CLEVELAND -- It’s not time to move on from awards season just yet.
The Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the winners of its annual awards for excellence both on and off the field on Sunday. Just like last year, José Ramírez was unanimously selected the winner of the 2022 Bob Feller Man of the Year Award, while the Frank Gibbons-Steve Olin Good Guy Award was given to Triston McKenzie.
Steven Kwan, Andrés Giménez and Emmanuel Clase all received nominations for Man of the Year, however it was impossible to ignore everything Ramírez did for the Guardians this season while battling through a right thumb injury that required surgery at the beginning of November.
It started with Ramírez passionately insisting he remain in Cleveland for the foreseeable future, signing a seven-year, $124 million extension before the season began. He couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, hitting .305 with a 1.039 OPS, 62 RBIs, 34 walks and just 20 strikeouts in the first 60 games.
Then, he started experiencing issues with his right thumb and imaging revealed he had a torn ligament. Although the team didn’t reveal he had the option to step away and have surgery in June to fix the injury, the staff was expecting that to be the result. However, Ramírez demanded he remain in the lineup every day. Playing through pain caused his numbers to slip a bit, but what he was still able to provide at the plate outweighed any of the hinderances.
Playing through the pain still resulted in an American League-best 44 doubles, a career-high 126 RBIs, 29 homers and a 148 OPS+, leading to an easy decision to unanimously name Ramírez the Man of the Year again.
The Good Guy Award focuses more on a person’s efforts off the field, specifically who is most considerate and reliable with the media. While Kwan, Cal Quantrill, Austin Hedges and manager Terry Francona were also considered, it was McKenzie who received the majority of the vote.
McKenzie consistently made himself available to the media. During the rare times he didn’t have time to talk, McKenzie went out of his way to schedule a later time to meet with media and often was the one approaching reporters to make sure they had what they needed.