CLEVELAND, Ohio — Before the season began, Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor talked frequently about wanting to “finish” in 2018 after a disappointing playoff run the previous year.
From March through October, Lindor proved himself the Tribe’s most complete player, and although the Indians again did not finish where they wanted in the end, it was Lindor’s consistent play from the top that led the way to a third straight division title and postseason appearance.
For that, Cleveland’s chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America named Lindor the Bob Feller Man of the Year award winner, given annually since 1946 to the team’s top player.
American League MVP finalist Jose Ramirez, Cy Young Award finalist Corey Kluber and the team’s ERA leader, Trevor Bauer, were also nominated for the award.
Lindor, who turned 25 in November, batted .277 with an .871 OPS, 38 home runs, 92 RBI and 25 stolen bases. He tied for the MLB lead in runs scored (129) and was second with 58 multi-hit games. Lindor’s 38 home runs broke his own franchise record for a shortstop, and he became the first shortstop in major league history with at least 35 home runs, 40 doubles, and 20 steals in the same season.
Lindor’s nine leadoff home runs led all of baseball and broke Grady Sizemore’s previous franchise high set in 2008.
Lindor was named an American League All-Star for the third consecutive season and earned AL Player of the Month honors in May. He was a finalist for the AL Gold Glove Award at shortstop and won his second straight AL Silver Slugger award at the position.
He launched a two-run homer in the fifth inning April 17 against Minnesota in the first of two games with the Twins in his native Puerto Rico. The high drive to right sent the crowd at Hiram Bithorn Stadium into a frenzy when it landed beyond the fence.
Lindor’s second career walk-off homer beat the Twins again on Aug. 8 at Progressive Field.
In separate games against the Royals (May 12) and Twins (May 31) he collected two doubles and two home runs, becoming the first Indians leadoff hitter with four extra-base hits in a game since Tito Francona in 1964.
Lindor’s two home runs against Houston in the American League Division Series were the only ones the Indians hit in their three postseason games.
In just his third full major-league season, Lindor continues to improve in every area of his game, and plays with a joy and passion that is evident to all who get to watch him on a regular basis.
“I have to remind myself sometimes of his age, because he’s so advanced in so many things on the field, just the way he carries himself,” manager Terry Francona said in October.
“Sometimes what you see isn’t what there is. With Frankie, it is. That smile, he loves playing baseball… If I had his tools, I would, too. But he’s very competitive, he cares about the right things, and we’re really glad that he’s ours, because he’s so special.”