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Wilson names Kipnis Indians top defensive player

Wilson names Kipnis Indians top defensive player

Wilson names Kipnis Indians top defensive player

CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis looked right at home playing second base this past season for the Indians. That was a great development for Cleveland, considering it was the second baseman's first full season in the big leagues and he used to patrol the outfield.

On Sunday, Kipnis was honored for his skills in the field as the Indians' recipient of the inaugural Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award. The award winners were determined by the detailed statistical analysis by MLB Network.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Braves outfielder Michael Bourn were named the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year for the American League and National League, respectively. Atlanta was named the best defensive team for the 2012 season.

Beyond Kipnis, other second basemen to earn their team's award in the AL included Robinson Cano of the Yankees and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox.

This past season, Kipnis hit .257 with 14 home runs, 22 doubles, 31 stolen bases, 76 RBIs and 86 runs scored in 152 games. In the field, Kipnis displayed great range -- left over from his days as an outfielder -- and skill, convincing the club that he can be a key cog within the team's young core.

Kipnis' 440 assists last season ranked first among AL second basemen and he finished with the third-highest fielding percentage (.991) among AL second basemen with at least 500 chances. He committed just six errors in 687 chances and ended the year ranked fourth among AL second basemen in double plays turned (94) and putouts (241).

The honor given to Kipnis kicks off Cleveland's participation in this award season.

MLB.com's Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards will provide a few more opportunities for Indians players to take home some hardware.

This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels. Winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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