batted just .230. In 2020, his batting average went up 59 points, while his slugging percentage jumped by 122 points and his OPS went up by 141 points.
The Toronto BBWAA chapter made ace Hyun-Jin Ryu an unanimous choice for the team's Pitcher of the Year and tabbed reliever Jordan Romano as rookie of the year. In his first season with the Blue Jays after signing a four-year, $80 million free agent deal, Ryu finished third in Cy Young balloting after going 5-2 with a 2.69 earned-run average that was fourth in the AL. Romano was 2-1, 1.23 with two saves in 15 relief outings and held opponents to a 1.54 batting average.
The chapter awarded outfielder Anthony Alford and departed broadcaster Mike Wilner with the John Cerutti Award given to organization members for displaying goodwill, cooperation and character. Alford, who was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline, and Hernandez are both former Buffalo Bisons. Wilner, whose contract was not renewed by Sportsnet on Monday after 18 years with the club, spent the last two years doing the game broadcast with former Buffalo voice Ben Wagner.