Pérez, Carrasco honored by Cleveland BBWAA
CLEVELAND -- As if winning the Fielding Bible Award and a Rawlings Gold Glove and getting named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year wasn’t enough, Roberto Pérez has added one more accolade to his 2019 resumé.
On Sunday, 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. After his stellar defensive year and surprising offensive production, Pérez took home the 2019 Bob Feller Man of the Year Award. His batterymate and good friend Carlos Carrasco was voted the Frank Gibbons-Steve Olin Good Guy Award winner for being accommodating with the local media and for his continued work in the Cleveland community.
It was an exceptionally close vote between Pérez and Carlos Santana for the Man of the Year honors, and there really wasn’t an incorrect choice. Pérez slightly edged out Santana, who carried the Indians’ offense through its shaky start to the year, earned his first trip to the All-Star Game and won his first Silver Slugger Award. Though his efforts were crucial in the Indians’ 93-win season, Pérez’s phenomenal defense and shocking offensive year were enough for him to be recognized.
After spending his previous five big league seasons as the Tribe’s backup, Pérez became the first catcher to work at least 118 games behind the plate without allowing a passed ball since Johnny Bench in 1975 and led all MLB players -- not just catchers -- with 29 Defensive Runs Saved. He also compiled a franchise record .997 fielding percentage (three errors in 1,137 total chances) all while playing through bone spurs in his ankle.
Along with Pérez and Santana, Shane Bieber and Francisco Lindor, who earned the title last year, were also nominated for the Man of the Year Award. However, when it came to naming the winner of the Good Guy Award, there was only one name on the ballot.
The “Good Guy” is typically the player who is most considerate and reliable with the media, but when there is an individual who has just received the Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable efforts while battling leukemia, it’s challenging to find a better definition of the award’s title.
Carrasco has always put an emphasis on giving back to his community, but he noted that his leukemia diagnosis helped inspire him to do even more. Through his emotional journey of stepping away from baseball in June to fight cancer and getting himself healthy enough to return to the mound in September, the 32-year-old was courageous enough to share the details of his battle with local reporters, rarely shied away from any personal questions and continued to put others first. Because of his special story, the chapter members wanted to honor Carrasco with a unanimous vote for being the ultimate Good Guy.