Awards Season puts a bow on historic 2016

Major League Baseball's best are honored after an unforgettable year

Awards Season puts a bow on historic 2016

When we think of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, we think of a World Series going the extra mile -- and an extra inning -- to deliver history.

We think of Big Papi's final ride, Max Scherzer's 20-strikeout game, Jake Arrieta's no-hitter, Ichiro Suzuki's 3,000th hit and so much more to celebrate on the field.

We think of the heartbreaking loss of one of the sport's iconic young talents, Jose Fernandez, off of it.

And when it's all said and done, after Spring Training, the grind of the 162-game regular season and the stirring month of October and beyond, we honor the greats of our great game.

Awards Season came to a rollicking and poignant conclusion Friday night with the announcement of the many Esurance MLB Awards, and with that hardware now having been dispensed, it's a wrap on 2016.

Here's how it all went down:

Baseball Writers' Association (BBWAA) Awards

Most Valuable Player Awards: The youth movement of baseball was well-served again. Mike Trout of the Angels and Kris Bryant of the Cubs both played in their age-24 seasons in 2016, and both added to their already-significant legacies by nailing down the American League and National League MVP Award honors.

Trout led MLB in on-base percentage (.441), runs scored (123) and walks (116). He also finished second in the AL in OPS (.991) and stole 30 bases while hitting 29 homers and driving in 100 runs. He took home his second AL MVP Award despite his team having a losing record, and he's finished in the top two in the voting in all five of his big league seasons.

Bryant, who led the Cubs in home runs (39), runs (121), hits (176) and OPS (.939), followed his unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award campaign in 2016 with a near-unanimous MVP vote, getting 29 of 30 first-place tallies.

Not a bad year for the kids, huh?

"It means a lot to the game," Trout said. "There's a bunch of young guys in the league that are making the game good for the fans and exciting. It's great for baseball."

MLB Tonight: MVP Award winners

Cy Young Awards: Rick Porcello of the Red Sox and Scherzer of the Nationals were once Detroit Tigers teammates. Now they have another thing in common: They're the 2016 Cy Young Award winners.

Porcello rode impeccable control to a 22-4 record and a 3.15 ERA. He also beat out another former member of that Tigers rotation -- Justin Verlander, who's still in Detroit -- by the slim margin of 137 points to 132.

Scherzer went 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA and led the NL in innings (228 1/3) and strikeouts (284). He tied the Major League record with 20 strikeouts against the Tigers on May 11, and the body of work was enough for him to win the NL Cy Young Award comfortably with 192 total points to second-place finisher Jon Lester of the Cubs at 102.

Must C: Scherzer strikes out 20

"Honestly, I think all three of us being in the race shows what we had [in Detroit] for those five years -- at least the time I was [there],'' said Scherzer. "We all looked out for each other and found a way to make each other better."

Rookie of the Year: Speaking of Detroit, rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer did enough to win the BBWAA's special honor for first-year players in a bit of an intriguing vote over the late-arriving-but-worth-the-wait Yankees catching and power-hitting phenom Gary Sanchez. Fulmer went 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA after being promoted in late April.

Meanwhile, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, who batted .308 with 26 homers and 72 RBIs for his first-place team, rendered the NL voting a foregone conclusion by winning unanimously.

Manager of the Year: Indians skipper Terry Francona took his team all the way to the World Series and annexed this honor for the AL. A former player Francona managed in Boston, Dave Roberts, got his first chance as a Major League manager in 2016, and he did a fantastic job, winning the NL West with the Dodgers and making it to October.

Now they're both Manager of the Year Award winners.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy for him," Francona said about Roberts. "I don't need to evaluate his managing, but I can certainly be happy for him, because he's a friend of mine."

Roberts wins NL Manager of Year

Esurance MLB Awards

The Cubs won Esurance MLB Awards for Best Social Media Personality (Anthony Rizzo), Best Play: Defense (Rizzo), Best Social Media Post (David Ross), Best Trending Topic (Cubs-Indians Game 7, shared with Cleveland) and Best Executive (Theo Epstein). The Indians earned honors for Best Defensive Player (Francisco Lindor), Best Play: Offense (Tyler Naquin), Best Trending Topic (Cubs-Indians Game 7, shared with the Cubs), Best Manager (Francona), Best Major Leaguer: Postseason (Andrew Miller) and Best Postseason Moment (Rajai Davis).

Esurance Award winners of 2016

"It was the best moment that I was able to experience with my teammates, my family and my friends, everyone that I know," Davis said of his game-tying eighth-inning homer in Game 7 of the World Series. "It was a moment that I'll never forget."

Other Esurance MLB Awards went to legendary, and now-retired, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully (Best Call, TV/Radio) for his swan-song walkoff call in late September, the Marlins (Best Moment Award) for their poignant pregame ceremony, courageous play and touching postgame memorial for Fernandez on Sept. 26, plus Scherzer's 20-K game winning Best Performance.

Rawlings Gold Gloves

The longest-standing defensive honors went to some perennial web wizards and some nifty newcomers.

In the NL, Buster Posey led a trio of Giants (also second baseman Joe Panik and shortstop Brandon Crawford) to the honors by knocking off Cardinals star Yadier Molina at catcher, ending an eight-year reign. Third base went to Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, outfielders were Jason Heyward (Cubs) in right, Starling Marte (Pirates) in left, Ender Inciarte (Braves) in center and Zack Greinke (D-backs) at pitcher. Rizzo gave the Cubs a second Gold Glove winner by taking his first trophy at first base.

"Whether we're hitting and scoring 10 runs a game, or we're grinding at the plate, we know we can always play good defense, and we can control the preparation for that," Rizzo said.

Hot Stove talks Gold Gloves

In the AL, Royals catcher Salvador Perez won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove, while Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre took home his fifth career award at the hot corner. Cleveland shortstop Lindor won his first Gold Glove Award, as did Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, right fielder Mookie Betts (Red Sox), left fielder Brett Gardner (Yankees) and first baseman Mitch Moreland (Rangers). Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel repeated as Gold Glove Award winner at his position, and Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award despite playing in only 105 games.

"This is an award that's very special to me," Kiermaier said. "Winning this award last year and getting the call again this year was a feeling like none other. I'm very happy. My offseason's already made. … This is something I had my sights on."

Other awards

The packed slate of awards also included Players Choice Awards, which have the unique characteristic of being voted on by the peers of MLB's best, plus the Silver Slugger Awards honoring the best hitters at teach position and the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year Awards, which use a cutting-edge statistical formula to arrive at their deserving winners.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.