CLEVELAND -- The Indians finished this season with the second-most wins in franchise history, posted historic pitching numbers and enjoyed the longest winning streak in the history of the American League. Corey Kluber and Jose Ramirez led the charge, while manager Terry Francona steered the ship.
It came as no surprise then that Kluber, Ramirez and Francona were announced as finalists for the Baseball Writers' Association of America's annual awards Monday night. Kluber is up for his second AL Cy Young Award, while Ramirez and Francona are among the three top vote-getters for AL Most Valuable Player and AL Manager of the Year, respectively.
MLB Network will roll out the BBWAA Awards with a special at 6 p.m. ET over four nights, beginning with the AL and National League Rookie of the Year Awards on Nov. 13. The Manager of the Year Awards (Nov. 14), Cy Young Awards (Nov. 15) and MVP Awards (Nov. 16) will come next, followed by MLB.com's Esurance MLB Awards at 8 p.m. ET on Nov. 17 on MLB Network.
Kluber, who is a finalist alongside Red Sox ace Chris Sale and Yankees ace Luis Severino, is aiming to become the first two-time winner in Indians history. The right-hander won the AL Cy Young Award in 2014, joining Cliff Lee (2008), CC Sabathia ('07) and Gaylord Perry (1972) as the only Cleveland pitchers to take home the honor.
This season, Kluber finished 18-4 with an MLB-leading 2.25 ERA in 29 starts, during which he struck out 265 and walked 36 in 203 2/3 innings. Even after missing most of May with a back injury, the Tribe ace reached at least 200 innings and 200 strikeouts for the fourth consecutive season.
Kluber got off to a rough start, but came back strong on June 1 after a stint on the disabled list. From that date through the end of the regular season, Kluber went 15-2 with a 1.62 ERA and 224 strikeouts against 23 walks in 166 1/3 innings. The right-hander was named the AL's Pitcher of the Month for June, August and September and was named to the AL All-Star team for the second straight year.
The Kluber-led Indians staff set single-season MLB pitching records in strikeouts (1,614), strikeouts per nine innings (10.1) and WAR (31.7 per Fangraphs).
Ramirez is up for the AL MVP, but has some tough competition in Houston's Jose Altuve and New York's Aaron Judge, who are the favorites. That does not discount what Ramirez -- the AL starter at third base in the All-Star Game -- did this year for the Indians as a second baseman, third baseman and doubles machine.
The switch-hitter posted a .318 average with 29 homers, 83 RBIs, 107 runs scored and an MLB-leading 56 doubles. That marked the most two-base hits in a season by an Indians hitter since 1926 (64 by George Burns). Ramirez tied Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the most extra-base hits (91) in the Majors, ranked fourth in the AL in OPS (.957) and during one stretch in June set a modern MLB record with 14 extra-base hits in a seven-game span.
Kluber and Ramirez helped lead the Indians to 102 wins, which was second only to the 1954 Tribe (111 victories) in franchise history. The Tribe also set an AL record with 22 wins in a row between August and September en route to their second straight AL Central crown. That showing has Francona -- the AL Manager of the Year in 2013 and '16 with Cleveland -- back in the conversation for the BBWAA's managerial award, along with Paul Molitor and A.J. Hinch. Bobby Cox is the only back-to-back winner in the award's history, doing so in 2004-05 with the Braves.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.