DENVER -- Much of the Rockies' season was driven by the standout play of third baseman Nolan Arenado and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez. Now fans can help both standouts -- and the Rockies' TV announcers -- become recognized.
Arenado is a finalist for Best Everyday Player, Best Breakout Player and Best Defensive Player, and Gonzalez is a finalist for Best Bounceback Player in the Esurance MLB Awards, which 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.
Arenado set the bar high by winning Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in 2013 and '14, his first two Major League seasons, but he exceeded those standards with an early spate of gems that included a diving catch onto the tarpaulin roll in San Francisco and a launch into the stands for a catch in Cincinnati.
The play in San Francisco on April 14 is up for Best Defensive Play, and the call by Rockies play-by-play announcer Drew Goodman and analyst Jeff Huson is up for Best TV Call.
Arenado's bat also caught up with his glove. He hit .293 in the first half while earning his first All-Star Game invitation, and in the second half, temporarily vaulted himself into the National League lead in home runs -- with Gonzalez giving close chase -- and RBIs. It's the type of year that could bring honors.
While emerging as a star league-wide, Arenado has ascended to a place alongside Gonzalez as a face of the Rockies, who traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- their former heart-and-soul player -- to the Blue Jays just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Much of Arenado's home run and RBI production has occurred since the deal, which serves as an indication that he is ready for stardom.
Gonzalez's production was limited by injuries the last two years -- a right middle finger injury that curtailed his participation and numbers during the second half of 2013, followed by a benign tumor in his left index finger and a left knee injury (both of which required surgery) last year.
Gonzalez's 2015 turnaround wasn't immediate. He had a .200 batting average through May 21. From then on, however, he socked 36 of his 40 total home runs and accumulated 85 of his 97 RBIs.
After being considered a possible trade candidate as the Rockies attempt to retool their pitching, Gonzalez may have slugged himself into a steady lineup spot as the 2016 Rockies attempt to go from last place to postseason contenders.
In addition to the categories in which Arenado and Gonzalez are nominated, individual awards will go to the Best Major Leaguer, Starting Pitcher, Rookie, 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, TV Call, Radio Call, Player-Fan Interaction, Video Board Moment and Trending Topic.