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Curtis Granderson, J.D. Martinez win top honors in 2018 Players Choice Awards

Earlier this week in Dallas, Texas, current and former Major League Baseball Players along with MLB executives gathered for the 2018 Players Choice Awards to honor Curtis Granderson as Marvin Miller Man of the Year for an unprecedented third time and J.D. Martinez as Player of the Year.

Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark and Major League Players Trust Director Bo Porter were present along with several MLB Players took part in the festivities including: Danny Graves (Analyst), Dmitri Young (Analyst & Former Players Choice Awards Comeback Player of the Year Award Winner), David Justice (Presenter & Former Players Choice Awards Comeback Player of the Year), R. A. Dickey (Presenter & Former Players Choice Awards Outstanding Pitcher of the Year Award Winner), Jeffrey Hammonds (Presenter), Jose Cruz Jr. (Presenter) and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield (presenter for the Players Choice Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year Awards).

Finalists Max Scherzer (NL Outstanding Pitcher of the Year) and Jack Flaherty (NL Outstanding Rookie Finalist) rounded out the crowd.

Brett Dolan served as the Masters of Ceremony for the Awards Presentation Show.

The Players Choice Awards are held in high regard by players because the winners are selected by their peers for excellence on and off the field. The Players Choice Awards have been presented by the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1992, with the Players Trust providing charitable grants to causes selected by the winning in excess of $5 million.

Asked to vote for the player they “most respect based on his leadership on the field and in the community,” players across both leagues once again voted for Granderson, who had previously won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2009 and in 2016.

Granderson, a three-time All-Star who has consistently combined speed, power and defensive skill over 15 seasons with five clubs, leads in the clubhouse and the community with a warm, engaging demeanor. His hard work, commitment and goodwill also set a positive tone for his teammates and in the many lives he touches through his Grand Kids Foundation which has introduced baseball to more than a million kids in underserved communities, supplied 17.5 million meals to families in need, brought fitness activities to dozens of cities and developed a multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art sports complex in his hometown of Chicago that serves over 10,000 kids annually.

“My work off the field is never about awards or accolades,” Granderson told the gathering via video. “Awards like this help raise awareness for the causes, people and communities that I, my foundation and my family support each and every day.”

Marvin Miller, for whom the award is named, was the Major League Baseball Players Association’s first full-time executive director, from 1966 through 1982, and guided its emergence as one of the country’s strongest and most cohesive labor unions.

Paul Goldschmidt and Mike Trout were runners-up for the Man of the Year.

J.D. Martinez finished ahead of teammate Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich to win Player of the Year.

Martinez earlier this month won 2018 A.L. Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder and designated hitter, an unprecedented feat, and the 2018 A.L. Hank Aaron Award, which crowned him the best hitter in either league.

Blake Snell received his American League Outstanding Pitcher of the Year Award in person and credited his pitching coach and his teammates with much of his success saying, “They made it fun to show up every day and I’m very thankful for it”.

The winners of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year and Player of the Year awards each receive a $50,000 grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust to direct to charities of their choice, while the second and third-place finishers receive a $10,000 grant.

Winners of the eight league-wide awards receive grants of $20,000 each. Runners-up in all categories that are not Player of the Year or Marvin Miller Man of the Year receive $10,000 and third-place finishers $5,000.

All told, the 2018 Players Choice Award winners will designate charities to receive grants of nearly $500,000 from the Players Trust this year. Since 1992, the Players Trust has recognized the outstanding on- and off-field performances of Players Choice Awards winners by contributing more than $4 million to charities around the world.

Through their collective charity, players pool resources to support efforts that provide hope, sustainability and lasting change around the world. Players direct grants to the wide range of causes they support – from disaster relief to health and human services to growing baseball in the United States and abroad.

 

Below is a summary of each category for the Players Choice Awards.

 

AL Outstanding Player

Betts, a dynamic, 5-foot-9 right-fielder from Nashville, Tenn., was catalyst offensively and defensively for the 2018 World Series champions, batting a league-leading .346 with 32 homers, 129 runs, 80 RBIs and a 1.078 OPS. A three-time All-Star, the 26-year-old Betts also stole 30 bases in 36 attempts in his fifth season with the Red Sox and his 10.4 fWAR was the best in baseball. José Ramírez and Martinez were the other finalists.

