2011 Players Choice Awards

Last night was the 19th annual Players Choice Awards, which began in 1992. These awards are different from the Gold Glove or the Silver Slugger Awards, as they are voted on by the players of MLB. Every September, each player recieves a ballot on which they mark their pick for each category. The winners for each category–Oustanding Rookie, Oustanding Player, etc.–are announced in October. The winners are awarded with a grant, from the Players Trust–ranging anywhere from 20,000 dollars to 50,000, depending on the category won–that goes to the winners choice of charity. The players win the awards, and their favorite charity wins a good chunk of change. Everybody wins!

Below is a list of the AL and NL nominees and winners for each category. Please take the time to read through it–even if you watched the awards last night–as I’ve included my opinions as well as some facts that I found interesting:

OUTSTANDING ROOKIE AWARD

AL Nominees- Jeremy Hellickson, Eric Hosmer, and Mark Trumbo.

AL Winner- Mark Trumbo.

NL Nominees- Freddie Freeman, Vance Worely, and Craig Kimbrel.

NL Winner- Craig Kimbrel.

All three AL nominees, in my opinion, were closely ranked. Each had great rookie seasons, and it was anyone’s guess as to which player would win. But when it came down to it, Mark Trumbo beat out his competion–leading the AL Rookies in Home Runs and RBI’s. Although the NL rookies were also closely ranked, I had a pretty good idea that Craig Kimbrel would win. He set the record for the most saves ever in a rookie season.

OUTSTANDING PITCHER AWARD

AL Nominees- James Shields, Justin Verlander, and Jered Weaver.

AL Winner- Justin Verlander.

NL Nominees- Roy Halladay, Ian Kenedy, and Clayton Kershaw.

NL Winner- Clayton Kershaw.

You knew Justin Verlander was going to win the Oustanding Pitcher Award for the AL. There’s no way he couldn’t–as he had the most Win’s, Strike Out’s and best ERA of any AL Pitcher. Just like in the AL, I had a pretty good guess as to which NL Pitcher would win the Award. For me it came down to Roy Halladay and Clayton Kershaw. In the end, Kershaw won the award–as he had the most Wins and Strike Out’s of any pitcher in the NL.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

AL Nominees- Bartolo Colon, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Casey Kotchman.

AL Winner- Jacoby Ellsbury.

NL Nominees- Lance Berkman, Jose Reyes, and Ryan Vogelsong.

NL Winner- Lance Berkman.

I don’t want any nasty comments in response to what I’m about to say about Bartolo Colon–it’s only my opinion. I have no idea why Bartolo Colon is even on the Comeback Player of the Year nominee list. Every time he made a start for the Yankees he gave up several runs. To me, he shouldn’t of even been in the running. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll talk a little about the winner, Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, who only played in 18 games last season, is the most deserving AL player for this award. He’s already won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award this season. It all just goes to show how good of a year he had. The NL winner, Lance Berkman, is also a deserving player. He hit 31 home runs and recorded 94 RBI’s this season–after only hitting 14 home runs and getting 58 RBI’s last year. He really stepped up his game.

OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARD

AL Nominees- Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez, and Curtis Granderson.

AL Winner- Curtis Granderson.

NL Nominees- Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, and Justin Upton.

NL Winner- Matt Kemp.

All three AL nominees can hit with the best of ‘em, because, well, they are the best. They were all deserving of the award, but Curtis Granderson was awarded with the honor. Curtis had a great season, especially compared to last. He was a valuable player for the Yankees. What else can you say about Matt Kemp? He’s already won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award this year, and last night he added to the list by winning Oustanding Player Award. Considering the fact that he was one home run shy of a 40-40, I’d say he earned it.

MARVIN MILLER MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Nominees- Paul Konerko, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Young.

Winner- Michael Young.

Given for your on the field performance and off the field contributions to your community, the Man of the Year Award is one of the highest honors you can recieve. It means that your fellow players view you as a great person on and off the field. Michael Young is indeed that. Not only can he succeed on the field–ending the season tied with Andrian Gonzalez for most hits in the NL–but he can also achieve positive views for his involvement in the community.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Nominees- Adrian Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, and Justin Verlander.

Winner- Justin Verlander.

While Man of the Year Award is one of the highest honors you can recieve, Player of the Year is probably the highest honor. It means that your fellow players didn’t view you as the best hitter or the best pitcher, but as the best player in all of MLB, regardless of the league. Justin Verlander is the definition of that. He had a fantastic season and was pretty much a shoo-in to win the Award. I’m nearly 100 percent sure that he’ll win the AL Cy Young Award as well, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Remember at the beginning of this entry when I said that the winner of each award recieves a grant ranging anywhere from 20,000-50,000 dollars to donate to their favorite charity? Well, the big winner–as far as charity money goes–is Justin Verlander, who was awarded a 20,000 dollar grant for Outstanding Pitcher, and a 50,000 dollar grant for winning Player of the Year. Being the generally awesome person that he is, Verlander decided to add 30,000 dollars of his own money to the total, making it an even 100,000 dollars.

He decided to give 50,000 to the John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit, and 50,000 to the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Ann Arbor. Verlander partnered with both hospitals in his Verlander’s Victory for Veterans program during the season. Donating the use of his suite at Comerica Park to veterans and their families during each of his home starts this season.

Truly an amazing thing for the MLB 2K12 Cover Athlete–Justin Verlander–to do.

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