Outstanding Player candidates show wide range of skills, shapes and sizes
The finalists for the 2017 Players Choice Awards as the Outstanding Player in each league demonstrated again this season that impact players come in all shapes, sizes and playing styles and have a wide range of skills, from backhanding ground balls to driving doubles into the gaps to hitting towering home runs.
In the American League, the players selected Jose Altuve, Aaron Judge and Jose Ramirez, while in the National League, the top vote getters were Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and Giancarlo Stanton, so players placed high values on all facets of the game – speed, power, defense and instinct.
For the seventh consecutive year, Players Choice Award winners will be announced exclusively on MLB Network on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 8 - 9:30 pm ET.
The Players Choice Awards benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the collective charity created and administered by the players themselves. Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 .
The winners of the 2017 Players Choice Awards as Outstanding AL Player and Outstanding NL Player will receive $20,000 grants for the charity of their choice.
Jose Altuve led the AL in batting (.346), hits (204) and heart while earning his fifth All-Star Game berth in seven seasons. The 5-foot-6 Venezuelan also had 39 doubles, 81 RBIs, a .410 on-base average, stole 32 bases and played a stellar second base. Only Ty Cobb, Pete Rose and Hank Aaron had more hits than Altuve through their age-27 seasons.
Jose Ramirez, not that much taller than Altuve at 5-foot-9, exploded to lead the Indians to the best record in the AL this season, batting .318 with 29 homers, 83 RBIs and an MLB-leading 56 doubles. The switch-hitting 25-year-old third baseman from the Dominican Republic also scored 107 runs, stole 17 bases and made the AL All-Star team for the first time.
At 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds, Aaron Judge is the young giant of the group who took New York by storm with a monster rookie season, leading the league with 52 homers, 128 runs and 127 walks. The first baseman from Linden, Calif., also got on base a league-leading 286 times and hit a home run every 10.4 at-bats, leading the “rebuilding” Yankees to the ALCS.
The NL players showed how much they appreciate great defense and all-around play when they selected Nolan Arenado as one of the three finalists. The 26-year-old leader of the Rockies is widely considered the best defensive third baseman in the league and was nominated for his fifth straight Gold Glove Award this year. He also led the league with 46 doubles while batting a career-high .309 with 37 homers and 130 RBIs to help the Rockies reach the NL Wild Card.
Arenado was joined as a finalist in the category by teammate Charlie Blackmon, who at age 30 had a career year for the Rockies. The soft-spoken, 30-year-old center fielder from Texas won the batting title (.331) and also led the NL in runs (137), hits (213), triples (14) and total bases (387). His 104 RBIs from the leadoff spot also broke Darin Erstad's 17-year-old record.
Giancarlo Stanton, already a slugging star, had the best of his eight seasons, leading the majors with 59 homers and 132 RBIs. The 6-foot-6 right fielder from Southern California, still just 27, led the NL with a 6.5 WAR and .631 slugging percentage, as well, and earned his fourth NL All-Star berth.
Now in its 26th year, the Players Choice Awards annually honor the outstanding player, rookie, pitcher and comeback player in each league, as well as an overall Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards, which are selected by players in both leagues.
Balloting for the 2017 Players Choice Awards, which are being presented by MLB The Show and sponsored by Majestic Athletic, was conducted in all Major League clubhouses on Sept. 19, under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
The Players Trust raises funds and attention for issues affecting the needy and promotes community involvement, and it has recognized the outstanding on-field and off-field performances of Players Choice Awards winners by contributing more than $4 million to charities around the world. For additional information, please visit www.PlayersTrust.org