The Cleveland Indians have their first Gold Glove winner since 2008, as shortstop Francisco Lindor brings home the hardware.
Since he set foot in the big leagues, Francisco Lindor has drawn comparisons to Omar Vizquel because of the big smile he wears and the unbridled joy he plays with. Now the current shortstop of the Cleveland Indians has something else in common with his predecessor: a Gold Glove.
Lindor was named the Rawlings Gold Glove award winner for the American League at shortstop on Tuesday night during a televised event on ESPN. The soon-to-be 23-year old beat out Andrelton Simmons of the Los Angeles Angels and Jose Iglesias of the Detroit Tigers for the honor.
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This is the first time a Cleveland player has won a Gold Glove since center fielder Grady Sizemore in 2008, and the first at shortstop since Vizquel in 2001. 28 Indians have now been honored since the inception of the award in 1957, with Vizquel holding the record of eight in a Tribe uniform.
For fans who watched Lindor play every day this season, this latest accolade is no surprise. He made tough plays seem routine and routine plays look effortless, with seemingly few games going by in which he did not make a highlight-reel play with the leather.
According to the defensive metrics used by FanGraphs, Lindor was at the top of the AL in most categories, including, range runs, revised zone rating, and ultimate zone rating. In Defensive Runs Above Average (DEF), he was not only the best shortstop in the league, but the best defender period.
The mere fact that Cleveland has such a superb defensive shortstop is one of the reasons it was rated the top defensive team in the American League by FanGraphs, and one of the top three in all of baseball.
The Indians and their fans hope that Lindor is only the first player from the organization to receive postseason recognition. Corey Kluber, Tyler Naquin, and Terry Francona are all finalists for awards as well.
Lindor was not only deserving of the Gold Glove award, he was the only real choice. That’s not a knock on Simmons or Iglesias, either, just a credit to the consistent performance he has put together, day in and day out, in leading a leather revolution for the Indians.