Archive for the ‘ News Releases ’ Category

Nationals acquire OF Ben Revere from Toronto Blue Jays

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in exchange for right-handed pitcher Drew Storen and cash considerations.

Revere, 27, joins the Nationals on the heels of his third consecutive season posting a .300 batting average or higher. The versatile outfielder hit .306 in 2015 with a .342 on-base percentage, 22 doubles, seven triples, two home runs and 31 stolen bases in 152 games, 96 with the Philadelphia Phillies and the final 56 with the Blue Jays.

The speedy Revere is a career .295 hitter who has averaged nearly 30 stolen bases per season during his six years in the Major Leagues. No stranger to the National League East, Revere hit .303 with 35 doubles, 16 triples, 71 RBI and 95 stolen bases during his two-plus seasons with the Phillies (335 games). In 2014, Revere led the National League in hits with 184.

Acquired from the Phillies at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Revere hit .319 with a .354 on-base percentage to help the Blue Jays earn the American League East championship, their first division title since 1993. Revere hit .255 in the 2015 postseason, tallying a double, an RBI, two stolen bases and four walks as the Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series, before falling to the Kansas City Royals in six games in the American League Championship Series.

Revere has spent significant time at all three outfield spots and hit the majority of his career at the top of the order, batting first or second in 506 of his 645 MLB games.

An Atlanta, Ga., native, Revere was a first-round selection (No. 27 overall) of the Minnesota Twins in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 7, 2010 and hit .278 in 254 games for the Twins, before he was traded to Philadelphia in Dec. 2012, in exchange for right-handed pitchers Trevor May and Vance Worley.

Storen, 28, spent six seasons as a National, going 21-13 with 95 saves and a 3.02 ERA in 355 games, pitching in nearly every role out of the Nationals’ bullpen. The right-hander leaves Washington ranking second on the club’s all-time (2005-present) saves list, behind Chad Cordero (113). He also ranks second in relief appearances (355) and second among relievers in strikeouts (321).

In 2014, Storen led all qualified National League relievers with a 1.12 ERA, the lowest single-season ERA by a reliever in Nationals history (min. 40 games). From 2014-2015, Storen recorded 40 saves, 25 holds, a 2.26 ERA and 113 strikeouts against 27 walks. The No. 10 overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Storen made his Major League debut less than one year later, May 17, 2010 at St. Louis.

Nationals add Dan Jennings to front office staff

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals added Dan Jennings to their front office staff on Friday, hiring the former Major League executive and manager as a Special Assistant to President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo.

Jennings, who will focus on all facets of the Nationals’ scouting operations, comes to Washington on the heels of the unique experience of serving the Miami Marlins both in an executive role (most recently as Vice President and General Manager) as well as in an on-field capacity. Jennings took over as the Marlins’ field manager on May 18, 2015, a brand new experience for him after establishing himself as a scout and working in various front office roles.

The Nationals are Jennings’ first new organization since 2002, when he joined Miami as Vice President of Player Personnel and began his ascension through their front office. Jennings also served as the Marlins’ Assistant General Manager & VP of Player Personnel, before his promotion to General Manager on Sept. 29, 2013. In his front office capacities with the Marlins, Jennings focused on roster management, arbitration, payroll, contract research and negotiations, and waiver rule compliance.

Jennings shifted to the dugout, gaining valuable and varied experiences, when the Marlins relieved Mike Redmond of his duties. He led Miami to a 55-69 record, after the Marlins had opened with a 16-22 mark.

Prior to joining the Marlins, Jennings served as the Director of Scouting for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for more than seven seasons, during which time the Rays signed and developed more than 45 Major League players – including Josh Hamilton, Carl Crawford, James Shields and Rocco Baldelli. Jennings began his career as an Associate Scout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1986 and moved to an Area Scout role with the Seattle Mariners in 1988. The Mariners promoted him to Midwest Crosschecker in 1995, before Jennings joined the Rays later that year (August 16).

Jennings, who serves on the Board of Directors for the MLB Scout of the Year program and the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, was elected into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in 2012. That election followed his 2004 appointment to the Southeastern Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.

An undrafted right-handed pitcher who was signed by the New York Yankees out of a 1984 tryout camp, Jennings’ minor league career was brief. He played collegiately for the University of Southern Mississippi, before graduating from William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., in 1984.

Nationals agree to terms with INF Stephen Drew

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By Kyle Brostowitz

DrewWelcomeColorThe Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a one-year contract with infielder Stephen Drew on Wednesday and designated right-handed pitcher Taylor Hill for assignment.

