Vlad Jr. (2nd), Semien (3rd) fall short of MVP

November 19th, 2021

TORONTO -- and both put together seasons worthy of AL MVP consideration, but going up against the incredible rarity of Shohei Ohtani, the duo of Blue Jays’ stars finished second and third in voting on Thursday night.

Behind Ohtani’s unanimous AL MVP Award, Guerrero received 29 of 30 votes for second place, while Semien had plenty of support in third. Bo Bichette, Robbie Ray and Teoscar Hernández also received votes further down the ballot.

Guerrero, in particular, would have had a fine case for the honor in any other year, hitting .311 with an MLB-best 48 home runs and an AL-best 1.002 OPS. This season wasn’t just a breakout for the 22-year-old, but a grand announcement to the rest of baseball that Guerrero was one of the game’s finest talents. This had long been expected for the game’s No. 1 prospect, but as Guerrero battled his fitness through his first two professional seasons, his ceiling existed only in flickers and glimpses.

From the moment Guerrero arrived in Dunedin, Fla., for Spring Training, though, something was different. Guerrero had dropped weight over the offseason after running out of steam late in 2019 and ’20, and this change shifted the Dominican star back into the player we saw tearing through the Minor Leagues as a teenager.

Guerrero also embraced his move to first base in 2021, showing good hands around the bag and even dropping into the full splits a handful of times along the way. This surely won’t be the last MVP run for Guerrero, who also won the AL Hank Aaron Award and a Silver Slugger Award this season.

Semien, on the other hand, joined the Blue Jays on a one-year, $18 million deal last offseason that quickly became one of the best signings in franchise history.

With Bichette at shortstop, Semien slid over to second base, a position he hadn’t played regularly in years. The Gold Glove Award that Semien won last week would suggest that move went well.

A leader in the clubhouse who earned the respect of the entire Blue Jays roster and front office quickly, Semien put together a career year at the plate, regaining his 2019 form that also landed him third in AL MVP voting. Semien set a new AL/NL record for second basemen with 45 home runs, earning another trip to the All-Star Game and a Silver Slugger Award.

Semien, like AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, now enters free agency coming off a one-year deal that worked brilliantly for both sides. The Blue Jays will remain involved with each player as the offseason unfolds, and even after inking José Berríos to a seven-year, $131 million extension, there’s plenty of room to add one or more top-end players to this roster alongside Guerrero and the young core.