En route to winning the most games in the big leagues this season, the Dodgers enjoyed a number of memorable moments, both on and off the field, throughout their 2017 campaign. A few of those moments, as well as the team's best hitter, biggest personality and its architect, are among
En route to winning the most games in the big leagues this season, the Dodgers enjoyed a number of memorable moments, both on and off the field, throughout their 2017 campaign. A few of those moments, as well as the team's best hitter, biggest personality and its architect, are among the nominees for this year's Esurance MLB Awards.
Justin Turner enjoyed his best season yet in the big leagues, so it's fitting that he's a nominee for Best Major Leaguer. Turner is also up for two other awards -- Best Major Leaguer, Postseason, and Best Postseason Moment. Enrique Hernandez's three-homer playoff game has him in the running for Best Performance. First-year phenom and National League Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger is also up for Best Rookie.
Yasiel Puig is up for two honors as well -- Personality of the Year and Best Player-Fan Interaction -- and one particularly skilled Dodgers fan is in the mix for Best Fan Catch.
• Vote for this season's best stars and moments in the Esurance MLB Awards
Staff ace Clayton Kershaw and dominant closer Kenley Jansen are the Dodgers' nominees for Best Pitcher.
Dave Roberts is a nominee for Best Manager after leading the Dodgers to 104 wins and the franchise's first pennant in 29 years, all during his second season as manager.
Additionally, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is nominated for Best Executive, and announcers Joe Davis and Nomar Garciaparra are nominated for Best Call, TV/Radio.
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) members.
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.
Voting led off with seven categories on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that unveiled nominees for Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment following the Fall Classic's final out. The ninth inning of voting began around BBWAA Awards week, which opened when the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners were unveiled Monday. Voting in the Best Executive, Best Rookie, Best Manager and Best Pitcher categories went live earlier this week, preceding balloting in the Best Major Leaguer category.
MLB Awards season will culminate on Friday, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 5 p.m. PT.
Here's a look at the Dodgers' nominations:
Best Major Leaguer: Turner was the Dodgers' most important position player, as he led the club with a .322 batting average (third in the NL), .415 on-base percentage (second in NL) and .945 OPS to go along with 21 home runs, 32 doubles and 71 RBIs. Turner hit .404 in April and .415 in June as he batted his way to his first career All-Star selection.
Personality of the Year: Puig not only has one of the biggest personalities on the Dodgers, he's one of the most engaging personalities in all of baseball.
Best Manager: Roberts was voted NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 2016, and finished as the runner-up this year. In two seasons under his watch, Los Angeles has a record of 195-129 (.602 winning percentage), with postseason berths in both years.
Best Executive: Friedman built a juggernaut team by reinforcing the margins of his roster again and again, creating organizational depth unparalleled throughout baseball.
Best Pitcher: The expectations for Kershaw are astronomically high, and the left-hander continues to live up to them. Kershaw led qualified NL pitchers with 18 wins and a 2.31 ERA, while recording 202 strikeouts in 175 innings across 27 starts. Jansen was once again a force in the bullpen, and his 41 saves were tied with Colorado's Greg Holland for the most in the NL. Jansen appeared in 65 games, finished 57 and was charged with a run in only eight.
Best Player-Fan Interaction: It took three tries, but Puig managed to send one young fan home with a souvenir ball after a pair of missed attempts.
Best Fan Catch: One Dodgers fan earned this nomination after managing to snag a rocket off the bat of Bellinger with her hat.
Best Performance: The Dodgers' super-utility player, Hernandez turned in a superhuman effort in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series to help send L.A. to the Fall Classic. Hernandez smacked a solo home run in the second inning, a game-breaking grand slam in the third and a two-run blast in the ninth to cap off a historic night at the dish.
Best Postseason Moment: Turner's postseason impact was perhaps most felt in NLCS Game 2. Exactly 29 years after Kirk Gibson's iconic walk-off homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Turner came through for Los Angeles in strikingly similar fashion. With the score tied and two runners on, the big-bearded third baseman came to the plate with a chance to send the Dodgers to Chicago up two games to none in the series. And he did just that, clubbing a walk-off three-run blast off the Cubs' John Lackey into the center-field seats.
Best Major Leaguer, Postseason: Turner hit .286 with four home runs and 14 RBIs throughout the Dodgers' run to the World Series. The 32-year-old was named NLCS co-MVP with Chris Taylor, helping Los Angeles cruise by the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
Best Rookie: Not enough can really be said about just how good Bellinger was during his first season in the big leagues. His 39 home runs and 97 RBIs ranked first on the Dodgers and second among all rookies behind the Yankees' Aaron Judge. Bellinger was a major spark to a club that was planning to send him back to the Minor Leagues after calling him up. Little did the Dodgers know what they were working with at the time.
Best Call, TV/Radio: Davis and Nomar simply could not believe their eyes when they saw second baseman Chase Utley leap toward the outfield grass and snare a liner off the bat of the Pirates' Josh Bell to preserve Rich Hill's perfect game. "He saved the game, for now!" declared Davis, prompting Nomar to pull out the "Silver Fox" moniker while illustrating the veteran's marvelous play.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.