Semien, Ohtani claim top honors in Players Choice Awards
The award is given annually to the player "whose leadership most inspires others to higher levels of achievement." St. Louis Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller and Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer were finalists for the honor alongside Semien.
Semien appeared in all 162 games for the Blue Jays this season and hit a career-high 45 home runs. He's eligible for free agency this winter.
Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani was named both the Player of the Year and American League's Outstanding Player. He hit 46 home runs with a .965 OPS in 158 games while going 9-2 on the mound with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings.
Scherzer - who split time with the Washington Nationals and Dodgers - was named the NL's Outstanding Pitcher. It's the third time he's taken home a Players Choice Award. The veteran ace went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA overall, and he featured a 7-0 record with a microscopic 1.98 ERA in 11 starts down the stretch with L.A.
On the AL side, Blue Jays southpaw Robbie Ray took home the hardware. Ray went 13-7 with a career-best 2.84 ERA over 32 starts with Toronto.
Here are the rest of the awards:
|Outstanding Rookie||Ryan Mountcastle||Jonathan India|
|Comeback Player||Trey Mancini||Buster Posey|
Baltimore Orioles first baseman/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle set a franchise rookie record with 33 home runs, while teammate Trey Mancini made his return from cancer treatment to hit 21 homers in 147 games.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India burst onto the scene to hit .269/.376/.459 with 21 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 150 games. Prior to 2021, India didn't play above Double-A, in which he appeared in just 34 games in 2019.
Longtime San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey returned to the diamond after sitting out the 2020 campaign, and he put together his best season in years. The 34-year-old backstop hit .304 with 18 home runs in 113 games and helped guide the Giants to the NL West title.
Finally, the late Mark Belanger received the 2021 Curt Flood Award, which "commemorates Flood's historic judicial fight against baseball's reserve system, which paved the way for free agency in the 1970s." Belanger, who died in 1998, was a confidant of Marvin Miller during his 18-year MLB career and worked as a special assistant for the MLBPA after his playing days.