Curtis Granderson, J.D. Martinez win top honors in 2018 Players Choice Awards
Fellow players vote Granderson Marvin Miller Man of the Year for unprecedented third time; Martinez named Player of the Year
LAS COLINAS, Texas, Nov. 27 – Players selected Curtis Granderson as Marvin Miller Man of the Year for an unprecedented third time and J.D. Martinez as Player of the Year in the 2018 Players Choice Awards.
In American League voting, players selected Mookie Betts as Outstanding Player, Blake Snell as Outstanding Pitcher, Miguel Andújar as Outstanding Rookie, and Michael Brantley as Comeback Player.
In balloting among National League players, Christian Yelich was voted Outstanding Player, Jacob deGrom Outstanding Pitcher, Ronald Acuña Jr. Outstanding Rookie and Matt Kemp Comeback Player.
The Players Choice Awards are held in high regard by players because the winners are selected in balloting among fellow players. Each season, voting is conducted in clubhouses in mid-September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
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. Paul Goldschmidt and Mike Trout placed second and third this season.
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.
“My work off the field is never about awards or accolades,” Granderson told a gathering via video at a private players reception during which the awards were announced. “Awards like this his help raise awareness for the causes, people and communities that I, my foundation and my family support each and every day.”
Over the past decade, Granderson’s Grand Kids Foundation 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.
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.
Martinez finished ahead of teammate Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich to win Player of the Year. After signing a five-year contract last offseason, Martinez helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series title. He compiled 5.9 fWAR while slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs and leading the majors with 130 RBIs and 358 total bases.
Splitting time between corner outfield positions and designated hitter, the 31-year-old South Florida native was also named to the second All-Star Game of his eight-year career. Martinez is also known as a tireless and selfless worker, willing to spend hours in the batting cage with teammates.
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.
Outstanding Player AL
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.
Outstanding Player NL
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
Brantley’s 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
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
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
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.