Players Choice Awards finalists for Outstanding Player combine power and athleticism
The Players Choice Awards finalists for Outstanding Player - Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout in the AL and Nolan Arrenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper in the NL - all have slightly different combinations of power and athleticism.
The two Outstanding Player awards will be announced during the hour-long 2015 Players Choice Awards show on MLB Network on Monday (Nov. 9) at 8 pm. ET. The program will be presented by MLB The Show™ and sponsored by Majestic Athletic.
The AL finalists were comprised of a veteran designated hitter, a third baseman and a center fielder.
Cruz, who led the majors with 40 homers for the Orioles in 2014, signed with the Mariners in the offseason and hit a career-high 44 homers to go along with 93 RBIs and a .302 average this season. The 34-year-old Dominican was third in the league in offensive WAR (6.0), slugging percentage (.566) and total bases (334) and made his fourth All-Star team.
Donaldson, a 29-year-old in just his third full season, batted .297 with 41 home runs and also led the league in runs (122), RBIs (123), total bases (352) and sacrifice flies (10) and led the big leagues with 20 game-winning RBIs to help Blue Jays win the AL East.
Only 23, Trout batted .299 with 41 homers and 90 RBIs and led the league in slugging percentage (.590), OPS (.991), WAR (9.4) and offensive WAR (8.9). He made the AL All-Star team for the fourth time in as many years in the majors. He's also one of the game's top center fielders.
Three more all-around athletes were the finalists for NL Outstanding Player.
Arrenado, 24, emerged as an all-around superstar in his third season with the Rockies, batting .287 with 42 homers, 43 doubles and 130 RBIs. He also led all third baseman with 385 assists and turned 42 double plays.
Harper, 22, had his break-out season for the Nationals in 2015, batting .330 with a league-leading 42 homers and 99 RBIs, and leading the majors in on-base average (.460), slugging percentage (.649), OPS (1.109) and WAR (9.9). He also had 38 doubles and 124 walks.
Goldschmidt, in his fifth season with the Diamondbacks, batted .321 with 33 homers, 110 RBIs, a 1.005 OPS and an 8.8 WAR. The slick-fielding, 27-year-old first baseman also had 38 doubles and stole 21 bases in 26 attempts.
The Players Choice Awards, in which the players recognize each other's excellence on and off the field, have been presented by the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1992, with the Players Trust providing more than $4 million in charitable grants to causes selected by the winning players.
Each of the Outstanding Player winners will receive a $20,000 grant from the Trust that will go to a charity or charities they select.
The winners and finalists for each award were selected by players on Sept. 16 in league-wide balloting conducted under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.