Cleveland Indians' Tyler Naquin, Corey Kluber, Terry Francona up for MLB awards

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians could be on tap for a big week, as outfielder Tyler Naquin, starting pitcher Corey Kluber and manager Terry Francona are finalists for MLB awards that will be announced Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Along with New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and Detroit Tigers right-handed starting pitcher Michael Fulmer, Naquin is a finalist for American League Rookie of the Year Award, which will be announced tonight.

Over 321 at-bats in 116 games, Naquin smacked 95 hits, including 18 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs, one of which was a walk-off inside-the-park shot against Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna on August 19th.

Naquin scored 52 runs, drove in 43 and posted a .296 batting average with a .372 on-base percentage and .514 slugging percentage.

Naquin was named the AL Rookie of the Month for both June and July.

Francona is a finalist for the AL Manager of the Year Award against Texas Rangers bench boss Jeff Banister and Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, which will be announced Tuesday.

Francona is up for the award after leading the Indians to 94 regular-season wins and their first AL Central Division Championship since 2007. Under Francona’s guidance, the Indians advanced to the World Series for the first time since 1997 despite facing challenges of injuries throughout the season.

Just when it looked like the Indians suffered too many injuries to overcome, they responded and found ways to not only win games, but dominate the Tigers on the way to a division championship.

Then, the Indians used that momentum to propel them to a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series and a dominating performance in five games against the Blue Jays in the Championship Series.

The Indians were one win over the Chicago Cubs away from their first World Series Championship since 1948.

Kluber was a big reason why the Indians were in a position to compete for a championship in 2016, despite starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco (broken bone in right hand) and Danny Salazar (right forearm strain) missing much or all of the postseason due to injuries.

In what was a bounce-back year for Kluber record-wise after a 9-16 campaign in 2015, the right-handed ace regained his Cy Young form and went 18-9 with a 3.14 earned run average and 227 strikeouts against 57 walks over 215.0 innings of work.

Although Kluber’s strikeout numbers were down from each of the last two years, he allowed his fewest number of hits, 170, since 2013, when the Indians clinched one of the AL Wildcard playoff spots.

During the postseason, Kluber registered 35 strikeouts against eight walks and allowed just seven earned runs over 34.1 innings of work in six starts.

Along with his 1.83 earned run average, Kluber had a 3-1 postseason record, with wins coming against the Red Sox in the ALDS and the Blue Jays in the ALCS before winning two of his three starts in the World Series.

Kluber is up against Rick Porcello of the Red Sox and Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young Award, which will be announced Wednesday.


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