Altuve, Granderson win top Players Choice Awards
Players selected Jose Altuve as the season’s best player and Curtis Granderson as the one who most inspires them in their 25th Players Choice Awards.
Altuve won 2016 Players Choice Awards as both the AL Outstanding Player and the overall Player of the Year while Granderson 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 Wednesday night (Nov. 9) during an 90-minute broadcast on MLB Network and presented by MLB The Show.
Daniel Murphy, who became one of the game’s top offensive forces in his first season with the Nationals, earned NL Outstanding Player honors while Kyle Hendricks and Rick Porcello were named the Outstanding Pitchers in their respective leagues. The top rookies were pitcher Michael Fulmer in the AL and shortstop Corey Seager in the NL, and the Comeback Players were Jose Fernandez, who died in a tragic boating accident in September, and Mark Trumbo.
The Players Choice Awards, in which the players recognize each other’s excellence on and off the field, have been presented by the 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.
It was the second time players have honored Granderson with their prestigious Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, which is named in honor of the Players Association’s first executive director and given to the player who most inspires his fellow players through his on-field performances and contributions to his community. He won the Marvin Miller award in 2009.
“To be mentioned with someone who put players in position to go out and play this great game of baseball, bargaining for players’ rights so we could go out there and have fun. This is the 50th year of the Players Association and 25th year of the awards. It’s an honor and a privilege.”
Through his Grand Kids Foundation, Granderson inspires and encourages positive youth development via education, physical fitness and nutrition - providing tools and resources for educational and societal advancement. Granderson hosts a number of annual events including Grand-Giving fundraiser in support of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, spring training and winter youth clinics and creative writing competitions for students. The 35-year-old Illinois native also serves his fellow players as one of their top elected union representatives.
Altuve, a 5-foot-6 second baseman from Venezuela who has made the All-Star team in four of his five full seasons with the Astros, batted .338 to win his second AL batting title in three years and reached career highs with 24 home runs, a .396 on-base percentage and .531 slugging percentage. The 26-year-old also led the AL in hits (216) for the third straight season.
“It was an honor to be voted as the best player this year,” Altuve said. “I want to keep going and keep proving I can play and keep working hard.”
As winner of both overall and league Players Choice Awards, Altuve will receive $70,000 in grants from the Players Trust to give to charities of his choosing.
“It’s a lot of money,” he said. “I’m really happy to get that money and give it back to the community. We’re going to be sure to do something really good to help people who really need it.”
Murphy, 31, a career .288 hitter who hadn’t previously hit more than 14 homers in a season, picked up during the 2016 where he left off in the 2015 postseason with the Mets, batting a second-in-the-majors .347 with 25 home runs, 104 RBIs and an NL-leading 47 doubles. He led the NL with a .985 OPS and a .595 slugging percentage.
The 27-year-old Porcello, a 6-foot-5 right-hander from New Jersey, who led the majors with 22 wins and a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio with the Red Sox, lost just four games while posting a 3.15 ERA over 33 starts and 223 innings for the Red Sox.
Hendricks, a 26-year-old right-hander who relies on command, led the majors with a 2.13 ERA while going 16-8 for the Cubs over 30 starts and 190 innings. He struck out 170 and walked just 44 batters in the process.
Fulmer, an Oklahoman who turned 23 during Spring Training, was 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA over 26 starts and 159 innings for the Tigers with 132 strikeouts and 42 walks. Called up by the Tigers at the end of April, he won seven of his first eight decisions and was 9-2 by the All-Star break.
Seager, a 22-year-old from North Carolina, made the NL All-Star team in his first year and finished the regular season batting .308 with 26 home runs, 72 RBIs, 105 runs and 40 doubles for the NL West-champion Dodgers. His 6.1 offensive WAR was second in the NL.
Fernandez won the Players Choice Award as the NL’s outstanding rookie in 2013 but was limited to 116 innings total in 2014 and 2015 before coming back to form this season with a 16-8 record and 2.86 ERA over 182.1 innings for the Marlins. The Cuban-born pitcher was only 24 on Sept. 28 when the boat in which he was riding crashed into a jetty off the coast of Miami.
Trumbo, 30, came off a pretty good year with the Mariners (22 home runs, 64 RBIs) to have a great year after signing with the Orioles. The slugger from Southern California led the majors with 47 home runs and placed sixth in the AL with 108 RBIs.
It was also announced that Altuve won his second consecutive “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.
The Awards program, co-hosted by Greg Amsinger, former Major Leaguer Cliff Floyd and Kelly Nash, was on MLB Network for the sixth 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. 20 in league-wide balloting conducted under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.