Solano named Marlins' top defensive player
MIAMI -- Infielder Donovan Solano quietly went about his business in 2013, but he made enough noise to be named the Marlins' Defensive Player of the Year, as voted on by Wilson, on Thursday night.
The top defensive honors were awarded on MLB Network, with each of the 30 big league clubs having a winner.
Solano, 25, emerged as Miami's regular second baseman, appearing in 93 games at the position, and he posted a .983 field percentage.
In addition to naming a top defender for every club, Wilson announced the top defenders and best teams in the American and National Leagues. Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Arizona's Gerardo Parra took individual honors. The Orioles and Royals share the top spot in the AL, and the D-backs were named the NL's best defensive club.
The formula for picking each winner encompasses five criteria -- 25 percent defensive WAR (wins above replacement), 25 percent defensive runs saved, 20 percent inside edge fielding rankings, 20 percent inside edge arm accuracy and 10 percent field percentage.
To qualify, a player had to participate in a minimum of 80 big league games with his team.
Solano was the Marlins' regular second baseman at the start of the season before straining an intercostal in May and going on the disabled list; Derek Dietrich took over at second.
Solano played 21 games at Triple-A New Orleans before regaining his big league spot in the season's second half.
Infield coach Perry Hill was impressed with Solano from the first time they met.
In the spring, Hill said, "Donovan is a baseball player. He can do everything. He can field. He can turn a double play. He hits. He can hit behind runners. He's a situational hitter. He's a very good baseball player."
Because of his size, Solano knew he had to be an overachiever.
Listed at 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, he has long heard that he is too small to play in the big leagues
He didn't listen. Instead, for inspiration, he paid attention to the success Pedroia was enjoying in Boston.
Earlier in the season, Solano talked about how he was inspired by Pedroia, who has been an MVP and two-time World Series champion.
"People would tell him he can't do it," Solano said earlier this year. "He hated that."
Solano had a simple way of answering the skeptics.
"I believe you are given talent, and there is no limit," he said.
Now Solano and Pedroia have an award in common.
The GIBBY trophy for Defensive Player of the Year will be awarded as part of the 2013 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, which are based on voting by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni and the Society for American Baseball Research, as well as fan balloting on MLB.com.
Through Sunday, Dec. 1, fans will be able to cast their ballots at MLB.com for the year's top defensive star, with no individual league affiliation.