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KBO's MVP poised for another year-end trophy

Sports 11:05 December 02, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- The 2020 regular season MVP in South Korean baseball is poised to pick up another piece of hardware this month.

Mel Rojas Jr. of the KT Wiz has been nominated for the Golden Glove in the outfield category, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced Wednesday.

This image, provided by the Korea Baseball Organization on Dec. 2, 2020, shows the emblem for the 2020 Golden Glove awards. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The slugging right fielder captured the MVP award on Monday in a landslide after leading the KBO in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and runs scored. He became the sixth foreign player to take KBO's top individual award.

Rojas Jr. earned his first Golden Glove last year.

Voting by baseball writers, broadcasters and analysts will run from 10 a.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. next Tuesday, and the winners will be announced during the awards ceremony in Seoul on Dec. 11.

Despite the name's connotation, the Golden Gloves have been often awarded to players who put up the best offensive and pitching numbers, instead of the best defensive players. In addition to the nine fielding positions, the KBO also hands out Golden Gloves to designated hitters. League leaders in major offensive and pitching categories all earn automatic nominations.

In 2017, the KBO added defensive innings played to the qualifying criteria, which expanded the pool of nominees and brought defensive contributions into consideration.

In this file photo from Nov. 10, 2020, Mel Rojas Jr. of the KT Wiz follows through on his solo home run against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the third inning of Game 2 of the second-round series in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Position players must have either led the league in at least one offensive category or have appeared in their fielding position for at least 720 innings. Pitchers must have met the minimum number of innings to qualify for the ERA title (144 innings) or, in the case of relief pitchers, must have recorded at least 10 wins, 30 saves or 30 holds.

All batters who had at least 297 plate appearances at DH automatically qualify for the DH category. That's two-thirds of the minimum plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.

The Wiz had the most nominees among 10 clubs with 14 players. The Wiz, the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears have a nominee in all 10 categories.

Dinos' catcher Yang Eui-ji, runner-up to Rojas Jr. in the MVP voting, should handily win his third straight Golden Glove and his sixth overall.

In this file photo from Nov. 23, 2020, Yang Eui-ji of the NC Dinos celebrates his two-run home run against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 5 of the Korean Series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)

On the mound, Bears' ace Raul Alcantara will go for his first Golden Glove after finishing third in the MVP race. Alcantara was the only 20-game winner in the regular season. Five of the past six winners in the pitcher category have been foreign hurlers.

There are 27 nominees for the pitching category, seven each for catcher, shortstop and DH, six each for first base and second base, and five for third base. And 22 outfielders will vie for three Golden Gloves up for grabs, regardless of their specific outfield positions.

The award ceremony will take place at 3:40 p.m. on Dec. 11 in Seoul. Due to social distancing rules and COVID-19 protocols, no fans or media will be on hand for the occasion. The proceedings will be broadcast and streamed live.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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