Shortstop Francisco Lindor and catcher Roberto Perez were among the American League winners as announced on ESPN on Sunday night. It was Lindor’s second Gold Glove and Perez’s first. In 2001 shortstop Omar Vizquel and second baseman Roberto Alomar won Gold Gloves for the Tribe.
Lindor ranked second among AL shortstops in fielding percentage and defensive runs saves. He posted a .979 fielding percentage with 10 errors in 481 chance. He had nine defensive runs saved according to fangraphs.com.
In 2016, Lindor won Rawlings’ Gold Glove and Platinum Glove as the AL’s top defensive player. Last week Lindor was announced as a finalist along with the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons and Oakland’s Marcus Semien.
The Gold Glove gives Perez his second prestigious defensive award of the postseason. On Friday he became the first Indians player to received the Fielding Bible award.
Perez, 30, set a franchise record in fielding percentage of .997 with just three errors in 1,137 chances this year. He did not record a passed ball in 118 games, covering 993 2/3 innings behind the plate. He is just the fourth catcher since 1930 to catch at least 118 games without a passed balls.
In his first full year as a starting catcher after the Indians traded Yan Gomes during the offseason, Perez led all MLB catchers with 29 runs saved. It was the second high total by a catcher since Baseball Info Solutions, who present the Fielding Bible Awards, started tracking such information in 2003.
Perez led AL catchers by throwing out 40.8 percent (20-for-49) on the base runners who challenged him. Perez, Toronto’s Danny Jansen and Boston’s Christian Vazquez were the AL Gold Glove finalists for catchers.
Lindor missed the first 19 games of the regular season with calf and ankle injuries that cost him most of spring training, but he bounced back quickly.
“It just shows you how a good of a player he is especially during the first month of the season when he was playing with a major ankle injury,” said third base coach Mike Sarbaugh, who doubles as the Tribe’s infield coach. “He’s a special player with great instincts and special play ability. His worth ethic and desire to get better every day is the reason that’s he’s one of the best shortstops in the game.”
Perez is the first Indians catcher to win a Gold Glove since Sandy Alomar in 1990. Ray Fosse is the only other Tribe catcher to win the Gold Glove. Fosse won it in consecutive years in 1970 and 1971.
Alomar, the Indians first base coach, has been the Tribe’s catching instructor for the last 10 seasons. Perez just finished his 10th season in the organization.
“Bert has the most efficient catcher’s stance in baseball,” said Alomar. "He can receive, block and throw efficiently without sacrificing any of the three important fundamentals of the position.
“It’s very hard to sell out for framing and blocking balls in the dirt because the ball beats you to the ground. He does that combination well. He’s not the best at one particular thing, but the most efficient at all three. It puts him in a class by himself.”
Alomar credited the work that Chris Tremie, the Tribe’s former Class AAA manager, did with Perez in the minors. Tremie now works for the Reds.
“I’m super proud of him,” said Alomar. “When we work with the catchers, we work as a team. The cherry on top for Bert is he’s excellent at the mental part of the game. That includes pitch selection, reading batters, adapting during the game and recognizing the adjustments they make right away.”
Perez is considered a strong candidate to win the AL Platinum Glove award, which signifies the best defensive player in the AL. That award will be announced on Friday and fans can vote for the Gold Glove winner of their choice in either league until Thursday.
During his interview on ESPN, Perez thanked the Indians for giving him a chance to start. He also thanked his teammates, Alomar and his family.
“I was playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic when I found out they traded Yan Gomes,” said Perez. "My mind set right away changed. The first thing I thought is that the Indians really trust me to get the job done.
"But I didn’t take it for granted. They shut me down right away and I came to Cleveland and started to prepare for a long season. It’s different when you’re playing every day. I learned a lot as a backup to Yan Gomes. I made the pitchers trust me for so many years.
“Now that I’ve had the chance to play every day, I couldn’t be happier.”
The voting, which was conducted in late September, is a compilation of votes among Major League coaches and managers and members of SABR (Society for American Baseball Research).