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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | December 10, 2016

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Vote Shows Lindor, Correa Not Too Far Apart — At Least Offensively

Vote Shows Lindor, Correa Not Too Far Apart — At Least Offensively

| On 17, Nov 2015

Even for the most rabid Indians partisan, it’s hard to find too much fault with the choice of Carlos Correa as American League Rookie of the Year.

Oh, sure, Major League Baseball announced three finalists last week – Correa, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins – but it was largely a two-horse race, as demonstrated by the votes (Correa had 17 first place votes and a total of 124 points; Lindor had the remaining 13 first place votes and a total of 109 points). Sano finished a distant third with 20 points, and no votes for first or second place. Also getting votes were Roberto Osuna of the Blue Jays (8, including two second-place votes), Billy Burns of the Athletics (6, including one second-place vote), Eddie Rosario of the Twins (2) and Delino DeShields of the Rangers (1). Lindor got two third place votes, and ridiculously, was left off one ballot entirely.

Sano demonstrated the most power, with 12 home runs in 80 games, but also in the smallest sample size. Lindor and Correa each played 99 games, handled with kid gloves by their respective teams. Neither made the opening day roster.

Both rookies were highly touted, with Correa the top overall draft pick in 2012 and Lindor drafted eighth overall the year before.

Lindor was invited to spring training but didn’t call him up until June. Team officials were concerned about potential offensive struggles, but those struggles never materialized. In fact, he hit .313 with 12 home runs and 51 RBI – numbers even more staggering given the Indians’ lack of offense for most of the year. By comparison, Correa batted .279, but hit 22 home runs.

If their offensive numbers are comparable, then Lindor wins on defense. The left side of the Indians’ infield was a black hole, and Lindor – along with another rookie, Giovanny Urshela, at third – not only turned around the infield defensively, it affected the entire team (My colleague Mike Brandyberry goes into a detailed breakdown here; suffice it to say that while Correa was marginally better offensively, Lindor was unquestionably better defensively).

But while Lindor might have exceeded expectations individually, his team dramatically underachieved by some accounts. Many publications saw them poised to make the playoffs, and Sports Illustrated saw them winning the World Series (although the publication hedged its bets by putting the Tribe on one of four regional covers). Instead, the Indians were only above .500 for three days all of last season – one of them being the last day.

The Astros, on the other hand, overachieved tremendously. They went from losing 92 games and finishing fourth in the American League to winning the American League Wild Card game and bringing the eventual World Series winner Kansas City Royals within one game of elimination before succumbing in the American League Division Series.

And that’s probably what put him over the top. Voting is done before the postseason, but much like the Heisman Trophy is given not to the best player (hello, Matt Johnson!) but the best player on one of the best teams, winning can make a difference.

Photo: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill