CLEVELAND -- Depending on the day -- or, more accurately, whether Jason Kipnis was in the lineup or not -- Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor either occupied the left-hand side of the Indians' infield in 2017 or the middle of the infield. Ramirez was a valuable moving piece, shifting between
CLEVELAND -- Depending on the day -- or, more accurately, whether Jason Kipnis was in the lineup or not -- Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor either occupied the left-hand side of the Indians' infield in 2017 or the middle of the infield. Ramirez was a valuable moving piece, shifting between second base and third.
The constant, though, was the production. Lindor was nothing short of baseball's best slugging shortstop, and Ramirez was a human dynamo who cranked out huge hit after huge hit.
For their feats at the plate, Lindor and Ramirez landed some heavy hardware Thursday, when they were announced as winners of American League Silver Slugger Awards. Lindor, of course, won it at shortstop, while Ramirez won it at third base, having played slightly more games at the hot corner (88) than he did at second base (71).
It's fitting that Ramirez finished the season at second base, because that's often where he found himself after a plate appearance. Ramirez cranked out an MLB-leading 56 doubles -- the most by an Indians player since 1926 (64 by George Burns the first baseman, not the comedian). Ramirez slashed .318/.374/.583 with 29 homers and six triples, drove in 83 runs and walked 52 times against just 69 strikeouts. His 91 extra-base hits tied the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton for the most in the Majors and were the second-most for a switch-hitter (Lance Berkman had 94 in 2001).
• Complete 2017 Awards coverage
During a seven-game span in June, Ramirez had 14 extra-base hits. He hit .423/.462/.944 during the Tribe's AL-record 22-game winning streak in August and September. His .957 OPS was the highest in MLB history by a player who appeared in at least 60 games at both second and third in the same season.
"He's growing right in front of our eyes," manager Terry Francona said late in the year. "It's been fun to watch."
Ramirez and Lindor combined for 192 extra-base hits and became the first pair of Tribe teammates to notch at least 80 apiece since Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez did in 1996.
Lindor continued to grow his offensive game in 2017, blowing past all previous projections for his power. He led all Major League shortstops in home runs (33), was first among AL shortstops in OPS (.842) and was second in runs (99). He had a .273/.337/.505 slash line with 44 doubles, four triples, 15 steals and 60 walks against 93 strikeouts.
Though the Silver Slugger honor is based on the regular season, Lindor had a magic moment in October, belting the game-changing grand slam in Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Yankees. He also had the ninth-inning, game-tying double against the Royals in win No. 22 during the The Streak.
Whenever the question arose as to whether Lindor was now a "power hitter," he deferred the question.
"I'll leave that to you guys," he said with his characteristic smile.
Now, the definition "Silver Slugger" -- a new element -- applies to a young man who had already established himself as an elite defender with last year's Gold Glove and Platinum Glove Awards.
• All-time Silver Sluggers winners
This marks the second time since 2000 and the ninth time overall that the Indians have had a pair of players win the Silver Slugger, which was first handed out by Louisville Slugger in 1980.
It happened in 2014 (Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes), 2000 (Roberto Alomar and Manny Ramirez), 1999 (Alomar and Ramirez), 1997 (David Justice and Matt Williams), 1996 (Jim Thome and Albert Belle), 1995 (Ramirez and Belle), 1994 (Belle and Carlos Baerga), 1993 (Belle and Baerga).
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.