Since 1997, Major Leaguers have recognized the on and off-field achievements of their peers through the Players Choice Awards program. To date, the MLBPA charitable arm The Players Trust has recognized the outstanding performances of Players Choice Awards winners by contributing more than $4 million to charities around the world on behalf of each Award winner.
The Players Choice Awards are voted on uniquely by the active MLB Player membership.
Read official press release here
The 2020 Players Choice Awards Winners:
The Curt Flood Award: Andre Dawson
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Nelson Cruz
Player of the Year: Freddie Freeman
AL Outstanding Player: José Abreu
NL Outstanding Player: Freddie Freeman
AL Outstanding Pitcher: Shane Bieber
NL Outstanding Pitcher: Trevor Bauer
AL Outstanding Rookie: Kyle Lewis
NL Outstanding Rookie: Jake Cronenworth
AL Comeback Player: Carlos Carrasco
NL Comeback Player: Daniel Bard
PLAYERS CHOICE AWARDS VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENTS
As the only award voted on by the active Major League Players, we gave this year’s winners the opportunity to provide their unique perspective on why each winner was recognized for their achievements in 2020.
Inner strength, quiet dignity and leadership were traits that defined Andre “The Hawk” Dawson as a superstar player and leader in the clubhouse during a Hall-of-Fame career that spanned 21 years between 1976 and 1996. There were six work stoppages during that period, beginning with a 17-day spring training lockout in 1976 just several months after arbitrator Peter Seitz had struck down the reserve clause and begun the age of free agency in baseball. However, while Players had won free agency rights, they needed to fend off numerous attempts by owners to roll back those rights, including three off-seasons in the late 1980s during which owners joined together to subvert the market-based system for Players’ services they had negotiated with the union. After spending his first 11 years playing for the Expos on artificial turf and aching knees, Dawson elected to become a free agent in November 1987 so that he could play on natural turf. But like other free agents who could without doubt improve another club, he received no contract offers. In March 1987, Dawson called the owners on their collusive activity and informed the Cubs that he would sign for whatever salary they offered. He agreed to a contract that paid him a base salary of $500,000 plus bonuses. Not only did Dawson reward the Cubs with an MVP season in 1987, but his effort to sign a free-agent contract helped the union prove their three grievance cases against the owners’ collusion in the late 1980s that were later combined and settled for $280 million.
For more information on Curt Flood:
At age 40, Minnesota Twins DH Nelson Cruz remains an example to his fellow players with his commitment, energy and passion. Cruz started his Boomstick23 Foundation in 2016 to help people in his native Dominican Republic. He’s donated a fire engine and an ambulance and helped build a police station in his hometown of Las Matas De Santa Cruz, while giving time and money to expand access to health care. Cruz received the 2020 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award at the ESPYs in June.
Freddie Freeman excelled in both traditional and advanced metrics for the NL East champion Atlanta Braves. He ranked second to Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez with a 3.4 fWAR, and posted career bests in batting average (.341), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging (.640) while playing in all 60 games during the abbreviated season. Freeman recorded his 1,500th career hit with a Sept. 9 home run against Miami, and passed Andruw Jones and Eddie Mathews on the franchise’s career doubles list with a league-leading 23 two-baggers.
José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox entered some distinguished company this season, joining Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski and Lou Gehrig as the fourth player in American League history to lead the league in hits and RBIs. Abreu also became the first AL player to lead the league in RBIs in consecutive seasons since Boston’s David Ortiz did it in 2005-2006. Abreu ranked among the league’s top five in batting (.317), hits (76), homers (19), slugging (.617), OPS (.987), extra base hits (34) and total bases (148).
Trevor Bauer played a pivotal role in helping the Cincinnati Reds to their first postseason berth since 2013. He led the National League with a 1.73 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, 5.06 hits per nine innings and a .159 opponents’ batting average, while finishing second to Jacob deGrom with 100 strikeouts. Bauer became only the fifth pitcher in Reds’ franchise history to lead the NL in ERA and the first to accomplish the feat since Ed Heusser in 1944.
Shane Bieber was dominant from start to finish on the way to winning pitching’s “Triple Crown’’ for the Cleveland Indians. He led the majors with 122 strikeouts and a 1.63 ERA and tied the Cubs’ Yu Darvish for first in baseball with eight victories. Bieber became the first Indians pitcher to capture the AL Triple Crown since Bob Feller in 1940, and the first pitcher to lead the majors in all three categories since Minnesota’s Johan Santana captured the Triple Crown in 2006.
Jake Cronenworth, acquired by San Diego from Tampa Bay with Tommy Pham as part of a four-player trade in December, had an immediate impact with his new club. He hit .360 (9-for-25) in eight games at first base while filling in for the injured Eric Hosmer, then settled into a productive role as the Padres’ regular second baseman. Cronenworth led National League rookies with 26 runs, 22 extra base hits, 15 doubles and 82 total bases, and ranked second in hits, walks, RBIs and OPS.
Kyle Lewis, a former Golden Spikes Award winner at Mercer University, lived up to the promise that led the Seattle Mariners to select him with the 11th pick in MLB’s 2016 amateur draft. Lewis showed advanced maturity as Seattle’s everyday center fielder and No. 3 hitter in the batting order. He ranked first among major-league rookies with 37 runs and 34 walks and showed consistent power to all fields, launching 11 home runs in 58 games.
Daniel Bard, once a prime prospect with the Boston Red Sox, spent time with the Cubs, Rangers, Pirates, Cardinals and Mets before announcing his retirement from baseball in 2017 at age 32. Colorado signed him out of a tryout session in February, and Bard made his first big-league appearance in seven years with a scoreless outing in relief against Texas on July 25. He went on to post a 4-2 record with a 3.65 ERA and six saves for the Rockies, while featuring a fastball that averaged 97 mph on the radar gun.
Carlos Carrasco, aka “Cookie,’’ won the Roberto Clemente Award and inspired teammates, opponents and fans with his courageous fight against leukemia in 2019. This year he returned to the mound and was a major contributor in the Cleveland Indians’ playoff run. Carrasco logged a 3-4 record with a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts and passed Charles Nagy, CC Sabathia, Early Wynn and Bob Lemon to move into fourth place on the franchise’s career strikeout list with 1,305.