Drew, a veteran of 10 Major League seasons, will join the Nationals on the heels of a 2015 season in which he hit 17 home runs for the New York Yankees. The power output was Drew’s largest since the left-handed-hitter clubbed 21 home runs in 2008 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. His 17 home runs were tied for third among Major League second basemen in 2015.

The 32-year-old Drew hit .201 with 16 doubles and one triple, tallied 44 RBI and scored 43 runs in 131 games for the Yankees. He appeared in 123 games (94 starts) at second base, 15 games (10 starts) at shortstop and four games (one start) at third base.

No stranger to the postseason, Drew has appeared in 28 playoff games, including starting at shortstop in each of Boston’s 16 postseason games in 2013, helping the Red Sox secure the World Series title. Drew also appeared in the postseason with the Oakland Athletics in 2012 and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007.

A former first-round pick (No. 15 overall) by the Diamondbacks in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Drew has appeared in 1,152 games in his 10 Major League seasons, hitting .251 with 240 doubles, 62 triples, 114 home runs, 486 RBI, 41 stolen bases and 532 runs scored. He made his Major League debut in 2006, at the age of 23, with the Diamondbacks before stints with Oakland (2012), Boston (2013-14) and New York (2014-15).

A native of Valdosta, Ga., Drew, who attended Florida State University, is the youngest brother of former first-round selections and Major Leaguers, J.D. and Tim Drew.

Hill, 26, appeared in nine Major League games over the past two seasons for the Nationals, going 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Hill’s lone big league start came Sept. 26, 2014 vs. Miami. In 111 minor league games (101 starts) spanning five minor league seasons, Hill went 34-35 with a 3.84 ERA. He was a sixth round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Vanderbilt University.

With the addition of Drew, the Nationals currently have 40 players on their 40-man roster.

Nationals agree to terms with INF Daniel Murphy

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by Amanda Comak

MurphyWelcomeIGThe Washington Nationals agreed to terms with All-Star infielder Daniel Murphy on Wednesday, finalizing a three-year contract with the 2015 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Right-handed pitcher Erik Davis was designated for assignment.

Murphy joins the Nationals after spending the first 10 years of his professional career in the New York Mets organization, including seven seasons in the Major Leagues with Washington’s divisional foe. A versatile infielder, Murphy has appeared at second base (508 games), first base (190 games), third base (86 games), and in the outfield (60 games) during his MLB tenure.

Murphy is a career .288 hitter who has posted a .331 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage over 903 MLB games. During a 2015 season in which he hit .281/.322/.449, Murphy clubbed 38 doubles, two triples and 14 home runs, while driving in 73 for the Mets.

A strong contact hitter, Murphy posted the lowest percentage of swinging strikes (6.9) in the National League in 2015, along with the highest contact percentage among all NL hitters (91.0). He also ranked in the top 10 among qualified NL left-handed-hitting infielders in batting average (3rd), on-base percentage (9th), and slugging percentage (9th).

Murphy’s 38 total strikeouts in 2015 were the fewest by a left-handed hitter in the Major Leagues, among players who appeared in at least 115 games. He walked (31 BB) nearly as often as he struck out.

It was the 2015 postseason, however, where Murphy emerged as one of the game’s most dangerous hitters, and propelled the Mets to the World Series with a .421 combined batting average in the National League Division Series (.333) and NLCS (.529), along with seven home runs and 11 RBI. The NLCS MVP, Murphy homered in every game of the Mets’ sweep over the Chicago Cubs – four home runs in 18 plate appearances – and singlehandedly drove in 29 percent of New York’s total runs in the series.

Consistency has more often been Murphy’s hallmark, however, as the 30-year-old has posted a full-season batting average below .280 only once in his big league career (.266, 2009) and has an average of .291 since the start of 2011. An All-Star for the Mets in 2014, Murphy earned himself a trip to the Mid-Summer Classic in Minnesota by hitting .294 with a .342 on-base percentage and a .413 slugging percentage, along with 23 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 37 RBI in his first 92 games of the season.

Murphy, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., was originally selected by the New York Mets in the 13th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major league debut just more than two years later, on Aug. 2, 2008, and appeared in 49 games for the Mets that season.

Davis, 29, appeared in 37 games across three minor league levels in 2015, going 1-2 with three saves and a 3.88 ERA. Davis, who missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2014, made his debut in 2013. He posted a 3.12 ERA in 10 appearances during a pair of MLB stints. Davis was acquired, along with cash considerations, from the San Diego Padres in exchange for infielder Alberto Gonzalez on March 28, 2011.

