Players selected Josh Donaldson as this season’s best player and Adam Jones as the one who most inspired them to a higher level both on and off the field in their 2015 Players Choice Awards balloting.
Donaldson won Players Choice Awards as both the AL Outstanding Player and the overall Player of the Year while Jones was selected by his peers as winner of the prestigious Marvin Miller Man of the Year in balloting that was conducted in mid-September and announced Monday night during an hour-long broadcast on MLB Network and presented by MLB The Show.
Bryce Harper, who broke out in a big way for the Nationals, earned NL Outstanding Player honors while Dallas Keuchel and Zack Greinke were named the Outstanding Pitchers in their respective leagues. The top rookies were shortstop Carlos Correa in the AL and slugging third baseman Kris Bryant in the NL, and the Comeback Players were Prince Fielder and Matt Harvey.
The Players Choice Awards, in which the players recognize each other’s excellence on and off the field, have been presented by the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1992, with the Players Trust providing more than $4 million in charitable grants to causes selected by the winning players.
The winners of the two overall awards – Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year – each receive a $50,000 grant from the Trust that will go to a charity or charities he selects, while the winners of awards as top comeback, rookie, pitcher and player in their league each receive a $20,000 grant.
Donaldson, a 29-year-old in just his third full season, batted .297 with 41 home runs and also led the league in runs (122), RBIs (123), total bases (352) and sacrifice flies (10). He also led the major leagues with 20 game-winning RBIs to help Blue Jays win the AL East.
In 2015, Jones hosted a clinic with the MLBPA for inner city youth in West Baltimore while the city was still simmering following unrest this past spring. The Orioles center fielder provided hands-on instruction and encouragement to kids from James Mosher Little League. He has also participated in events to benefit the YMCA of Central Maryland, the Boys and Girls Club of Baltimore and Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities.
Harper, who was the first overall draft pick in 2010 and reached the majors two years later at age 19, had a break-out season for the Nationals in 2015, batting .330 with a league-leading 42 homers and 99 RBIs, and leading the majors in on-base average (.460), slugging percentage (.649), OPS (1.109) and WAR (9.9). He also had 38 doubles and 124 walks.
Keuchel, a 27-year-old Oklahoman who pitched collegiately for Arkansas, was perhaps the main reason the Astros reached the postseason. The lefthander led the AL with 20 wins, two shutouts, a 1.017 WHIP and a 7.2 WAR. His 2.48 ERA was second in the league.
In his 12th season and third with the Dodgers, Greinke, 32, was better than ever, going 19-3 with 200 strikeouts in 222 2/3 innings while leading the majors with a 1.66 ERA, a 9.3 WAR, 0.84 WHIP and a .231 on-base percentage allowed.
Correa, the youngest position player in the majors when he debuted with the Astros on June 8, batted .279 while leading AL rookies with 22 home runs and a .512 slugging percentage. He was second among AL rookies with 68 RBIs and a .345 on-base percentage. He also had 22 doubles and 14 stolen bases over 99 games.
Only 23, Bryant’s 26 home runs — including one that traveled a Wrigley Field record 467 feet — and 99 RBIs established new rookie records for the Cubs. The 6-foot-5 third baseman’s 5.9 WAR was eighth-best among position players in the NL and he had a .369 on-base average and a .488 slugging percentage. He helped the Cubs reach the postseason and earned a spot on the NL All-Star team.
Since his first full season with the Brewers in 2006, Fielder had played all 162 games four times and had never played fewer than 157 games before 2014 when his season was cut off in May due to a herniated neck disk that required surgery. In 2015, he picked right up where he left off, batting .307, with a .378 OBP and 98 RBIs, each of which ranked in the top 10 in the AL. Along the way, the 31-year-old slugger hit his 300th career home run and was named to the AL All-Star team.
Harvey, who started the 2013 All-Star Game for the NL, missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery, roared back to make 29 starts, going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 188 strikeouts over 189 1/3 regular season innings to help the Mets win the NL East.
It was also announced that Jose Altuve was the first-ever recipient of the “Always Game” award, presented by Majestic Athletic and given by the players to their peer who – game in and game out – exhibits grit, tenacity, perseverance and hustle; all for the benefit of his teammates and fans.
Altuve, the Astros’ 25-year-old catalyst, led the AL with 200 hits and 38 stolen bases, while batting .313 with a career-high 15 home runs and 40 doubles. Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins and Donaldson joined Altuve as finalists for this award.
The announcement program was on MLB Network for the fifth consecutive year and presented by MLB The Show™ and sponsored by Majestic Athletic.
The winners and finalists for each award were selected by players on Sept. 16 in league-wide balloting conducted under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
2015 Players Choice Awards Finalists and Winners (In Bold):
Outstanding Player: Nelson Cruz (Seattle), Josh Donaldson (Toronto), Mike Trout (LA Angels)
Outstanding Pitcher: Sonny Gray (Oakland), Dallas Keuchel (Houston), David Price (Toronto)
Outstanding Rookie: Carlos Correa (Houston), Francisco Lindor (Cleveland), Miguel Sano(Minnesota)
Comeback Player: Prince Fielder (Texas), Kendrys Morales (Kansas City), Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Player: Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies), Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona), Bryce Harper (Washington)
Outstanding Pitcher: Jake Arrieta (Chicago Cubs), Clayton Kershaw(LA Dodgers), Zack Greinke (LA Dodgers)
Outstanding Rookie: Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs), Matt Duffy (San Francisco), Jung Ho Kang(Pittsburgh)
Comeback Player: Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado), Matt Harvey (NY Mets), Joey Votto (Cincinnati)
Player of the Year: Josh Donaldson (Toronto), Zack Greinke (LA Dodgers), Bryce Harper (Washington)
Man of the Year: Dee Gordon (Miami), Adam Jones (Baltimore), David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)
Josh Donaldson @BringerOfRain20; Carlos Correa: @TeamCJCorrea; Prince Fielder; @RealPFielder28; Adam Jones: @SimplyAJ10; Dallas Keuchel: @kidkeuchy, and Jose Altuve: @JoseAltuve27
Kris Bryant: @KrisBryant_23 ; Bryce Harper: Bharper3407, and Matt Harvey: @MattHarvey33