By Jordan Bastian and August Fagerstrom
MLB.com |@MLBastian |
CLEVELAND -- A handful of Indians players are being recognized for their accomplishments on and off the field this season, earning nominations for the 2015 Esurance MLB Awards.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor has earned a nomination as one of the 13 players in the running for Best Rookie, ace Corey Kluber is up for the Best Performance, All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis is in the mix for both Bounceback Player and Best Social Media Personality and Indians radio voice Tom Hamilton has been nominated for the Best Radio Call of the year.
Lindor burst on the scene upon his June 14 promotion, displaying his elite defensive skills at shortstop with well-above average production at the plate and an infectious personality that sparked a scuffling Indians clubhouse. The switch-hitter posted a .313 average with 12 home runs in 99 games, and led all American League rookies in Wins Above Replacement (4.6), according to FanGraphs.com.
Kluber, who won the AL Cy Young Award last season, is up for Best Performance for his 18-strikeout outing against the Cardinals on May 13. In eight innings, Kluber blanked St. Louis, allowing only one hit in one of the greatest pitching performances in franchise history. His strikeout total matched Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller's 1938 team record for a regulation game, and Kluber did so with Feller's widow in attendance.
Kipnis was among the best players in baseball over the first half, leading to his second career All-Star Game selection and first since 2013 after a disappointing '14 during which he played through an oblique injury. After hitting .240 with a .310 on-base percentage and six home runs in 129 games last season, Kipnis hit .303 with a .372 on-base percentage and nine homers in 141 games this year. He led all Major League second basemen in doubles (43) and WAR (5.2).
In terms of his social media presence, Kipnis has developed into a fan favorite with his @TheJK_Kid Twitter account.
The radio call by Hamilton's that is up for an Esurance MLB Award came in the eighth inning against the Angels on Aug. 29, when Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes launched a go-ahead grand slam off former Tribe pitcher Joe Smith. Hamilton's signature home run call was in vintage form, as he bellowed, "A swing-and-a-drive, a-way back, gone!"
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five components, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters.
Individual awards will go to the Best Major Leaguer in addition to the winners in the following categories: The Best Everyday Player, Starting Pitcher, Rookie, Defensive Player, Breakout Player, Bounceback Player, Manager, Executive, Social Media Personality and postseason performer.
Winners will also be recognized for the year's best offensive play, defensive play, Moment, single-game performance, Social Media Post, Celebrity Fan, Fan Catch, Interview, broadcaster call, Player-Fan Interaction, Videoboard Moment and Trending Topic.
Voting at mlb.com/awards ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. ET. Winners will be announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Nov. 20.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.