Aug. 27—Jose Ramirez, obviously, is the Guardians' Most Valuable Player. He deserves the title simply for being loyal to the franchise by signing a seven-year, $140 million contract extension when he could have made $50 million or more by signing with another team.
But who would be runner-up MVP? As good as Ramirez is with his 25 home runs, 104 RBI, 14 stolen bases, .283 batting average, 69 runs scored and an A.L.-leading 37 doubles, he alone does not get credit for making the Guardians the leaders of the American League Central Division.
I asked for help from followers on Twitter to select the team's runner-up MVP. Most of those responding named second baseman Andres Gimenez, closer Emmanuel Clase and leadoff hitter Steven Kwan. Manager Terry Francona also received votes.
"Andres Gimenez," @gcastelli216 tweeted. "Clutch all season, has surprisingly filled a void of power when needed. All-Star. Possible Gold Glove."
There is no disputing Gimenez is the Most Improved Player in the everyday lineup.
Gimenez batted .218 in 68 games with the Indians last season with five home runs and 16 RBI. He was hitting .179 on May 16 last year and was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to work on his swing. He was called back to the Indians on Aug. 8 last year and continued to struggle at the plate. His batting average last season was never higher than .222.
This season Gimenez is hitting .304 with 15 home runs and 59 RBI. He has scored 49 times.
Francisco Lindor is hitting .268 with 21 home runs and 85 RBI with the Mets. He has scored 80 runs.
Lindor is definitely having a better season than in 2021 in his first year in New York (.230 batting average, 20 home runs, 63 RBI) after the Indians traded him to the Mets for Gimenez and Amed Rosario, but it would be unfair to say the Indians/Guardians lost out in the trade. Rosario, hitting second in the Guardians' lineup most of the season, is hitting .286 with eight home runs and 51 RBI. Rosario and Ramirez share the team lead with 69 runs scored.
And while most campaigns for Gimenez as the Guardians runner-up MVP point to what he has done at the plate, check out his fielding: He has made only six errors in 384 fielding chances as the second baseman through 91 games. He has played 18 games at shortstop without an error in 60 fielding opportunities.
Most responders torn between choosing Clase or Gimenez in the end went with Gimenez, but check out Clase:
Clase, with his lethal 100 MPH cutter, is tied for the Major League lead with 29 saves. His numbers are even better after digging deeper despite being tagged with the Guardians' 3-2 loss in Seattle on Aug. 26. He has allowed only six baserunners in his last 19 appearances. He leads the majors with 51 games finished. He allowed a home run on April 11 in a game with the Royals in his second outing of the season and since then has allowed just one home run through his last 54 appearances. He has a 1.20 ERA and opponents are hitting just .156 off him.
Joe from Stow, with the Twitter handle of @JoeVendors, is going with Kwan as his second MVP: "Steven Kwan- he is the spark that gets things going on offense," Joe tweeted. "His defense is excellent, too."
That defense was on full display Aug. 26 when he dived into the stands in Seattle to catch a fly ball. He has made only four errors all season and he has seven assists.
Kwan, indeed, is the spark that gets things going with Rosario and Ramirez following him in the batting order. Kwan is hitting .298 and has scored 66 runs. He has three homers and 35 RBI.
Anyone casting a vote for Francona isn't wrong, either. He is in his 10th year managing the Indians/Guardians and has won more games (819) than any other manager in franchise history.
Preseason prognosticators who had the Guardians finishing last in the Central Division did not factor in how well Francona gets the most out of his players year in and year out. Shame on those soothsayers.
I didn't know that
... until I read my Snapple bottle cap.
"Jingle Bells" was originally written for Thanksgiving. ... Chameleons can move both their eyes in different directions at the same time. ... About one-third of a person's taste buds are numbed while flying. ... Peanut butter can be converted into diamonds. ... The first hot air balloon, launched on Sept. 19, 1783, by a scientist named Pilatre De Rozier, carried a duck, a sheep and a rooster as passengers. ... The sun is actually white. Earth's atmosphere makes it appear yellow.