The Cleveland Indians did not have a front runner in the American League’s Most Valuable Player voting, but three members of the club were recognized by writers from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Thursday with votes for the league’s top regular season honor.
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels took home his second career MVP award from the BBWAA, receiving 356 votes for baseball’s biggest individual piece of hardware. With his 19 first place votes and eight second place votes on the 30 ballots cast, he defeated Boston’s Mookie Betts (311) and Houston’s Jose Altuve (227).
Trout’s victory marked the fifth consecutive year that the outfielder has landed in the top two of the voting. The 25-year-old slugger has just five full seasons played at the Major League level and is easily one of the top players and most marketable faces in the game today.
Two writers from each BBWAA chapter have the opportunity to ranks players from first through tenth places. Ballots are submitted prior to the start of the postseason. Trout was not hurt this season by playing on an Angels team that finished fourth in the American League West Division with a sub-.500 record at 74-88.
While the AL pennant-winning Indians did not have any players at the top of the MVP voting, three of their own were recognized by the writers with votes this season.
Francisco Lindor was the leader of the vote-getting for the Indians. In just his first full season in the Majors, the Tribe shortstop received 56 points in the balloting, finishing tied with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera for ninth place overall.
Lindor received a pair of fifth place votes, four for seventh place, five for eighth, four for ninth, and five for tenth place on the crowded ballot. He received his top votes from Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times and T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com through the Texas chapter.
Lindor appeared in 158 of 161 games for the Indians this season, slashing .301/.358/.435 with 182 hits (30 doubles, three triples, 15 homers). He scored 99 runs, drove in 78, and stole 19 bases while leading all Major Leaguers with 15 sacrifice flies on the season.
He was named an All-Star midseason and has received the Rawlings Gold Glove and Platinum Glove awards this offseason for his work in the field.
Jose Ramirez, who served a vital role for the Indians club throughout the season by plugging holes in left field and third base admirably, received one ninth place vote to earn two points. He was tied for 17th on the list with Detroit’s Justin Verlander.
The 24-year-old utility man appeared in 152 games for Cleveland this season, slashing .312/.363/.462 with a team-high 46 doubles (second most in the AL). He added three triples and eleven homers, scored 84 runs, drove in 76, and finished second on the team with 22 stolen bases. He was seventh in the AL in win probability added (WPA) at 3.1 and batting average and tenth in on-base percentage. He was one of the hardest players to strike out during the regular season, averaging 9.1 at bats per strikeout, the third-best mark in the league.
His ninth place vote came from Jim Ingraham of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram out of the Cleveland chapter of the BBWAA.
Staff ace and third place finisher in the AL Cy Young voting, Corey Kluber, received a single tenth place vote for the award, finishing tied for 19th with Chicago’s Adam Eaton and Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria.
The 30-year-old right-hander had another strong season for the Indians. He matched a career-high with 18 wins, posted a 3.14 ERA, and came within two-thousandths of a point of equaling his career best WHIP of 1.054 set last season. He threw a league-high two complete games and owned the top ERA+ (149) and FIP (3.26) in the AL. He was named an All-Star for the first time in July, was the AL’s Pitcher of the Month for August, and was behind only Verlander for the top WAR among AL pitchers at 6.5.
Kluber’s lone vote was on the ballot of Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (LA chapter).
On the National League side of the MVP voting, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the award in his second season in the Majors. The 24-year-old slugger hit .292 with a .385 OBP and .554 slugging mark with 35 doubles, 39 homers, 102 RBI, and a league-high 121 runs scored. It marked the second consecutive season that the young star out of Las Vegas has received a top offseason award after he was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 2015.
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