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Awards season puts a bow on eventful 2017

November 18, 2017

Awards season has become its own entity on the Major League Baseball calendar. It's not as emotionally exhausting as the postseason and not as imagination stoking as the Hot Stove season. It provides an opportunity not just to reward those who stood out during the just-completed campaign, but to reflect

Awards season has become its own entity on the Major League Baseball calendar. It's not as emotionally exhausting as the postseason and not as imagination stoking as the Hot Stove season. It provides an opportunity not just to reward those who stood out during the just-completed campaign, but to reflect on the bigger picture of the year that was.
This was the year of the Astros, and by extension -- and no small correlation -- it was the year of Jose Altuve. The second baseman took home a ton of individual hardware -- including, but not limited to, the American League Most Valuable Player Award and the Best Major Leaguer and Best Major Leaguer, Postseason honors in the Esurance MLB Awards.
But 2017 will also be remembered as a year of incredible home run and strikeout totals, a year in which two true rookie revelations powered their clubs to the postseason, and a year of unexpected surges from surprise October entrants. This sport can enthrall us in so many ways, and that was reflected well by the sheer size differences of Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton, this year's two MVP honorees.
"That's what I love about baseball," Altuve said. "[It gives] an opportunity to every single guy to develop and play the game."

Play the game well enough, and there's likely some sort of honor that celebrates your skill set. All of 2017's memories, moments and milestones were reflected in one way or another in the awards haul.
Now that all the names have been called, we can officially put 2017 to bed, as far as baseball is concerned, and totally turn our attention to all the mammoth moves and signature swaps that are sure to cross the transaction wire in the Hot Stove season. But just in case you missed anything from awards season, here, in one handy spot, are all the awards handed out over the last two weeks, as well as a few that were announced during the World Series:
Hank Aaron Awards
These awards, which seek to reward the best offensive season in each league, went to two very different ballplayers. But there was no arguing with the selection of Stanton in the National League (59 homers, 132 RBIs) and Altuve in the AL (.346 average, 112 runs, 32 steals).
Roberto Clemente Award
Anthony Rizzo never forgot how difficult it was for his parents to deal with the news that he had Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2008. That's why the now-healthy Cubs first baseman created the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which earned him baseball's top humanitarian honor.
Mariano Rivera Relievers of the Year
Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox and Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers both threw an immaculate inning (striking out the side in nine pitches) within a week of each other early in 2017, and they both wound up with pretty immaculate seasons locking down the ninth inning.
Jansen led all regular relievers with a 1.32 ERA and saved 41 games, while Kimbrel led AL relievers with a 1.43 ERA, saved 35 games and had an incredible 16.43 strikeouts per nine innings mark.

Rawlings Gold Gloves
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had a 5-for-5 day this season, but now he has a more meaningful 5-for-5 -- having won a Gold Glove Award in each of his first five seasons. Royals catcher Salvador Perez had a chance to join him, but was dethroned by the Angels' Martin Maldonado, while the Reds' Tucker Barnhart's win behind the dish in the NL also represented a changing of the guard.
Royals outfielder Alex Gordon and Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward joined Arenado in winning their fifth Gold Gloves.
National League
C: Tucker Barnhart, Reds (1st Gold Glove)
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs (3rd Gold Glove)
2B:DJ LeMahieu, Rockies (2nd Gold Glove)
3B: Nolan Arenado, Rockies (5th Gold Glove)
SS: Brandon Crawford, Giants (3rd Gold Glove)
LF:Marcell Ozuna, Marlins (1st Gold Glove)
CF:Ender Inciarte, Braves (2nd Gold Glove)
RF: Jason Heyward, Cubs (5th Gold Glove)
P: Zack Greinke, D-backs (4th Gold Glove)
American League
C: Martin Maldonado, Angels (1st Gold Glove)
1B: Eric Hosmer, Royals (4th Gold Glove)
2B:James Dozier, Twins (1st Gold Glove)
3B: Evan Longoria, Rays (3rd Gold Glove)
SS:Andrelton Simmons, Angels (3rd Gold Glove)
LF: Alex Gordon, Royals (5th Gold Glove)
CF:Byron Buxton, Twins (1st Gold Glove)
RF:Mookie Betts, Red Sox (2nd Gold Glove)
P: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays (1st Gold Glove)
Players Choice Awards
We're not the only ones in awe of Altuve. His peers feel much the same, which is why they voted him baseball's Player of the Year and AL Most Outstanding Player (Stanton won it in the NL) for the second consecutive year.
The other big honor in this peer-to-peer prize show went to Rizzo, who received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award for his aforementioned contributions to the community.
Player of the Year: Jose Altuve, Astros
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
AL Most Outstanding Player: Jose Altuve, Astros
NL Most Outstanding Player: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
AL Most Outstanding Pitcher:Corey Kluber, Indians
NL Most Outstanding Pitcher:Max Scherzer, Nationals
AL Comeback Player of the Year:Mike Moustakas, Royals
NL Comeback Player of the Year:Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
AL Rookie of the Year:Aaron Judge, Yankees
NL Rookie of the Year:Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
Always Gamer Award: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Louisville Silver Slugger Awards
This was the Year of the Slugger, with home runs flying out of parks at a record rate. So when MLB's managers and coaches cast their votes for these annual honors, they had plenty of power bats to choose from.
No surprise, the two players who reached and exceeded the 50-homer mark -- Stanton and Judge -- showed up here. Also no surprise: So did Altuve.
American League Catcher:Gary Sanchez, Yankees
First base: Eric Hosmer, Royals
Second base: Jose Altuve, Astros
Third base:Jose Ramirez, Indians
Shortstop:Francisco Lindor, Indians
Outfield: Aaron Judge, Yankees
Outfield:Justin Upton, Angels
Outfield: George Springer, Astros
Designated hitter:Nelson Cruz, Mariners
National League
Catcher:Buster Posey, Giants
First base: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
Second base:Daniel Murphy, Nationals
Third base: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Shortstop:Corey Seager, Dodgers
Outfield: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Outfield: Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
Outfield: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
Pitcher:Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards
Though the Gold Gloves are more commonly known, these awards use an objective formula that combines traditional defensive stats with advanced metrics -- including the data logged by the experts at scouting service, Inside Edge. The Wilson Awards don't salute a player from each league at each position, but they do honor baseball's best overall defensive player and best defensive team, and this year those prizes went to Twins center fielder Buxton and the Dodgers, respectively.
C: Martin Maldonado, Angels
1B:Carlos Santana, Indians
2B: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies
3B: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
SS: Andrelton Simmons, Angels
LF: Alex Gordon, Royals
CF: Byron Buxton, Twins
RF:Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
P:Tyler Chatwood, Rockies
Best Overall Defensive Player: Byron Buxton, Twins
Defensive Team of the Year: Dodgers
BBWAA Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards
The only suspense here was whether both Judge and Bellinger would win this top rookie prize unanimously. Guess what? They did.
It was the first time since 1997 (Nomar Garciaparra and Scott Rolen) that both rookie winners were listed first on every ballot. There was no doubting the soundness of those selections, after a year in which Judge set new rookie home run and walks records and Bellinger broke the NL rookie homer mark.
American League

