The 2016 Major League Baseball Players’ Choice Award winners were announced Wednesday night on MLB Network. Unlike the BBWAA awards, these awards (as the name would suggest) are voted on by players from around baseball each September, when they receive a ballot to make their picks for each category.
Seven categories in all, American League players vote for American League players, with National League players voting for National League players; with the exception of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, Always Game award and the Player of the Year award, in which players from both leagues vote for a single player.
The winning player for each category is awarded a grant from the MLB Players Trust, ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars (260,000 total), depending on the award that they win. The money goes to the winner’s choice of charity, with some players deciding to split up the money between multiple causes. This marks the 25th annual Players Choice Awards, which began in 1992. Here’s a recap of the winners, with my thoughts on each:
OUTSTANDING ROOKIE AWARD
AL Nominees – Michael Fulmer, Tyler Naquin and Gary Sanchez
AL Winner – Michael Fulmer
NL Nominees – Aledmys Diaz, Corey Seager and Trea Turner
NL Winner – Corey Seager
Whether or not both of these players end up winning the official BBWAA Rookie of the Year award next week, seeing them recognized for their efforts on the field in their very first season is special. Each was very deserving of the honor, and it will be fun to watch and see what they will be able to do in 2017 and beyond.
OUTSTANDING PITCHER AWARD
AL Nominees – Zach Britton, Corey Kluber and Rick Porcello
AL Winner – Rick Porcello
NL Nominees – Kyle Hendricks, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer
NL Winner – Kyle Hendricks
Both Kyle Hendricks and Rick Porcello had fantastic, breakout seasons this year in their given leagues, and each played huge roles in getting their teams to the postseason. If they can both keep their great seasons going, they very well could be picking up this honor again next year.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
AL Nominees – Yu Darvish, Ian Desmond and Mark Trumbo
AL Winner – Mark Trumbo
NL Nominees – Jose Fernandez, Rich Hill and Jean Segura
NL Winner – Jose Fernandez
After the season Mark Trumbo had, leading all of MLB in home runs, it was no shock that he won it for the American League. Picking up the award for the National League was the late Jose Fernandez, who was voted as the winner jut five days before his untimely death in September.
ALWAYS GAME AWARD
Nominees — Jose Altuve, Corey Seager and Francisco Lindor
Winner — Jose Altuve
Always giving his full effort night after night, Jose Altuve once again took home this award for the second straight season. Although Altuve is one of the smallest players in baseball, his impact is huge both on the players around him and the Astros as a whole.
OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARD
AL Nominees – Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts and Mike Trout
AL Winner – Jose Altuve
NL Nominees – Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant and Daniel Murphy
NL Winner – Daniel Murphy
Altuve also was awarded the Outstanding Player Award, along with Daniel Murphy of the National League. Each were absolutely terrific this season, and each will look to keep that going next year. While the game of baseball is unpredictable, these two players being stars in 2017 is basically a sure thing.
MARVIN MILLER MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
Nominees – Curtis Granderson, Anthony Rizzo and Justin Turner
Winner – Curtis Granderson
Curtis Granderson gives back to his community more than nearly every player in Major League Baseball, winning him the Marvin Miller award for 2016. Stats aside, this award is about what a player has done for others off of the field, and Granderson certainly did more than enough to win this honor.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Nominees – Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts and David Ortiz
Winner – Jose Altuve
Winning his third award of the night, Jose Altuve was voted on as the best overall player in baseball for 2016. With so many to choose from, this is one of the biggest honors given out for the Players’ choice awards. To have your peers say you’re the best the game has to offer truly speaks volumes for the level of player Altuve is.