Major League Baseball hitters stepped up to the plate for 165,561 at-bats in the 2016 regular season, combining for 42,276 hits, 21,744 runs and highlights galore.Now it's your turn. We simply need you to decide which of those 165,561 ABs produced a result for the batting team that was better
Major League Baseball hitters stepped up to the plate for 165,561 at-bats in the 2016 regular season, combining for 42,276 hits, 21,744 runs and highlights galore.
Now it's your turn. We simply need you to decide which of those 165,561 ABs produced a result for the batting team that was better than all the rest.
Voting is underway through 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 11 to decide the Esurance MLB Awards, and your nominees for Best Play, Offense, are five home runs that were struck in richly different and thrilling ways by Asdrúbal Cabrera for the Mets, Tyler Naquin for the Indians, Hanley Ramirez for the Red Sox, George Springer for the Astros and Mark Teixeira for the Yankees.
• Vote now at MLB.com/awards
To quote the noted purist Albus Dumbledore: "We must all face choices between what is right and what is easy." Sage advice, especially when choosing a magic wand.
Here is a closer look at your nominees:
Cabrera: Sept. 22 vs. Phillies, 11th inning
Last year marked the first time the best play was split into one for offense and one for defense, and that one went to Toronto's José Bautista for his unforgettable postseason walk-off and bat flip. Will another majestic bat flip on a walk-off get your nod in 2016? Cabrera barreled one off Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos in the 11th and then the wood flew as the Mets celebrated a big win toward a Wild Card berth.
"As soon as I hit it, I knew it would be out," Cabrera said.
Naquin: Aug. 19 vs. Blue Jays, ninth inning
This was the "Ty breaker" heard all over social media, some well-deserved GIF glory for an inside-the-parker that marked his second walkoff in as many nights. Relive the call again as you consider this one: "Naquin off to the races! He'll go all the way to the third. [Third base coach Mike] Sarbaugh waves him around. Unbelievable!" It was the fifth inside-the-park walkoff in baseball since 2000 and the Tribe's first in 100 years. What made it even more delicious was the big fist-pump into the air after scoring, because, "That was a pretty cool moment, so I'm gonna get into it."
Ramirez: Sept. 15 vs. Yankees, ninth inning
The Red Sox had more of those at-bats (5,670), hits (1,598) and runs (878) than any other team in 2016, and if you're looking for a passage from the David Ortiz farewell book right here, then go check out the other categories because he is well-represented. For Best Play, Offense, Boston is represented by No. 13, who pulverized a 99-mph fastball from Yankees All-Star closer Dellin Betances to spark an 11-game winning streak that helped his team's division-title push and add his own chapter to a classic rivalry.
"I was trying to go to the moon," Ramirez said. "That's why I was sitting on a fastball the whole time. Just stay back and let it rip."
Springer: June 24 at Royals, first inning
Two years ago, the Astros outfielder was nominated here in the rookie and play categories, so he is accustomed to dazzling his way onto a ballot. What he did at Kansas City was never done before in baseball's modern era, dating back to 1900. Springer not only tripled in the first inning, but got another at-bat in the same inning and crushed a grand slam. He is the first leadoff hitter to hit a grand slam in the first inning since Seattle's Danny Tartabull in 1986.
"Just looking for something to hit hard," Springer said of his slam. "The most important thing there is to get the guy in from third base, and I was able to hit a breaking ball, and I guess hit it hard enough."
Teixeira: Sept. 28 vs. Red Sox, ninth inning
On Aug. 5, the Yankees' first baseman held a tearful news conference to announce that he would be retiring after the season. "I'm going to leave it all out there," he said that day. "I want to finish this season on a high note."
Here is your chance to tell him how he did. Teixeira capped a highlight-filled career with one last memorable moment, clinching the Yankees' 24th straight winning season on a walkoff grand slam before one final farewell series. It was the first regular-season walkoff homer for Teixeira, who had done it in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the 2009 American League Division Series. "Pretty special," he said of this one.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor MLB'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 and National Leagues from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Individual awards will go 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.
In addition to Best Play, Offense, winners also will be recognized for Best Play, Defense, as well as 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 on MLB.com/awards, one hour after the inaugural Esurance MLB Fans of the Year winners were announced. Winners for all categories will be announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Nov. 18.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.