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Terry Francona, Tyler Naquin, Corey Kluber named AL Award finalists

Tito could be in line for a win. The road may be difficult for the other two.

World Series - Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians - Media Day Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The BBWAA has announced the finalists for their Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Cy Young Awards and a member of the Cleveland Indians are in each category — Tyler Naquin, Terry Francona, and Corey Kluber, respectively.

Cleveland leads the AL with three nominations, although both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs have four apiece in the NL voting.

Manager of the Year Award

American League finalists - Jeff Banister (Rangers), Terry Francona (Indians), Buck Showalter (Orioles)
National League finalists - Dusty Baker (Nationals), Joe Maddon (Cubs), Dave Roberts (Dodgers)

If the playoffs counted in these votes, Tito would be a shoe-in for manager of the year. His bullpen management in the first two rounds were revolutionary and a big reason why the Indians only lost one game between the ALDS and ALCS combined. Even in just the regular season, though, Francona did more than enough to earn the nod.

Francona, wrapping up his fourth year as Indians manager, led the team to a 94-win season and the second seed in the American League, despite key injuries to Michael Brantley, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar.

Cy Young Award

American League finalists - Corey Kluber (Indians), Rick Porcello (Red Sox), Justin Verlander (Tigers)
National League finalists - Kyle Hendricks (Cubs), Jon Lester (Cubs), Max Scherzer (Nationals)

Similar to Francona, Corey Kluber was a huge factor in the Tribe’s ascension to the World Series, but his regular season record should be enough to have him in serious contention for his second Cy Young in four years.

Kluber finished tied for second in fWAR among AL starting pitchers (5.1), first in fielding independent pitching (3.26), fourth in earned run average (3.14), and for those BBWAA writers submitting their ballots along with a nice piece of hardy candy and a subscription to Reader’s Digest, he was also third in wins with 18.

Any other year, Kluber might be considered a really good pitcher with these numbers but not necessarily Cy Young-worthy. However, in 2016 — the same year where it almost made sense to vote for Zach Britton — he could be considered the front runner. Although Justin Verlander makes a very solid case as well.

Rookie of the Year Award

American League finalists - Tyler Naquin (Indians), Gary Sanchez (Yankees), Michael Fulmer (Tigers)
National League finalists - Kenta Maeda (Dodgers), Trea Turner (Nationals), Corey Seager (Dodgers)

Tyler Naquin has the obvious edge in Rookie of the Year voting when it comes to playing time and number of fantastical inside-the-park home runs, but his tailing off at the end of the season will probably cost him a shot at AL ROY.

After a slow start to the season, Naquin was phenomenal for two solid months, finishing June with a 1.219 on-base plus slugging and July with a 1.097 on-base plus slugging. For a time it looked like Naquin would run away with the ROY vote at season’s end, but there was something lurking. Something dark. Something fast. Something high.

It was opposing pitchers adjusting. And it was opposing pitchers adjusting to throwing nothing but high heaters. Max Scherzer was the first to execute the Kill Tyler Naquin 2016 plan, and he did it perfectly. Scherzer struck out Naquin three times on August 8 with almost nothing but high fastballs; the rest of the league followed suit and Naquin never really recovered.

Most Valuable Player Award

American League finalists - Not Mike Trout so who cares (Astros), Not Mike Trout so who cares (Red Sox), Winner (Angels)
National League finalists - Kris Bryant (Cubs), Daniel Murphy (Nationals), Corey Seager (Dodgers)

Not surprised no Indians are here, but it would have been nice for Francisco Lindor to get a nod. Jose Altuve and Mookie Betts should be enough to force a “omg who is toooootally going to win the AL MVP this yeeeaaaar you guuuuyyys” debate that we all pretend to have before giving the award to Mike Trout and moving on with our lives.