Nationals agree to terms with RHP Yusmeiro Petit

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a conditional option for a second year with right-handed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit on Monday.

Petit comes to Washington after spending the previous four seasons as a member of the San Francisco Giants’ pitching staff. The right-hander, who has played parts of eight seasons in the Major Leagues, was 10-7 with a 3.66 ERA during his tenure with the Giants.

The versatile reliever appeared in 90 games (245.2 IP) in that span, starting 21 and finishing 29. Establishing a reputation for having a durable arm and a penchant for strike-throwing, 57 of his 90 appearances with the Giants were more than an inning in length – including 13 starts – and his 4.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a reliever was the fifth-best such mark in the National League from 2012-2015.

The past two seasons, in particular, Petit has been a key cog on the Giants staff. Tough on right-handed batters throughout the course of his career, he has been exceptionally stingy against them since the start of the 2014 season. Petit has held the 422 batters he’s faced in that span to a .213 average against, and struck out 124.

In helping the Giants secure the 2014 World Series Championship, Petit threw 117.0 regular-season innings, struck out 10.2 batters per nine innings and posted a 6.05 strikeout-to-walk ratio, all of which were career highs. In three postseason appearances that year, Petit was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA (2 ER/12.2 IP).

Over the course of his Major League career, which has also included big league time with the Florida Marlins (2006) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-2009), Petit has worked to a 20-27 record and a 4.29 career ERA. Originally signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in Nov. 2001, Petit was not tendered a contract by the Giants on Dec. 2, 2015, and was granted free agency.

With the addition of Petit, the Nationals currently have 40 players on their 40-man roster.

Nationals agree to terms with RHP Shawn Kelley

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By Kyle Brostowitz

KelleyWelcomeThe Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a three-year contract with right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley on Friday.

Kelley, a veteran of seven Major League seasons, will join the Nationals after posting a 2.45 ERA and a 2-2 record in 53 games for the San Diego Padres in 2015. He struck out 63 batters and walked just 15 in 51.1 innings pitched.

The 31-year-old is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as his 2.45 ERA (14 ER/51.1 IP) and 1.091 walks and hits per innings pitched marks were his best since an injury-shortened 2011 season. His 4.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio was his best since 2009 (4.56), his rookie season, and ranked 11th among National League relievers in 2015.

Over his final 45 appearances of the 2015 season, Kelley went 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA (5 ER/42.2 IP) and six holds, along with 54 strikeouts against just 10 walks and limited the opposition to a .184 batting average. His 1.05 ERA over that stretch was the best mark of any National League pitcher with at least 30.0 innings pitched. From July 30 through the end of the season, he allowed just one earned run over his final 21 appearances (15.1 IP), striking out 24 batters, allowing nine hits and walking eight.

Kelley was particularly tough on right-handed batters in 2015, surrendering just two extra-base hits while allowing them to post just a .218 (22-for-101) average against on the season. From May 30 through the end of the year, Kelley did not allow an extra-base hit to a right-handed batter, a stretch that spanned the final 98 right-handed hitters he faced.

Kelley began his Major League career with the Seattle Mariners (2009-12) before joining the New York Yankees (2013-14) and the Padres (2015).

In 289 career appearances, Kelley is 19-19 with a 3.67 ERA while posting 10.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was originally selected in the 13th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and was acquired by the Padres from the Yankees on December 29, 2014.

With the addition of Kelley, the Nationals currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

Nationals agree to terms with LHP Oliver Perez

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a two-year contract with left-handed reliever Oliver Pérez on Friday.

PerezWelcomePérez, a 13-year Major League veteran, joins the Nationals’ organization for the second time in his career. The left-hander, once an accomplished MLB starter, made his transition to a reliever after pitching for Double-A Harrisburg in 2011. Since then, Pérez has established himself as reliable bullpen arm, appearing in 232 MLB games (182.1 IP) and posting a 3.31 ERA, while striking out 11.1 batters per nine innings.

A career 67-83, Pérez has made 195 Major League starts, finished 58 MLB games, worked to a 4.44 ERA and worn the Major League uniform of six different teams: San Diego (2002-03), Pittsburgh (2003-06), New York (2006-10), Seattle (2012-13), Arizona (2014-15), and Houston (2015). He returns to the National League East at the big league level for the first time since a five-year stint with the Mets, in which he went 29-29 with a 4.71 ERA and amassed 520.0 innings pitched.

Over the course of his career, Pérez has held left-handed batters to a .238 average, but he was exceptionally tough on left-handed batters in 2015, holding them to a .185 average and .235 on-base percentage. Last season, with the Diamondbacks and Astros, Pérez struck out 34 percent of all left-handed batters he faced (98) and issued only five walks.

