Anthony Castrovince

Tribe's big '16 rewarded with 6 MLB Awards

Indians take home most hardware of any team

Tribe's big '16 rewarded with 6 MLB Awards

It was a rousing run for the 2016 Indians. An injury-riddled, low-payroll club not only came away with the American League Central, but then they also beat up on two AL East juggernauts to claim the AL pennant and played an epic seven-game World Series against the 103-win Cubs.

Go on a run like that, and you're going to leave a lasting impression. The results of the Esurance MLB Awards voting confirm that what the Indians accomplished in 2016 resonated with plenty of people. The Tribe's six total victories, including one award that was shared with the Cubs, were the most of any Major League team.

The Indians cleaned up in the following categories:

Best Play, Offense, which went to Tyler Naquin's crazy trip around the bases in a walk-off inside-the-park home run against the Blue Jays
Best Defensive Player, which went to shortstop whiz kid Francisco Lindor
Best Manager, which went to Terry Francona, fresh on the heels of his win of the Baseball Writers' Association of America's AL Manager of the Year Award
Best Major Leaguer, Postseason, which went to high-leverage hero Andrew Miller for his October dominance
Best Postseason Moment, which went to Rajai Davis for his game-tying blast off Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of the World Series
Best Trending Topic, which went to both the Indians and the Cubs for the instant classic that was Game 7

The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters.

The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American League and National League from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.

Individual awards went to the Best Major Leaguer in addition to the winners in the following categories: Best Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive, Social Media Personality and Postseason Performer.

Winners were also recognized for the year's best Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Regular-Season Moment, Postseason Moment, Single-Game Performance, Social Media Post, Fan Catch, Broadcast Call, Player-Fan Interaction and Trending Topic.

Voting began on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. ET at, one hour after the inaugural Esurance MLB Fans of the Year winners were announced.

Winners of the 2016 Esurance MLB Awards were unveiled at a reception in Manhattan's Chelsea Market, on MLB social channels and during a live broadcast on MLB Network and

Davis and Lindor both attended the awards reception.

Davis, Lindor on Esurance Awards

The wide swath of award winners reflected the total team effort that carried the Tribe to within one win of the franchise's first title since 1948.

Naquin was the wide-eyed rookie thrust into a regular role because of others' injuries and suspensions. His Aug. 19 inside-the-park game-winner against the Blue Jays was not only the signature moment of his rookie season -- a season that earned him a third-place finish in the BBWAA voting and a spot among the five nominees for the Best Rookie honor in the Esurance voting -- but was also one of the most captivating highlights of the entire MLB campaign. With the score knotted at 2 following a Jose Ramirez homer in the bottom of the ninth, Naquin smacked a Roberto Osuna pitch off the right-center-field wall, raced around the basepaths and slid in safely head-first at home before throwing up a rock-star pose at the plate while his teammates mobbed him.

Best Play, Offense: Tyler Naquin

The Naquin homer beat out Asdrubal Cabrera's Sept. 22 walk-off homer, Hanley Ramirez's Sept. 15 walk-off homer, George Springer's June 24 first-inning triple and grand slam and Mark Teixeira's Sept. 28 walk-off grand slam near the close of his career.

Lindor reacts to MLB Award

Lindor, fresh off claiming his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award and the AL Platinum Glove Award, no doubt won the defensive prize thanks to passing the tests of both the defensive metrics and the eye. Lindor changes games with his range, arm, awareness and anticipation. This beautiful barehand of a Danny Santana slow-roller is a good window into understanding why he beat out Mookie Betts, Brandon Crawford, Adam Eaton and Addison Russell -- all great defenders -- for the Esurance honor.

Best Defensive Player: Lindor

Francona was chosen over Dave Roberts, Joe Maddon, Terry Collins and Dusty Baker. Even though the Indians went basically the entire season without Michael Brantley and didn't have Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar in their October rotation, they darn near won it all -- and that was a testament to the veteran skipper who keeps things loose and strategizes so well.

Best Manager: Terry Francona

Then there's Miller, who simply owned October, with a record 19 1/3 relief innings in which he posted a 1.40 ERA and struck out 30 batters while allowing 12 hits with five walks. In the postseason, if the Indians had a mid-game lead and Francona summoned Miller, his team's top non-waiver Trade Deadline acquisition, fuhggedaboutit. It was basically game over.

Miller won in a field that included the Cubs' Kris Bryant, Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo and teammate Corey Kluber.

Postseason Player Winner: Miller

It says something about Davis' big blast that it was chosen over the Ben Zobrist double that ended the Cubs' 108-year curse. That's how magical that moment was when Davis, with the Indians down to their final four outs against one of the most feared closers in the game, turned Game 7 on its head and caused pandemonium in Progressive Field.

Postseason Moment: Rajai Davis

It was the latest game-tying home run in World Series Game 7 history, and it beat out not just the Zobrist double but also Edwin Encarnacion's walk-off winner in the Blue Jays' AL Wild Card win over the Orioles, Clayton Kershaw's first career save in Game 5 of the NL Division Series and Miguel Montero's pinch-hit grand slam in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.

The Best Trending Topic speaks for itself. Twitter was all atwitter over Game 7, one of the most captivating sporting events of our lifetime.

Best Trending Topic: WS Game 7

The Indians were simply a captivating team, and if the baseball world at large didn't know that before the postseason run, it certainly did by the conclusion. That's why such a large sampling of fans and industry insiders alike recognized the rousing run with a haul of hardware.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.