CLEVELAND -- In a season in which Grady Sizemore has been bothered by left elbow trouble, Travis Hafner's starts have been limited and Victor Martinez has been traded, the Indians have some other faces stepping up in their lineup. Those faces belong to Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta, and they are the Tribe's three representatives on the ballot for the 2009 Hank Aaron Award. The Hank Aaron Award, presented by Sharp, is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league, with each club having three nominees. This is the seventh consecutive year that fans have had a voice in selecting the award winners.
Fans can vote through Sept. 15 to determine the club nominee, and then voting will be held Sept. 16-30 to select the winner in each league. The winners will be announced during the World Series. Last year's winners were Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years. Cabrera, Choo and Peralta have taken up residence in the heart of the Indians' order in recent weeks. Cabrera, who briefly held the leadoff spot earlier this season and missed several weeks with a shoulder sprain, has become a regular in the No. 3 spot, by virtue of the .309 average, five homers and 48 RBIs he took into the week. Cabrera led the Tribe with 29 doubles and was tied for the team lead with four triples. He had also stolen 15 bases and compiled an .806 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage). Choo has become the regular in the cleanup spot. He entered the week with a .291 average, 14 homers, 65 RBIs and an .870 OPS. He had notched 27 doubles and four triples and stolen 17 bases in 18 tries. Peralta had his characteristic slow start to the season and a rough first half. But he's responded with one of the stronger second halves in the AL. He entered the week with a .272 overall average, nine homers and 62 RBIs. He had notched 25 doubles and one triple with a .738 OPS. Manny Ramirez is the only player to win the Hank Aaron Award as a member of the Indians, and that came in the award's inaugural season of 1999.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.