Pérez is one of only five left-handed relievers across the Major Leagues who has appeared in 60 games or more and struck out at least 50 batters in each of the past three seasons, joining Tony Watson (PIT), Glen Perkins (MIN), Mike Dunn (MIA), and Brett Cecil (TOR). In his career as a reliever, he’s kept 70.1 percent of inherited runners from scoring, and accrued 25 holds over the previous two years.

The left-hander has made four postseason appearances, separated by nine years, as he started twice in the 2006 National League Championship Series for the Mets and appeared in two games this past October for the Astros in the American League Division Series.

Pérez, 34, was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Mexico by the San Diego Padres in March, 1999. A three-time member of the Mexican World Baseball Classic team (2006, 2009, 2013), Pérez made 188 MLB starts from 2002-09, including the final home opener (April 8, 2008 vs. PHI) and the final game (Sept. 28, 2008 vs. FLA) at Shea Stadium.

With the addition of Pérez, the Nationals currently have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Bryce Harper wins NL outfield Silver Slugger

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by Amanda Comak

Silver Slugger IGWashington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was named a National League winner of the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award on Thursday night, the first such honor of his career.

This is the fourth consecutive season in which the Nationals have had a Silver Slugger Award winner, and the first time the organization has had an outfield honoree since Alfonso Soriano in 2006.

“We are proud to see Bryce earn his first Silver Slugger award,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “Watching Bryce play the way he did this year was a true pleasure. His historic season at the plate is a tribute to the type of talent he is, and I know I’m not alone when I say that I cannot wait to see what is next for this young man.”

“I’d like to say ‘Thank you,’ to the managers and coaches who awarded me with this incredible honor,” Harper said. “Most of all, I’d like to thank my teammates, the Nationals coaching staff and the training staff. I am humbled by their unwavering support and sacrifices, without which this would not be possible. It is a privilege and an honor to be recognized alongside this group of great players.”

Harper, who celebrated his 23rd birthday shortly after the 2015 season concluded, led Major League outfielders in a myriad of offensive categories. They included: batting average (.330), on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.649), walks (124), OPS (1.109), and at-bats per home run (12.40). He led National League outfielders in home runs (42), extra-base hits (81) and at-bats per RBI (5.26).

The Las Vegas-native was also tops in Major League Baseball in Wins Above Replacement for the 2015 season with 9.5 (according to Fangraphs.com).

With Harper’s honor, the Nationals are one of only two National League teams (along with the Pittsburgh Pirates) to have a player earn a Silver Slugger Award in each of the past four seasons. Joining them with active streaks in the American League are the Detroit Tigers (2011-2015) and the Los Angeles Angels (2012-2015).

NATIONALS TO WIN LOUISVILLE SLUGGER SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS (2005-2015)
2006  OF Alfonso Soriano
2009  3B Ryan Zimmerman
2010  3B Ryan Zimmerman
2012  SS Ian Desmond, 1B Adam LaRoche, P Stephen Strasburg
2013  SS Ian Desmond
2014  SS Ian Desmond, 3B Anthony Rendon
2015 RF Bryce Harper

Nationals name Dusty Baker manager

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals named Dusty Baker as manager on Tuesday, agreeing to terms on a multi-year contract that makes him the sixth field manager in Nationals history.

Baker, 66, brings nearly 50 years of professional baseball experience to the Nationals, including 20 years as a Major League manager, six as a coach, and a 20-year playing career that was highlighted by 19 decorated seasons in the Major Leagues.

A three-time National League Manager of the Year (1993, 1997, 2000), Baker is the 17th-winningest manager in baseball history, and his 1,671-1,504 career managerial record slots him second in the win column among active managers behind only San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy (1,702). Washington is Baker’s fourth managerial stop, coming to the Nationals after time in San Francisco (1993-2002), Chicago (2003-2006) and Cincinnati (2008-2013).

“We were looking for a manager to help us achieve our ultimate goal of competing for a World Series championship,” said Theodore N. Lerner, Managing Principal Owner of the Nationals. “During our broad search process we met with many qualified candidates, and ultimately it was clear that Dusty’s deep experience was the best fit for our ballclub.”

Baker, an All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and World Series-winning player, has produced seven postseason teams during his 20-year managerial career, including five division championships (San Francisco, 1997 & 2000; Chicago, 2003; Cincinnati, 2010 & 2012), and two wild card appearances (San Francisco, 2002; Cincinnati, 2013). Baker, a coach for the 1989 Giants World Series team, managed the 2002 San Francisco Giants to the World Series, clinching the National League pennant over the St. Louis Cardinals in five games, before falling in seven games to the Los Angeles Angels.

