TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez were the big winners when the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced its annual awards on Thursday afternoon.
Donaldson was named the Blue Jays' Player of the Year for the second consecutive season while Sanchez picked up the Pitcher of the Year and Most Improved honors. Rule 5 pick-turned-key-set-up-reliever Joe Biagini was unanimously voted as Toronto's Rookie of the Year.
Pitching coach Pete Walker received the John Cerutti Award, which is given annually to a member of the club who displays goodwill, cooperation and character. It was once known as the Good Guy Award, but was renamed in 2004 to honor the late Toronto left-handed starter.
Donaldson received 10 of the 14 first-place votes and a total of 40 points for to earn Player of the Year. Edwin Encarnacion picked up four first-place votes and 32 points overall to finish second. In the pitching category, Sanchez received 12 first-place votes while J.A. Happ and Roberto Osuna each earned one.
The 30-year-old Donaldson recently finished fourth in the BBWAA's voting for American League Most Valuable Player. He led the team in OPS (.953), on-base percentage (.404), walks (109) and he was first among qualified batters with a .284 average. Donaldson also finished second to Encarnacion in home runs (37) and RBIs (99).
Sanchez technically didn't even know whether he'd make the team out of Spring Training, but he finished the year as the club's most valuable pitcher. He led the starters with a 3.00 ERA and, despite talk about an innings limit, finished just eight frames shy of 200 during the regular season.
It was a flawless transition to a full-time starting role after spending the previous two years mostly in the bullpen.
Biagini was one of Toronto's biggest surprises. He arrived in camp as a relative unknown after having never pitched above Double-A with San Francisco. But he cracked the 25-man roster as a long reliever and quickly saw his role increase to high-leverage situations. Biagini finished the year with a 4-3 record and a 3.06 ERA over 60 games.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.