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Trout, Fernandez honored in Esurance MLB Awards

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With the final distribution of BBWAA awards on Thursday and another long two months before Cooperstown welcomes its newest inductees, Friday was the perfect time for one last round of baseball accolades. The Esurance MLB Awards (originally referred to as This Year in Baseball Awards and, from 2011 – 2014, the GIBBYS) recognized players, executives, managers, and events in 19 different categories: Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Defensive Player, Social Media Personality, Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Social Media Post, Moment, Performance, Fan Catch, TV/Radio Call, Player-Fan Interaction, Trending Topic, Manager, Executive, Postseason Major Leaguer, and Postseason Moment.

What makes the Esurance MLB Awards unique is the voting process; unlike the BBWAA, which depends solely on the opinions of credentialed sportswriters, the Esurance awards are decided by members of the media, MLB front offices, retired players, fans, and members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

Following a season that validated all of our feelings about Mike Trout‘s greatness with another well-deserved MVP award, Trout also took home hardware as the Best Major Leaguer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was his first distinction as the best overall player in the Esurance MLB Awards, though he played runner-up to Miguel Cabrera (2013), Clayton Kershaw (2014) and Bryce Harper (2015) over the last several years.

The late Jose Fernandez was also recognized in the Best Moment category when the Marlins honored the 24-year-old after his untimely death in late September.

The Indians dominated most of the categories, accounting for six awards in the Best Defensive Player, Offensive Play, Trending Topic, Manager, Postseason Major Leaguer, and Postseason Moment categories. Nationals’ right-hander Max Scherzer, Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and Red Sox’ legend David Ortiz each garnered multiple distinctions. Scherzer earned awards for Best Pitcher and Performance, while Rizzo was recognized for the Best Defensive Play of the year and Best Social Media Personality. Ortiz was selected for the Best Player-Fan Interaction and singled out as the Best Hitter overall.

The full list of winners is below — and, in case you’re wondering, David Ross‘ award-worthy social media posts can be found here.

  1. Best Major Leaguer: Mike Trout, Angels
  2. Best Hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  3. Best Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Nationals
  4. Best Rookie: Corey Seager, Dodgers
  5. Best Defensive Player: Francisco Lindor, Indians
  6. Best Social Media Personality: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
  7. Best Play, Offense: Tyler Naquin, Indians
  8. Best Play, Defense: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
  9. Best Social Media Post: David Ross, Cubs
  10. Best Moment: Marlins honor Jose Fernandez
  11. Best Performance: Max Scherzer, Nationals
  12. Best Fan Catch: Phillies fan
  13. Best Call, TV/radio: Vin Scully, Dodgers
  14. Best Player-Fan Interaction: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  15. Best Trending Topic: World Series Game 7
  16. Best Manager: Terry Francona, Indians
  17. Best Executive: Theo Epstein, Cubs
  18. Best Major Leaguer, Postseason: Andrew Miller, Indians
  19. Best Postseason Moment: Rajai Davis, Indians

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.