Winners of the Players Choice Awards were announced on Thursday and were headlined by some familiar faces, most notably by superstar center fielder Mike Trout. Trout, 28, was named both overall Player of the Year and American League Most Outstanding Player. It's the first time Trout has won overall Player of the Year and second time earning AL Most Outstanding Player. He last won the award in 2014.
Despite a right foot injury ending his season in early September, Trout put together a monster season, hitting .291 with a career-high 45 home runs and an eye-popping 1.083 OPS in just 470 at-bats. It was enough for him to edge out the other finalists -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon and Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich -- for Player of the Year honors.
Each year, the Players Choice Awards honor the outstanding player, rookie, pitcher and comeback player in each league, as well as the overall Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year, which are selected by players in both leagues.
Curtis Granderson was awarded the Marvin Miller Man of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time, also winning the award in 2009, '16 and '18. Marvin Miller, for whom the award is named, was the Major League Baseball Players Association’s first full-time executive director, from 1966 through '82, and guided its emergence as one of the country’s strongest and most cohesive labor unions.
Over the past decade, Granderson’s Grand Kids Foundation has introduced baseball to more than a million kids in underserved communities, supplied 17.5 million meals to families in need, brought fitness activities to dozens of cities and developed a multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art sports complex in his hometown of Chicago that serves over 10,000 kids annually.
The Players Choice Awards also honored the American and National Leagues' most outstanding players (Trout and Rendon), pitchers (Astros right-hander Justin Verlander and Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom), comeback players (Rangers designated hitter Hunter Pence and Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson) and rookies (Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez and Mets first baseman Pete Alonso).
Rendon set career highs in almost every offensive category, hitting .319 with 34 homers and driving in an MLB-leading 126 runs. In addition to his defensive prowess on the other side of the ball, Rendon's success has helped the Nationals make the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Verlander, one of the baseball's best pitchers for over a decade, continued to dominate on the mound, going 21-6 with 2.58 ERA. He held opponents to a .172 batting average. Verlander also reached two major milestones, surpassing 300 strikeouts in a season for the first time and reaching the 3,000 career-strikeout plateau.
deGrom followed up a historic 2018 season with another and finished the year 11-8 with a 2.43 ERA, an NL-leading 255 strikeouts and a career-high 11.3 K/9. It's the third consecutive season deGrom has finished with 239 or more strikeouts.
Pence resurrected his career after signing a Minor League deal with Texas that included an invitation to Spring Training. Pence not only made the team, but he looked like his former self as he helped anchor the Rangers’ lineup at designated hitter. The 13-year veteran hit .297 with 18 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .910 OPS, earning his first All-Star selection since 2014.
Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million deal with the Braves before the 2019 season and reminded people why he finished in the top 10 in the AL MVP voting from 2013-16. The third baseman slashed .259/.379/.521 and finished the season with 37 home runs in 155 games played, his highest totals in both since 2016.
Alvarez and Alonso both burst onto the scene with amazing displays of power and offensive prowess. Alvarez, 22, made his debut in June and slashed .313/.412./.655 with 27 home runs in 87 games
After being named a midseason All-Star and winning the Home Run Derby, Alonso, 24, finished the season with a Major League-most 53 homers. That broke the previous MLB rookie home run record and established a Mets single-season home run record.
The Players Choice Awards benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the collective charity created and administered by the players themselves. Each league winner will have $20,000 donated in his name by the Players Trust to the charity of his choice. The two overall winners receive $50,000 grants. Since 1992, the Players Trust has recognized the outstanding on and off-field performances of Players Choice Awards winners by contributing more than $5 million to charities around the world.