His 1,555 games and 840 victories with San Francisco rank second only to Hall of Famer John McGraw’s 4,405 games and 2,604 wins in Giants history, and his 2003-04 Cubs teams were the first to post consecutive winning seasons in Chicago since 1971-72.

As a player, Baker participated in the postseason four times (1977, 1978, 1981 & 1983), and played in three World Series (1977, 1978, 1981). He earned himself the National League Championship Series MVP award with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977 (hitting .357 with a .438 on-base percentage and .837 slugging percentage in four games against Philadelphia), and a World Series ring, playing left field for the 1981 Dodgers.

​“I am so pleased to welcome Dusty Baker to the Nationals family,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “In getting to know Dusty and identifying what we wanted in the next on-field leader of our team, we are excited to have him on board.

“Dusty’s experience, as a winning player, coach, and manager, is vast and varied. We are excited to bring him to Washington and put his steady demeanor, knowledge and many years in the game to work in our favor. I think I speak for the entire organization when I say I am very much looking forward to working with him.”

Baker, a six-time All-Star (twice as a player: 1981 & 1982; three times as a member of the coaching staff: 1994, 1997 & 2001; once as manager: 2003), brings a wealth of experience to the manager’s seat in Washington. His teams have finished first or second 12 times in his 20 years, and won at least 90 games in a season on eight occasions.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the former outfielder is one of just six managers in MLB history to win a division title with at least three teams, joining former Nationals skipper Davey Johnson, Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa. He is also one of only four in MLB history to produce at least 1,500 hits as a player and win at least 1,500 games as a manager, joining Piniella, Torre and Fred Clarke on that list.

Born Johnnie B. Baker Jr. on June 15, 1949 in Riverside, Calif., “Dusty” Baker currently resides in California with his wife, Melissa, and has two children, Natosha and Darren. A 1967 graduate of Del Campo High School in Carmichael, Calif., Baker attended American River College in Sacramento, Calif. and was inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Baker, who is a prostate cancer survivor (2001), served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1969-75. Baker also has experience as a broadcaster, working for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight in 2007 and, most recently, for TBS as a studio analyst this past postseason.

Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos Named Rawlings Gold Glove Finalists

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By Kyle Brostowitz

The finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced Thursday morning by Rawlings Sports, and for the fourth consecutive year, the Washington Nationals have two players among the honorees.

GoldGlove NoTextRight fielder Bryce Harper and catcher Wilson Ramos were named finalists at their respective positions, the first time for each player. The awards will be announced on November 10 on ESPN.

Harper is up against strong competition for the award, facing off against  St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward and New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson.

Ramos is also included in a talented group, up against St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey.

Harper made the transition to right field in 2015 and immediately displayed a strong arm and advanced defensive instincts that made him one of the best right fielders in the National League. He ranked fourth among National League right fielders in the SABR Defensive Index (4.9) and, according to FanGraphs.com, Harper ranked second in Outfield Runs Saved (2) and fourth in Total Defensive Runs Saved (7). According to STATS Inc., Harper ranked third among National League outfielders in Range Factor/9.0 innings (2.07) and Putouts/9.0 innings (2.01). STATSAST DATA

Ramos led National League catchers with a career-best 36.2% catcher caught stealing percentage, throwing out 17 of 47 potential base stealers. His 17 caught-stealings were his most since he threw out 19 in 2011. According to FanGraphs.com, Ramos led National League catchers in Defensive Runs Above Average (11.2) and was tied for first with San Francisco’s Buster Posey in Defensive Runs Saved (9). He ranked second, behind Posey, in SABR’s Defensive Index (8.6).

Ramos was behind the plate for both of Max Scherzer’s no-hitters (June 20 vs. PIT and Oct. 3 at NYM) and, combined with being behind the plate for Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter on the final day of the 2014 season, joined some exclusive company in 2015. Per STATS, Inc., Ramos is the 14th catcher since 1914 to catch three or more no-hitters and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first ever to catch three in a 162-game span.

Each manager and up to six coaches on each staff voted from a pool of qualified players in their league, and cannot vote for players on their own team. As in 2014, Rawlings also included a sabermetric component to the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, as part of its recent collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

The SABR Defensive Index accounted for approximately 25 percent of the overall selection total, with the managers and coaches’ vote continuing to carry the majority.

The winners of the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards will be announced Tuesday night, November 10, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN in a special one-hour Baseball Tonight.

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