On Thursday afternoon the Players Choice Award finalists were announced by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Jonathan India were among the players who were named as finalists for the various awards.
Jonathan India was named as one of the three finalists in the National League for the Outstanding Rookie Award. He, along with Dylan Carlson and Patrick Wisdom are up for the award this season. India feels like the frontrunner for all of the “rookie” awards that will be handed out this year. The second baseman hit .269/.376/.459 with 21 home runs, 34 doubles, 98 runs, 69 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 150 games played.
Dylan Carlson and Patrick Wisdom had fairly different seasons. Carlson played in 149 games for the Cardinals this season and hit .266/.343/.437 with 18 home runs, 79 runs scored, and 65 RBI. Wisdom only played in 106 games for the Cubs this season. Despite that he crushed 28 home runs while hitting .231/.305/.518. He also struck out 41% of the time he stepped to the plate – but those big daddy hacks paid off as the power outpaced the lack of contact during the season.
Joey Votto was named as one of the three finalists for the National League Comeback Player Award along with two San Francisco Giants – Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey. It’s not that Joey Votto was necessarily bad at the plate in 2019 and 2020, it’s just more so that he was not anywhere near the player he had been prior to that. He posted a 98 OPS+, just slightly below league average, in those two seasons combined. And in 2020, granted it was just 54 games, his OPS+ was 107 – above the league average. From 2007-2018 he posted a 155 OPS+ and was a perennial MVP candidate.
After two very down seasons, Votto bounced back in a big way in 2021. Despite missing nearly a month and playing in just 129 games he hit 36 home runs – the second most he’d ever had in a season, drove in 99, and hit .266/.375/.563. His OPS+ jumped up to 136.
As for his competition, they also had strong seasons. Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 season. In 2019 he hit just .257/.320/.368, good for an 83 OPS+. He returned in 2021 and played in 113 games, was a National League All-Star, and hit .304/.390/.499 with 18 home runs. His OPS jumped up to 140. As for Brandon Crawford, it’s tough to know exactly what he was coming back from. In 2020 he played in 54 of the 60 games and hit .256/.326/.465 – good for an OPS+ of 115. He was an above-average hitter last season. He was just a lot better this season, hitting .298/.373/.522 with a career best 24 home runs, 90 RBI, and 11 steals.
The winners will be announced on October 28th on the 6pm ET version of Sportscenter on ESPN.