Hughes leads the way among Twins GIBBY nominees

Hughes leads the way among Twins GIBBY nominees

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Phil Hughes bounced back in a big way in his first season with the Twins, as he emerged as one of the best pitchers in the American League.

Hughes went from going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 145 2/3 innings with the Yankees in 2013 to going 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA in a career-high 209 2/3 innings last year. He also struck out 186 and walked just 16 to set Major League Baseball's single-season strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.63).

As a result, he's one of the Twins' six nominees for MLB.com's 2014 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, as he's up for Breakout Pitcher. Shortstop/center fielder Danny Santana was also nominated for the Top Rookie GIBBY.

Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2014 GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.

This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 25 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, bounceback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top regular-season play, outfield throw, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment, postseason storyline, postseason walk-off and postseason play. Fans can watch these and more by accessing MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.

In the past several seasons, fans have cast millions of votes across the GIBBY categories, none of which is restricted to individual league affiliation. That's how you know the GIBBYs consider the best of the best.

All 30 clubs are represented among the award candidates, a fact many consider to be a testament to the competitive balance around the game.

Fans can vote as many times as they want through Nov. 21 at 10:59 p.m. CT by visiting mlb.com/gibbys, and winners will be announced live on the MLB Network and MLB.com on Dec. 6.

Hughes, 28, is one of 10 nominees for Breakout Pitcher, including top candidates such as Cleveland's Corey Kluber, Kansas City's Danny Duffy, Baltimore's Zach Britton and Houston's Dallas Keuchel.

Santana, 23, was impressive as a rookie, hitting .319/.353/.472 with seven homers, seven triples, 27 doubles and 20 stolen bases in 101 games. He started 62 games in center field and 31 at shortstop, filling a critical need in center despite being a natural shortstop. He also faces stiff competition for Top Rookie, including White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, who is the overwhelming favorite.

Chris Colabello was also nominated for two awards for two unusual occurrences. He was nominated for Best Oddity for his catch against the White Sox on Aug. 3, when he caught a popup from Abreu despite a rain drop falling into his eye. And he was also nominated for Best Cut4 Topic for his home run against the Rays on April 23, when his mom, Silvana, was being interviewed during the telecast on her birthday.

Second baseman Brian Dozier was also nominated for Best Play for his glove flip to Kyle Gibson against the Dodgers on April 30. The ball hit off first baseman Joe Mauer, but Dozier was able to get to it and flip the ball to first base with his glove to get the out.

Outfielder Aaron Hicks also garnered a nomination for the top Walk-Off for his walk-off infield single against the Tigers and closer Joe Nathan on Sept. 16.

Several categories -- Play, Oddity, Walk-Off and Cut4 Topic -- opened balloting with at least one nominee per club. After a week of voting, the four lists were trimmed to 10 finalists per group by a panel.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.