Canaries Announce 2017 Team Awards
Sioux Falls, SD – The Sioux Falls Canaries wrapped up the 2017 American Association season on Monday afternoon with a 4-2 loss to the Sioux City Explorers. The Birds finished their season with a 45-55 record, and wound up with a 4th place finish in the American Association’s North Division. While the season didn’t live up to full expectations, there were some players on the Canaries roster who deserved recognition for their outstanding season.
Over the last week, sfcanaries.com received nearly 1,000 ballots from Canaries fans, coaches, players and front office staff, all casting their votes for the 2017 End of Season Team Awards. There were some close races for Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, but in the end, these five Birds’ were named the top Canaries players in 2017.
TEAM MVP: Burt Reynolds, OF
Burt Reynolds finished the season for the Canaries hitting .283/.348/.468 with 24 doubles, 16 home runs and 68 RBI. Though he did finish with fewer home runs than in 2016, Reynolds had a better average, more hits, more runs scored, more stolen bases and more RBI than his 2016 campaign with the Texas AirHogs and Laredo Lemurs.
Reynolds also finished red-hot down the final stretch of the season, hitting .323 in August with four doubles, seven home runs and 29 RBI. Reynolds led the team in hits and doubles, and was eighth in the league with his 24 doubles. Reynolds’ 34 stolen bases were also second on the team and tied for fifth in the American Association.
Reynolds proved to be an asset in the field for the Canaries this season, playing five different positions. Reynolds accrued starts at first and third base, as well as all three outfield positions, finishing the season with .957 fielding percentage with 185 put-outs and 13 assists in 657 innings in the field.
Pitcher of the Year: Grady Wood, SP
One of the top starting pitchers in the American Association, Wood finished his first season in Sioux Falls with a 8-3 record and a 2.71 ERA. He totaled 117 strikeouts, 24 walks and an opponent batting average of just .218. Over 19 starts, Wood threw three complete-games and one shutout over 132.2 innings pitched.
Wood’s 2.71 ERA ranked third in the American Association this season, while his 117 strikeouts were good enough for fifth overall. Wood was also one of just 10 pitchers in the league to throw three or more complete-games, including an August 13th victory over the St. Paul Saints.
In one of his most dominant stretches in early August, Wood allowed just two runs over 25.0 innings pitched, good for a 3-0 record and 0.72 ERA in three starts against St. Paul, Winnipeg and Salina.
Offensive Player of the Year: Jabari Henry, OF
Even though Jabari Henry missed almost three weeks of the season with an injury, He still finished among the league leaders in every offensive category, both for the Birds and in the American Association. Henry hit .302/.401/.617 for Sioux Falls with 13 doubles, a triple, 29 home runs and 72 RBI.
Henry’s 29 home runs led the American Association, and tied former Canary Tim Pahuta (2013) for the Birds’ single-season home run record. Henry also finished one homer short of tying the American Association single-season record set by former Wichita Wingnut C.J. Ziegler in 2013.
Henry also led the league in slugging percentage, while leading the Canaries in average, home runs, runs scored and RBI.
Defensive Player of the Year: Brett Marr, IF
Brett Marr made 51 starts at second base, 11 at shortstop and one in the outfield for the Canaries, posting a .973 fielding percentage with 100 put-outs, 152 assists and just seven errors in his first season as a professional.
At the plate, Marr hit .225/.324/.291 in 59 games for the Canaries, with six doubles, a triple, two home runs and 13 RBI in his first season in the American Association. Marr also tallied nine stolen bases in nine attempts on the base paths.
Rookie of the Year: Dan Motl, OF
In his first season of professional baseball, Motl quickly became the Canaries everyday centerfielder with a combination of terrific defense, speed and a good bat at the plate.
Motl hit .256/.352/.356 for the Birds with 14 doubles, nine triples, 52 runs scored and 41 RBI. Motl also swiped 37 bags in 41 attempts to lead the team in stolen bases. Motl’s 37 stolen bases also ranked third in the American Association, while his nine triples came in first.
In the field, Motl was the only Canary not to commit an error this season, position a 1.000 fielding percentage with 237 put-outs and 7 assists.
Most Improved: James Jones, RP
After going 0-2 with a 4.80 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 15 walks in 27 relief appearances in 2016 for Sioux Falls, James Jones was much improved in the 2017 campaign. In 2017, Jones went 3-3 with a 2.57 ERA, 47 strikeouts and 17 walks in 36 relief appearances.
Jones improved his ERA by more than two-full points in 2017 while recording more strikeouts and just two more walks in 12.0 more innings pitched. Jones also recorded two saves for the Canaries in 2017, and led the Canaries with his 2.57 ERA among qualified relievers.
Opponents hit just .219 against Jones in 2017, compared to .223 in 2016, while allowing four less runs in 12 more innings.