Mariners notebook: Young M’s getting recognition during awards season
The Mariners have been touting the skills of their young players for some time now. Thursday afternoon, three of their core players received recognition on a bigger scale as J.P. Crawford and Evan White were announced as Rawlings Gold Glove finalists and Kyle Lewis was named the MLB Players Association’s American League Rookie of the Year.
For Lewis, is was the second ROY award he has picked up in the last week after the Sporting News also gave him the nod in their season awards. While the Sporting News award was voted on by team executives, managers and players, the MLBPA award came straight from the players, many of whom voiced their approval of Lewis’ play in a video released Thursday afternoon.
Talk about a rookie season!
Kyle did it ALL for the @Mariners this season both at the plate and in the field, and OH MAN did it show 🔥
Congrats Kyle! pic.twitter.com/hxMg03bmB0
— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) October 22, 2020
While the recognition from his peers is priceless, the biggest prize – the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America – will not be announced until Nov. 9. After Lewis led all rookies in runs scored and walks, tied for first in home runs with 11 and was second in RBIs, slugging percentage, OPS and hits, the likelihood of completing the trifecta appears to be high.
As for his two teammates, Evan White and J.P. Crawford are the first Mariners to be nominated for the fielding honor since 2016 when Robinson Canó and Kyle Seager won the awards. The selection process in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season is different than in past years when the winners were determined by a vote from managers and coaches, counting as 75 percent of the selection total, and the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) accounting for the rest of the formula. This year they will go strictly by the numbers. From the press release:
“Due to the compressed 2020 season, the Award qualifications have been amended to rely solely on the SDI which draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. SDI utilizes MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports Information Solutions data, and STATS, LLC data as well as traditional statistics with advanced analysis. For 2020 Award consideration, pitchers must have pitched at least 50 innings, catchers must have played in at least 29 games and infielders/outfielders must have completed at least 265 defensive innings. Each player qualifies at the position he has played at most (SDI is only for play at qualified position).”
While we don’t have the SDI scores, we do have access to many of the numbers that go into the SDI. Crawford, who is a finalist at shortstop along with Houston’s Carlos Correa and Detroit’s Niko Goodrum, compares favorably in a number of Fangraphs analytics.
A look at the 3 shortstop finalists. pic.twitter.com/d4l3LJLzwu
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) October 22, 2020
As for White, whose competition are division mates Matt Olson (Oakland) and Yuli Gurriel (Houston), his American League-leading seven DRS were two more than what Olson recorded and five more than Gurriel. White led AL first basemen with seven scoops, 11 out of zone plays, and had the second best UZR rating at 2.2, trailing only Olson (2.5). He ended the season with 49 consecutive games without an error, successfully converting each of his 363 total chances (333 putouts, 30 assists) over that span. According to Baseball Savant, he tied with two others for the most runs prevented (two) among AL first basemen, while ranking tied for second in outs above average (two), behind only Olson (three).
The Gold Glove Awards will be announced Nov. 3.
• The schedule for the remaining major awards:
Nov. 9: Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year
Nov. 10: Manager of the Year
Nov. 11: Cy Young
Nov. 12: MVP
• The day has not been announced as of yet but the Roberto Clemente Award is traditionally announced before a World Series game. Dee Gordon is the candidate from the Mariners.
• The Mariners made three roster moves Thursday morning, outrighting pitchers Nestor Cortes, Carl Edwards Jr. and Matt Magill to Triple-A Tacoma. All three players elected free agency. As they were all on the 45-day injured list at end of the season, these moves did not free up spots on the 40-man roster, which remains at 33.
More from Shannon: Do players really get better when they leave the M’s?