Two of the keys to the Blue Jays second half run were honored today by the Florida State League. First baseman Josh Kreuzer was named FSL Player of The Year and selected as the league's best first baseman. Jacob Butler was selected as the league's best left fielder.
Currently, the Blue Jays sit two games in front of the Clearwater Threshers and two and a half games ahead of the Tampa Yankees for the second half West Division title. The Blue Jays and Threshers play Wednesday and Thursday in Clearwater.
Kreuzer is having the best year of his career in 2007. In five seasons, Kreuzer has a .260 batting average, never hitting better than .267. Only twice did he have double digits in home runs. But this year has been a different story as his .307 batting average is currently fourth in the FSL. The power numbers are up too, with the 24 year old hitting 20 homers, 34 doubles (both numbers fourth in the league) which have combined to put him first in extra base hits (54). Despite slugging at a league best .541 clip, Kreuzer has been disciplined at the plate. His league leading .428 on base percentage follows his rise in walks from 25 in the first half of the season to 37, and strikeouts falling from 47 to 35.
Kreuzer is the third Dunedin Blue Jay to be named FSL Player of The Year. The others are Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells and New York Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado.
Butler's league leading 23 home runs and 81 RBI (third in the league) made him a perfect choice in left field on the post-season All-Star Team. Butler was doing well in the first half, but has been hot since the All Star break. He has hit 14 of his homers in the second half and 48 of his RBI. In 100 games as Dunedin's left fielder, Butler has only five errors. This isn't the first honor for Butler in his career. In 2005, he was named the Pulaski Blue Jays' MVP, Butler's first season in the minors.
Nielsen Named Player of The Week
You can see Jacob Butler, Josh Kreuzer, and Eric Nielsen back in action at Knology Park when the D-Jays end their regular season with a three game set against Ft. Myers. The first game is Friday, August 31, at 7pm. For more information on tickets or if you have any questions about the Blue Jays, please call us at 727-733-9302.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.