The Hank Aaron Award is presented each year to the best overall offensive player in each league. The honor was established in 1999 to mark the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time career home run record. The winners are determined by a combination of votes from a panel of Hall of Famers and a fan vote.
Here’s a breakdown of nine 2023 Hank Aaron Award nominees from each league:
Yordan Alvarez, Astros
After finishing third in AL MVP Award voting last year, the only reason Alvarez will likely finish below that in this year’s MVP balloting is because he lost nearly two months due to a right oblique injury. He still put up massive numbers, though, hitting .293/.407/.583 with 31 homers and 97 RBIs to help fuel Houston to another AL West title.
Yandy Díaz, Rays
For the second straight season, Díaz put up career numbers at the plate, becoming the first Rays player to win a batting title with his AL-leading .330 average. He also took his offensive performance to another level in the power department in 2023, slugging .522 with a career-high 35 doubles and 22 homers to help Tampa Bay reach the postseason for the fifth consecutive year.
Adolis García, Rangers
A key, if relatively unheralded, member of a powerful Rangers lineup this season, García put together a career year at the plate, setting personal bests in runs scored (108), homers (39), RBIs (107), walks (65), on-base percentage (.328) and slugging percentage (.508). He led a powerhouse Texas offense in homers and RBIs, earning his second career All-Star selection in the process.
Aaron Judge, Yankees
It’s not easy to follow Judge’s record-setting 2022 campaign -- when he set a new AL standard with 62 home runs -- even for Judge himself. But the 2022 AL MVP and Hank Aaron Award winner might very well have put up similar numbers had it not been for a right big toe injury that sidelined him for nearly two months. The superstar slugger still smashed 37 homers and posted a 1.019 OPS for a Yankees club ravaged by injury and underperformance in 2023.
Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Despite missing the final four weeks of the season due to an oblique injury and right elbow surgery, Ohtani had his finest offensive campaign in an already sensational two-way career. He led the Majors in slugging percentage (.654), OPS (1.066) and OPS+ (184), while also leading the AL in home runs (44), on-base percentage (.412) and total bases (325). He did all of that while posting a 3.14 ERA and a 31.5 percent strikeout rate over 23 starts on the mound.
Julio Rodríguez, Mariners
J-Rod got off to a slow start this season, but he had a resurgent second half to become the first player in AL/NL history to begin his career with back-to-back seasons of at least 25 homers and 25 steals. The 2022 AL Rookie of the Year joined the 30-30 club by launching 32 homers and swiping 37 bags in ‘23. He had an August for the ages, posting a 1.198 OPS and breaking the AL/NL record for hits in a four-game span, producing 17 from Aug. 16-19.
Corey Seager, Rangers
Seager enjoyed the most productive offensive campaign of his career, hitting .327 -- 82 points higher than in 2022 -- while slugging .623, leading the AL with 42 doubles and equaling his home run total from the previous year (33) in 32 fewer games. His 96 RBIs this season are 13 more than his total from ’22. Despite being sidelined with left hamstring and right thumb injuries, he led a prodigious Texas offense in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging. He also finished second only to Ohtani in the Majors with a 170 OPS+.
Marcus Semien, Rangers
Semien led the AL with 185 hits and 122 runs scored, and his 100 RBIs tied the AL record for runs driven in from the leadoff spot in the batting order. The 33-year-old second baseman also belted 29 home runs with an .826 OPS in his second All-Star season, helping anchor the Rangers’ lineup when key contributors like Seager and Josh Jung were hurt.
Kyle Tucker, Astros
With another outstanding season at the plate, Tucker has cemented his place among the game’s elite hitters. His 112 RBIs led the AL, and he belted 29 homers while setting career highs in walks (80), on-base percentage (.369) and steals (30). He was named an All-Star for the second consecutive season, and by leading the league in RBIs, he joined Lance Berkman (2002) and Jeff Bagwell (1994) as the only players in franchise history to do so.
Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
Acuña had an unprecedented season in AL/NL history, becoming the first player to hit 40 or more home runs (41) while stealing 70 or more bases (73). Not since the Reds’ Eric Davis in 1987 (37 homers, 50 steals) had we seen such a power-speed combination in a single season, and Acuña created a class of his own. He also led the Majors with 217 hits, 149 runs scored, a .416 on-base percentage and 383 total bases. He was the most dynamic offensive threat on one of the greatest offensive teams in MLB history.
Luis Arraez, Marlins
Arraez may not have finished close to a .400 batting average, but he got us thinking about that figure again with a throwback style of hitting that helped fuel the Marlins into the postseason. He finished with an MLB-leading .354 average and a career-high .862 OPS, eclipsing 200 hits for the first time and becoming the second player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to win the batting title in both leagues -- he joined DJ LeMahieu, who did so with the Rockies in 2016 and the Yankees in ’20.
Cody Bellinger, Cubs
We thought we may have seen the best of Bellinger after watching his decline at the plate from 2020-22. But he enjoyed a renaissance in his first season with the Cubs, smashing 26 homers and driving in 97 runs for Chicago while slashing .307/.356/.525. He also stole a career-high 20 bases. It was his best season since he won the 2019 NL MVP Award with the Dodgers, and it reignited hopes that Bellinger may yet have more productive seasons at the plate ahead.
Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Already one of the premier players in the game, both offensively and defensively, Betts had an incredible second half to vault himself into the NL MVP conversation with Acuña. Betts had his best offensive campaign since he was named AL MVP while with the Red Sox in 2018, posting a .307/.408/.579 slash line to go along with a career-high 39 homers, 107 RBIs and 126 runs scored.
Corbin Carroll, D-backs
While he cooled off somewhat after the All-Star break, Carroll’s name was floated as not only an NL Rookie of the Year Award frontrunner, but also a possible MVP candidate thanks to a sensational first half. He ended up becoming the first rookie in MLB history with at least 25 homers and 50 steals in a single season. He also produced an .868 OPS with a league-best 10 triples to help Arizona reach the postseason for the first time in six seasons.
Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
One of the most well-rounded hitters in baseball, Freeman had an historic season of his own. He became the first player in AL/NL history to have at least 57 doubles (59) and 20 steals (23) in the same season. He hit .331/.410/.567 -- achieving a slash line of .300/.400/.500 or better for the fourth time in five seasons -- with 29 homers, 102 RBIs and 131 runs scored. Along with Betts, the two formed a devastating duo for opposing pitchers, leading a powerful Dodgers lineup to another NL West title despite injuries to several key pitchers.
Bryce Harper, Phillies
For the second consecutive year, Harper’s season was abbreviated by injury. He didn’t make his season debut for the Phillies until May 2, and he did so as a first baseman because of offseason Tommy John surgery -- though his return was remarkably swift for such a procedure, just 160 days. He nevertheless turned in a performance befitting his stature as one of baseball’s elite hitters, finishing with a .900 OPS, 21 homers, 72 RBIs and 84 runs scored for the defending NL champions.
Matt Olson, Braves
Already established as one of the most feared sluggers in the Majors, Olson reached another echelon with his prodigious 2023 campaign. The Braves’ first baseman launched a franchise-record and MLB-leading 54 home runs, drove in an MLB-best 139 runs, scored 127 and had a .993 OPS to anchor the game’s most prolific lineup. He also led the NL with a .604 slugging percentage, earning his second career All-Star selection.
Juan Soto, Padres
He had a “subpar” 2022 season by his lofty standards, but Soto bounced back with a more Soto-like performance this year. He customarily led MLB with 132 walks while belting a career-best 35 home runs and driving in 109. He lifted his batting average by 39 points, to .275, and posted a .929 OPS. In a deeply disappointing season for the Padres, who had high expectations coming in, Soto’s resurgence was an important positive.