NL Outstanding Player

Yelich, who was selected over Javier Báez and Trevor Story, joined the Brewers in a trade last winter and powered the club to the NL Central title with a second-half surge. The 26-year-old outfielder from Southern California made a strong run for the Triple Crown and ended up as the Brewers’ first batting champion (.326) while hitting 36 homers and driving in 110 runs. He led the NL with a .598 slugging percentage and a 1.000 OPS. In 2018, Yelich twice hit for the cycle and was selected for his first All-Star Game.

Outstanding Pitcher AL

Snell, a 25-year-old left-hander, improved on a strong second half in 2017 and emerged as one of the game’s elite starters in his third season, leading the AL in victories (21), earned run average (1.89) and fewest hits allowed (5.58) per nine innings for the Rays. Gaining in command and confidence, Snell was adept at keeping hitters off balance with his pitch selection. Chris Sale and Justin Verlander were the runners up.

Outstanding Pitcher NL

In his fifth season with the Mets, deGrom led all MLB pitchers with 8.8 fWAR and a 1.70 ERA and his 0.4 home runs allowed per nine innings was an MLB low. The 30-year-old right-hander from Florida established career highs with 32 starts and 217 innings pitched, made the NL all-star team for the second time and allowed three or fewer runs in all but one of his starts. Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola placed second and third.

Outstanding Rookie AL

Andújar, from San Cristóbal in the Dominican Republic, took over at third base early in the season for the Yankees and never looked back, becoming a productive force in the middle of an already-powerful lineup. The solidly built 23-year-old slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs while hitting 47 doubles to break Joe DiMaggio’s 1936 Yankees rookie record (44). Shohei Ohtani, who excelled on the mound and as a hitter, and Andújar’s teammate, Gleyber Torres, placed second and third.

Outstanding Rookie NL

Acuña Jr. didn’t join Atlanta until April 25 and missed time due to a knee injury, but the 20-year-old left fielder still put up a season full of star-level stats (3.7 fWAR). Possessing a rare combination of power, speed and defensive ability, the Venezuelan left fielder batted .293 with a .366 on-base percentage, hit 26 home runs, including a stretch in which he hit one in five consecutive games and stole 16 bases. The runners up were Juan Soto and Jack Flaherty.

Comeback Player AL

Brantleys great 2018 season wasn’t quite the best of his 10 in the majors, but it was among the most satisfying. After a 2015 shoulder injury required surgery and caused him to miss all but 11 games in 2016, then suffering a severe ankle injury in August 2017 that kept him out of the lineup for much of the second half, he played 143 games and slashed .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs and 36 doubles this season. The 31-year-old Brantley was also selected for the All-Star Game for the third time in his career. Pitchers David Price and Edwin Jackson came in second and third.

Comeback Player NL

Returning to the Dodgers, for whom he played the first nine seasons of his 13-year big-league career, Kemp playied a key role in helping lead Los Angeles to the NL West title in 2018, batting .290 with 21 homers, 85 RBIs with a .338 on-base average and .481 slugging percentage over 146 games. Kemp, who drove in his 1,000th run on his 34th birthday (Sept. 23), got off to hot start and reached the All-Star Game for the third time in his career and first time since 2012 while adjusting to more of a platoon role than he had been accustomed over his stellar career. Clay Buchholz and Miles Mikolas were the runners up.

 

2018 Players Choice Awards List (in order of finish):

 

Major League Baseball:

Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout Player of Year: J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich

 

American League:

Outstanding Player:  Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, José Ramírez

Outstanding Pitcher: Blake Snell, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander

Outstanding Rookie: Miguel Andújar, Shohei Ohtani, Gleyber Torres

Comeback Player: Michael Brantley, David Price, Edwin Jackson

 

National League:

Outstanding Player: Christian Yelich, Javier Báez, Trevor Story

Outstanding Pitcher: Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Aaron Nola

Outstanding Rookie: Ronald Acuña Jr., Juan Soto, Jack Flaherty

Comeback Player: Matt Kemp, Clay Buchholz, Miles Mikolas

 

Nikki Woods

CEO of Nikki Woods Media

www.nikkiwoodsmedia.com

 

About the Major League Baseball Players Trust

Through the Players Trust, Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and celebrity to call attention to important causes. Each year the Players Trust distributes more than $1.5 million in annual grants and programs. For additional information, please visit www.PlayersTrust.org@MLBPlayersTrust.