Sport

ABL: Toronto Blue Jays prospect Jason Leblebijian named MVP of the Canberra Cavalry

Canberra Cavalry chief executive Donn McMichael believes most valuable player winner Jason Leblebijian is on the right track to progress to the big leagues.

Leblebijian was rewarded for a wonderful rookie season in the Australian Baseball League at the Cavalry's awards dinner on Monday night.

The superb hitting of the 24-year-old Toronto Blue Jays prospect has played a key role in the Cavalry clinching second spot and home-field advantage in their playoff series with the Adelaide Bite, starting in Adelaide on Friday night.

Leblebijian is tied with Adelaide's Kyle Petty as the league-leader in runs batted in with 44, equal second for runs scored (39) and has a batting average of .312 from 51 games.

Throw in Leblebijian's sharp fielding work at short-stop, and it's easy to see why McMichael is bullish of his chances of playing in the major leagues.

"He's pretty much been unpassable at short-stop, he's got a big bat, so he's been hitting very well and as an infielder he's been a huge asset for us," McMichael said.

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"I think that he's got all the tools to go to the big leagues and he's just a magnificent player.

"When the Blue Jays put forward the players they were sending us, we said, 'that's great, but is there any chance of getting an infielder?'

"They sent (Leblebijian) out and he's been a revelation for us."

From a rookie to one of the Cavalry's veterans, Brian Grening claimed the pitcher of the year award in his fourth season with the club.

The 30-year-old is second in the league in strike-outs with 83, a win-loss record of 6-4 with an earned run average of 3.47 and has thrown three complete games.

"He seems to be getting better with age," McMichael said.

"He's our starting pitcher for game one of the playoffs and we're very happy with him."

Michael Click was named the Cavalry's best relieving pitcher after putting up spectacular numbers, conceding just four earned runs in 27.2 innings for a superb ERA of 1.30 to go with 10 saves.

Another newcomer, left-fielder David Harris, claimed the club's silver slugger award.

Harris has the best hitting average in the ABL of .346 to go with six home runs and 19 runs batted in, while the golden glove went to third baseman Bryan Pounds.

The Cavalry host game two of their playoff series on Saturday night, and game three if required on Sunday.

"We've had huge support from the members," McMichael said.

"The general admission you never know until the day and we've had a good take up of the corporate packages, so we're anticipating another good crowd."

Canberra Cavalry end of season awards: MVP: Jason Leblebijan. Best pitcher: Brian Grening. Best reliever: Michael Click. Silver Slugger: David Harris. Golden Glove: Bryan Pounds.

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