CLEVELAND -- Carlos Santana sat on the bench inside the visitors' dugout, staring out at the Safeco Field diamond before a late September game against the Mariners. As he awaited the start of batting practice, the Indians first baseman posed a question."Do you think I can win a Gold Glove?"
CLEVELAND -- Carlos Santana sat on the bench inside the visitors' dugout, staring out at the Safeco Field diamond before a late September game against the Mariners. As he awaited the start of batting practice, the Indians first baseman posed a question.
"Do you think I can win a Gold Glove?" Santana asked. "I hope so."
Santana is getting that chance. On Thursday, Rawlings unveiled the finalists (three at each position) for this year's Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in both the American and National Leagues. Santana made the cut at first base, joining shortstop Francisco Lindor, third baseman Jose Ramirez and catcher Yan Gomes as the Tribe's nominees.
The winners will be announced in a one-hour special at 9 p.m. ET on Nov. 7 on ESPN.
• All-time AL Gold Glove Award winners
Lindor is the only player among the four to already have a Gold Glove Award in his trophy case. He took home the AL's top defensive honor for shortstop last year and also received the Platinum Glove Award as the league's best overall defender. This marks Gomes' second nod as a finalist, while Ramirez and Santana are both first-time nominees.
Santana's inclusion may be surprising to some, but not for those around the team.
"His defense, he's taken it to another level," Indians manager Terry Francona said in September, "He's proud of it, and he should be. I say it all the time, but I don't think people realize how athletic he is. As things have progressed and he has played more, he has taken a lot of pride in it, and it's made a big difference. He's been really good."
Santana, who is up against the Red Sox's Mitch Moreland and the Royals' Eric Hosmer, tied Moreland for the AL lead in Defensive Runs Saved (plus-10) among qualified first basemen. Santana led the pack in assists (95) and double plays started (16), ranked second in total double plays (120) and ranked third in UZR/150 (4.7) and innings (1,225 2/3).
"I've been working hard," said Santana, who came up through the Minors as a catcher. "I knew I'd have a good opportunity to play defense, so I had to try to play my best. I thank God that [I had the] energy to work every day and play every day. I'm working hard."
Lindor's fellow nominees at shortstop are Andrelton Simmons of the Angels and Elvis Andrus of the Rangers. Among qualified AL shortstops, Lindor ranked second with plus-5 Defensive Runs Saved (Simmons led the way with 32), while ranking third in UZR/150 (6.6) and overall defensive rating (12.9, per Fangraphs), and fourth in fewest errors (10) and most assists (391).
Ramirez -- the AL starter at third base in the All-Star Game this year -- is up for the award at that position alongside Baltimore's Manny Machado and Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria. It's worth noting, however, that Ramirez split his time this season between second (577 1/3 innings) and third (736 2/3) for the 102-win Indians. Ramirez's 7.6 UZR/150 at third ranked second among the 12 players with at least 700 innings at the hot corner.
Gomes (856 innings), who is up against Salvador Perez of the Royals and Martin Maldonado of the Angels, posted the lowest catcher ERA (3.36) among the 18 players with at least 2,400 plate appearances caught. Gomes' 42 percent (24-for-57) caught-stealing rate was first among AL catchers with at least 800 innings. Overall, the Indians allowed the fewest steals (50) in the Majors this year.
This year's Gold Glove Awards represent just one way the game's top performers will be recognized. Voting is underway now for the Esurance MLB Awards, which annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process. MLB Awards season will culminate on Friday, Nov. 17, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET.
• Cast your vote for Best Defensive Player, more in 2017 Esurance MLB Awards
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.