CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo's engaging interaction with fans and teammates, plus his balancing act on the wall at Wrigley Field helped the Cubs first baseman capture two Esurance MLB Awards.Rizzo won both Best Social Media Personality and Best Play, Defense for his grab of the Brewers' Keon Broxton's foul ball
CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo's engaging interaction with fans and teammates, plus his balancing act on the wall at Wrigley Field helped the Cubs first baseman capture two Esurance MLB Awards.
Rizzo won both Best Social Media Personality and Best Play, Defense for his grab of the Brewers' Keon Broxton's foul ball on Aug. 16.
The catch came in the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field. Rizzo chased Broxton's popup in foul territory near the rolled-up tarp, stepped onto the top of the wall with his right foot and reached over fans to catch the ball. He was able to maintain his balance and then jump back onto the ground.
Rizzo nabbed the award over the Braves' Ender Inciarte for his walk-off robbery, snaring Yoenis Céspedes' potential home run, and the Royals' Jarrod Dyson's amazing catch on Aug. 25, when he became the first player to rob a homer at Marlins Park.
Rizzo's outgoing personality shows in social media. He has more than 460,000 Twitter followers, and he uses social media not just for promoting the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation fundraising events, such as his "Walk-Off for Cancer" and "Cook-Off for Cancer," but also for interacting with fans and his teammates. In Spring Training, Rizzo and teammate Kris Bryant created an Instagram account to salute veteran catcher David Ross, who retired after the 2016 season.
Rizzo topped the Mets' Noah Syndergaard, who makes fun of his alter ego, Thor, and the Rangers' Adrián Beltré, who isn't active on social media but whose exploits are well-documented.
The Cubs won five Esurance MLB Awards overall, including Rizzo's two.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters.
The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American League and National League from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Individual awards went to the Best Major Leaguer in addition to the winners in the following categories: Best Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive, Social Media Personality and Postseason Performer.
Winners were also recognized for the year's best Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Regular-Season Moment, Postseason Moment, Single-Game Performance, Social Media Post, Fan Catch, Broadcast Call, Player-Fan Interaction and Trending Topic.
Voting began on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. ET at MLB.com/awards, one hour after the inaugural Esurance MLB Fans of the Year winners were announced.
Winners of the 2016 Esurance MLB Awards were unveiled at a reception in Manhattan's Chelsea Market, on MLB social channels and during a live broadcast on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.