  1. Aaron Judge (Yankees), 150 points
  2. Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox), 75
  3. Trey Mancini (Orioles), 31
    National League
  4. Cody Bellinger (Dodgers), 150 points
  5. Paul DeJong (Cardinals), 56
  6. Josh Bell (Pirates), 32

BBWAA Manager of the Year Awards
These awards typically go to the skippers from surprise squads, and that was definitely the case in 2017. Paul Molitor's Twins lost 103 games in 2016 and even traded away some assets at this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline. But they won 85 games and claimed an AL Wild Card spot.
In his first season as a big league manager, Torey Lovullo took over a D-backs team that had won just 69 games in 2016. This season, they lost just 69 to grab the NL's top Wild Card spot.
American League

  1. Paul Molitor (Twins), 112 points
  2. Terry Francona (Indians), 90
  3. A.J. Hinch (Astros), 57
    National League
  4. Torey Lovullo (D-backs), 111 points
  5. Dave Roberts (Dodgers), 55
  6. Bud Black (Rockies), 43
    BBWAA Cy Young Awards
    Scherzer and Kluber were late bloomers in their big league careers, but they're definitely making up for lost time. Scherzer, the Nationals' ace, won his first Cy Young at age 28. Now, he has his third, becoming both the 10th player to win at least three and also the 10th to win the Cy Young in back-to-back seasons.
    Kluber, the ace of the Indians, also won his first after his age-28 season, and now he has his second.
    American League
  7. Corey Kluber (Indians), 204 points
  8. Chris Sale (Red Sox), 126
  9. Luis Severino (Yankees), 73
    National League
  10. Max Scherzer (Nationals), 201 points
  11. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), 126
  12. Stephen Strasburg (Nationals), 81

BBWAA Most Valuable Player Awards
Though Altuve and Judge had what seemed to be a compelling two-way battle for the MVP this season, the voting in favor of Altuve's more consistent output turned out to be overwhelming. The real drama turned up in the NL vote, where Stanton edged Joey Votto by just two points -- the fourth-closest result in MVP history.
American League

  1. Jose Altuve (Astros), 405 points
  2. Aaron Judge (Yankees), 279
  3. Jose Ramirez (Indians), 237
    National League
  4. Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins), 302 points
  5. Joey Votto (Reds), 300
  6. Paul Goldschmidt (D-backs), 239

Esurance MLB Awards
The MLB Awards cover a ton of ground, with an industry-wide balloting process that includes media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research (each of those five groups has a 20-percent say).
Unlike other season awards, the MLB Awards incorporate both the regular season and postseason. They also celebrate not just individual seasons, but individual moments, as well. Here's the full list of this year's winners:
Best Major Leaguer: Jose Altuve, Astros
Best Pitcher: Corey Kluber, Indians
Best Rookie: Aaron Judge, Yankees
Best Defensive Player: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Best Manager: A.J. Hinch, Astros
Best Executive: Jeff Luhnow, Astros
Best Personality: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Best Postseason Moment:Alex Bregman's walk-off single, Game 5 of the World Series
Best Postseason Performer: Jose Altuve and Justin Verlander, Astros
Best Offensive Play: Nolan Arenado's cycle-capping walk-off homer, Rockies
Best Defensive Play: Austin Jackson's over-the-wall grab at Fenway Park, Indians
Best Single-Game Performance:Anthony Rendon's six-hit, 10-RBI day, Nationals
Best Fan Catch: Astros
Best Broadcast Call: Joe Buck and John Smoltz's call of Jose Altuve's World Series Game 5 home run
Best Player-Fan Interaction: Joey Votto's generous gifts to a young Reds fan battling cancer

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.