MLB Player Choice Awards 2021 Results: Winners and Twitter Reaction

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIOctober 28, 2021

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 01: Marcus Semien #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays swings in the first inning of their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 1, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Cole Burston/Getty Images

The 2021 Players Choice Award winners were released on Thursday, with Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien and Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani earning the top accolades.

Semien won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, given to the player "whose leadership most inspires others to higher levels of achievement."

Ohtani won the Player of the Year and American League Outstanding Player of the Year honors.

The Players Choice Awards, as the name implies, are voted on by MLB players. The lone exception is the Curt Flood Award, which is chosen by a panel of MLBPA executives. That honor was given to ex-MLB shortstop Mark Belanger.

Here's a look at the rest of the player picks, which were revealed during ESPN's SportsCenter and on MLBPA's Twitter account on Thursday.


Marvin Miller Man of the Year

Toronto Blue Jays 2B Marcus Semien (winner)

St. Louis Cardinals LHP Andrew Miller

Los Angeles Dodgers RHP Max Scherzer


Player of the Year

Los Angeles Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani (winner)

Toronto Blue Jays 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Philadelphia Phillies RF Bryce Harper


American League Outstanding Player of the Year

Los Angeles Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani (winner)

Toronto Blue Jays 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Kansas City Royals C Salvador Perez


National League Outstanding Player of the Year

Philadelphia Phillies RF Bryce Harper (winner)

Washington Nationals RF Juan Soto

San Diego Padres SS Fernando Tatis Jr.

Atlanta Braves 3B Austin Riley


Curt Flood Award

Former MLB SS Mark Belanger


American League Outstanding Pitcher

Toronto Blue Jays LHP Robbie Ray (winner)

New York Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole

Chicago White Sox RHP Lance Lynn


National League Outstanding Pitcher

Los Angeles Dodgers RHP Max Scherzer (winner)

Milwaukee Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes

Philadelphia Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler


American League Outstanding Rookie

Baltimore Orioles 1B Ryan Mountcastle (winner)

Tampa Bay Rays OF Randy Arozarena

Texas Rangers OF Adolis Garcia


National League Outstanding Rookie

Cincinnati Reds 2B Jonathan India (winner)

St. Louis Cardinals OF Dylan Carlson

Chicago Cubs 3B Patrick Wisdom


American League Comeback Player of the Year

Baltimore Orioles 1B Trey Mancini (winner)

Seattle Mariners RF Mitch Haniger

Baltimore Orioles CF Cedric Mullins


National League Comeback Player of the Year

San Francisco Giants C Buster Posey (winner)

San Francisco Giants SS Brandon Crawford

Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto


Award Notes

The Blue Jays signed Semien to a one-year deal last offseason, and all the middle infielder did in response was smack 45 home runs, knock in 102 runs and post a .873 OPS.

Off the field, Semien served as the Executive Subcommittee Alternate Association Player Representative.

"He has had the opportunity to provide guidance on and off the field for his fellow major leaguers," a description on mlbplayers.com stated.

"This season, Semien had his best statistical campaign, but also had the opportunity to mentor some of the league’s brightest young stars on the Toronto Blue Jays’ roster."

Semien also won the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) Heart and Hustle Award twice when he suited up for the Oakland Athletics. The award is given to the player who "best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball."

Ben Wagner of Sportsnet praised Semien for his work on and off the field:

Ben Wagner @benwag247

Marcus Semien authored a historic season and was a joy to get to chat with - from camp to the final day. One of the MANY things that became an absolute pleasure broadcasting the 2021 season. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlueJays</a> <a href="https://t.co/opCS7Efa5s">https://t.co/opCS7Efa5s</a>

Ohtani was a no-brainer pick for his two awards after establishing himself as the clear most valuable player in baseball thanks to his two-day dominance.

He had 46 home runs, 100 RBI, eight triples and a .965 OPS. On the mound, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA, striking out 156 batters in 130.1 innings.

Ohtani also won the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award:

MLB Stats @MLBStats

We've never seen a season like Shohei Ohtani had in 2021.<br><br>Ohtani has earned the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award. <a href="https://t.co/3z87k4gXWa">pic.twitter.com/3z87k4gXWa</a>

With the top OPS (1.044) in baseball, Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper won the NL Outstanding Player of the Year award. Harper also led MLB with 42 doubles and added 35 home runs, 84 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

Once deemed the most overrated player in baseball, Harper is now standing tall as one of the game's top hitters:

Philadelphia Phillies @Phillies

how it started how it’s going <a href="https://t.co/jEot8nPoCZ">pic.twitter.com/jEot8nPoCZ</a>

As noted by mlbplayers.com, the Curt Flood Award is given to "a former player, living or deceased, who in the image of Flood demonstrated a selfless, longtime devotion to the Players Association and advancement of players’ rights."

Belanger worked as an assistant to ex-MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr. The 18-year MLB veteran died of lung cancer at the age of 54 in 1998.


The late Mark Belanger, a longtime player advocate as an executive board member and the first former player hired to work for the union, is the 2021 recipient of the Curt Flood Award.<br><br>Presented by <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBTheShow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBTheShow</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PCA21?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PCA21</a> <a href="https://t.co/OzqASoCT4m">pic.twitter.com/OzqASoCT4m</a>

"Players who shared the field with Mark and those who have come along since owe a debt of gratitude to him," Fehr said in a statement after Belanger died, per Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports.

"He stood up for players’ rights in the early days of the MLBPA, and his clearsighted, unflinching leadership was instrumental during the 16 years he served the union after his retirement as a player. I will personally miss the wisdom and insight he provided on virtually every important decision the MLBPA has made over the past three decades."

He was also a great defensive shortstop, with Hall of Famer Rod Carew offering his praise in September:

Rod Carew @RodCarew_29

Mark Belanger who played for the Orioles. He always seemed to know where to position himself and had a great arm. I think he studied hitters to anticipate where they tended to go with a hit <a href="https://t.co/67qIMkeH6D">https://t.co/67qIMkeH6D</a>

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini was the clear choice for AL Comeback Player of the Year. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in April 2020 and underwent chemotherapy.


The definition of a fighter and an inspiration to many 💪 <br><br>MLB Players have chosen <a href="https://twitter.com/TreyMancini?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TreyMancini</a> as the 2021 AL Comeback Player! Congratulations, Trey 👏 A well-deserved honor.<br><br>Presented by <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBTheShow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBTheShow</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PCA21?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PCA21</a><a href="https://twitter.com/Orioles?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Orioles</a> <a href="https://t.co/EX9F7lCw9G">pic.twitter.com/EX9F7lCw9G</a>

Mancini's cancer is in remission, and he returned to the field in 2021 after missing the entire 2020 season. He proceeded to record 21 home runs, 71 RBI and 33 doubles with a .758 OPS.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey won the NL's version of the award after opting out of the 2020 season to care for his adopted, premature twin girls, per Chris Alvarez of KGO-TV. Posey talked about caring for them in a press conference with reporters last February.

Chris Alvarez @CAlvarezABC7

Really enjoyed this moment of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFGiants?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFGiants</a> catcher Buster Posey talking about his kids and "diaper throwing" training. (h/t <a href="https://twitter.com/JanieMcCAP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JanieMcCAP</a> ) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ABC7Now?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ABC7Now</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFGSpring?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFGSpring</a> <a href="https://t.co/UZI6KHA3es">pic.twitter.com/UZI6KHA3es</a>

He backstopped a 107-55 Giants team while hitting .304 (.889 OPS) with 18 home runs and 56 RBI.