Tyler Naquin Still Had a 2016 Season to Remember

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Aug 11, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) and center fielder Tyler Naquin (30) celebrate a 14-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) and center fielder Tyler Naquin (30) celebrate a 14-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Indians rookie outfielder Tyler Naquin did not win the AL Rookie of the Year award, but he still had a solid rookie season.

MLB award season is in full swing, and the Cleveland Indians are well-represented.

After Francisco Lindor won a Golden Glove award last week, Tyler Naquin was next up in the AL Rookie of the Year award race. Unfortunately, he did not bring home the honor.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer won, followed by New York Yankees phenom Gary Sanchez, but finishing in third does nothing to take away from a solid rookie season for Naquin.

Fans may end up focusing on his World Series mistakes, but that is unfair to a player who was a reliable part of the lineup for much of the season.

He played in 116 games, finishing with a slash line of .296/.372/.514. And while one moment doesn’t often define a season, Naquin provided fans with an iconic moment that will be remembered for years.

His skill at the plate began to be overshadowed by his struggles in the field, but we must all remember that Naquin should only get better as he progresses in his career. Just look at how much better Lindor got after logging a year on the major league roster.

It is easy to grade Naquin against his teammates, but it is unfair to judge any player based on one season of play. He obviously needs to improve his defense, so it will be something he can make sure to focus on in Arizona.

Naquin deserved to be a finalist for the AL Rookie of the Year award, but he was never the favorite. Fulmer had a great season for the Tigers, and while some may not agree with pitchers being up for awards against everyday players, it is hard to argue with the decision. And as for Sanchez, he took over the league with his power during the second half of the season.

Naquin just kept plugging along all season, never having one stretch where he appeared to be a future superstar, but also never going in too bad of a slump where he was a liability in the lineup.

Next: Putting 2016 in Perspective

And while the end of Naquin’s season was filled with more bad than good, fans can always look to his inside-the-park walk-off as a positive from a successful rookie campaign.

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