Indians fans were treated to the flashy defensive work of Francisco Lindor at shortstop all season long. The rest of the nation got a taste of it during Cleveland’s deep run through the postseason.
The league took notice to his efforts as he was named the American League’s Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner at the position on Tuesday night when the recipients were announced.
Lindor became the first Gold Glove winner for the Indians since Grady Sizemore brought home his second piece of hardware for his work in the outfield in 2008. He also became the youngest to win the award at the position since 1980, when Detroit’s Alan Trammell won the first of his four career awards. The pair is the only two to win a Gold Glove Award at shortstop under the age of 23, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The flashy 22-year-old Lindor is just the 13th player in Indians history to win a Gold Glove, dating back to the award’s inception in 1957. He is just the second Tribe shortstop to win the award, joining Omar Vizquel, who won eight straight Gold Gloves from 1994 to 2001.
“It’s an honor. It’s a blessing,” shared Lindor in an interview with ESPN after the awards were announced on Tuesday. “Just to be here and be nominated and now win, it’s huge. Words can’t describe how happy I am right now. I can’t wait to show it off to my pops.”
Lindor defeated finalists Andrelton Simmons (Los Angeles Angels) and Jose Iglesias (Detroit Tigers) for the top defensive award in the game. Iglesias was tops in the Majors with a .991 fielding percentage. Simmons led the Majors with a 25.1 UZR/150, but only appeared in 1,045 innings for the Angels this season.
Lindor displayed his flare and prowess in the field during his rookie season in 2015, appearing in 98 games at short for the Indians. In 865 1/3 innings, he helped turn a total of 60 double plays, was credited with ten defensive runs saved, and 15 total zone runs at the position. He committed ten errors as some routine plays and throws got the better of him and he finished the year with a .974 fielding percentage, .002 above league average at the position.
He was much more refined in 2016 while working just two outs short of 500 more innings than his rookie campaign. He appeared in 155 games in the field, including 153 starts, and logged 1,364 2/3 innings. In 674 chances, he made 215 putouts and 447 assists while committing a dozen errors. He finished the season with 17 defensive runs saved and 24 total zone runs. His .982 fielding percentage was six points higher than the league average of .976 for the year and eight points higher than his mark in 2015. He also was above league average in range factor per game and per nine innings and racked up ten assists as part of a relay (compared to just one his debut season).
His 24 total zone runs were the most in the American League. His total was tops in the league at his position for the second consecutive season. He was also first in the league and second in the Majors in defensive runs above average, coming in at 27.8, just behind the 28.0 of San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford, the National League’s Gold Glove winner at the position.
Lindor finished second in the AL in assists, total chances, and defensive runs saved and was fourth in putouts, defensive games played at short, range factor per game at short, and fielding percentage by a shortstop. He turned the fifth-most double plays of any AL player at his position.
In addition to Lindor, Mitch Moreland (Texas first baseman), Ian Kinsler (Detroit second baseman), Adrian Beltre (Texas third baseman), Brett Gardner (New York left fielder), Kevin Kiermaier (Tampa Bay center fielder), Mookie Betts (Boston right fielder), Salvador Perez (Kansas City catcher), and Dallas Keuchel (Houston pitcher) were honored in the American League.
The award will serve as a nice birthday gift for the Montverde High School product, who will turn 23 on November 14.
Lindor’s name is added to the list of previous Indians Gold Glove winners that includes Minnie Minoso (1959), Vic Power (1959-1961), Jim Piersall (1961), Vic Davalillo (1964), Ray Fosse (1970-1971), Rick Manning (1976), Sandy Alomar Jr. (1990), Kenny Lofton (1993-1996), Vizquel, Roberto Alomar (1999-2001), Travis Fryman (2000), and Sizemore (2007-2008).
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