CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians have two Gold Glove Award winners for 2019.
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and catcher Roberto Perez were announced as winners of Rawlings American League Gold Glove Awards on ESPN Sunday night. The awards are voted on by coaches and managers, who cannot cast a vote for their own players, as well as a sabermetric component from the Society of American Baseball Research.
Perez took his opportunity to be an every-day backstop for a big-league team and became an American League Gold Glove Award winner.
The honor was Lindor’s second, as he won both Gold Glove and Platinum Glove awards following the 2016 season. The Platinum Glove is given annually to the best overall defensive player in all of MLB.
Perez won the Rawlings American League Gold Glove Award over Danny Jansen (Toronto Blue Jays) and Christian Vazquez (Boston Red Sox). It was the first postseason honor of Perez’s career.
Perez, 30, took over the starting catcher duties after 2018 AL All-Star Yan Gomes was traded to the Washington Nationals in exchange for pitcher Jefry Rodriguez and minor-league outfielder Daniel Johnson last November.
Perez is the third catcher in Indians history to win a Gold Glove Award, following in the footsteps of Ray Fosse (1970-1971) and Sandy Alomar Jr. (1990), the latter of whom is an assistant coach on Cleveland’s staff.
Over 118 games, including 114 starts behind the plate, Perez logged 993.2 innings of work, nearly double his previous career high. In 1,137 chances, Perez registered 1,082 putouts, 52 assists, helped turn 12 double plays and committed only three errors.
In his first full year as an every-day catcher, Perez committed two less errors in 2019 than he did in 58 games played during the 2018 season (five).
Perez’s .997 fielding percentage was tied for the highest single-season showing of his career, and the previous one came in 2017, when he backstopped the Indians for only 71 games, including 66 starts.
Perez had zero passed balls in his 118 games, and that was with a makeshift starting rotation for much of the year because of injuries, a life-altering illness and midseason trade.
Only Bill Dicky (1931), Al Todd (1937) and Johnny Bench (1975) caught more games in a single season than Perez without committing a passed ball. Also, Perez caught 40.8 percent of the would-be base stealers, which was tops in the American League.
Because of his defensive prowess, Perez collected 29 defensive runs saved this season, and not only did he have 17 more than any other catcher, he led the American League in DRS, regardless of position. Perez had the most defensive runs saved by a catcher since St. Louis Cardinals great Yadier Molina in 2013.
Despite a late start to the 2019 season because of calf and ankle injuries, Lindor appeared in 137 games, all starts, at shortstop.
Over 1,196.1 innings of work, Lindor registered 159 put-outs and 312 assists against 10 errors in 481 total chances. In addition to the .979 fielding percentage, Lindor combined to turn 68 double plays, both of which helped him earn American League All-Star status for the fourth consecutive season.