The MLB Players Association announced the winners of the 2020 Players Choice Awards, with Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman taking home Player of the Year.
Freeman's 3.4 WAR were tied with Cleveland's Jose Ramirez for the highest across baseball, per FanGraphs. He finished with 13 home runs, 53 RBI and a .456 weighted on-base average. The four-time All-Star was a big reason Atlanta claimed its third straight National League East title.
Here are the full results for this year's awards.
2020 MLBPA Players Choice Winners
- Curt Flood Award: Andre Dawson
- Marvin Miller Man of the Year, Nelson Cruz, DH, Minnesota Twins
- Player of the Year: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
- AL Outstanding Player: Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
- NL Outstanding Player: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
- AL Outstanding Pitcher: Shane Bieber, SP, Cleveland Indians
- NL Outstanding Pitcher: Trevor Bauer, SP, Cincinnati Reds
- AL Outstanding Rookie: Kyle Lewis, CF, Seattle Mariners
- NL Outstanding Rookie: Jake Cronenworth, 2B, San Diego Padres
- AL Comeback Player: Carlos Carrasco, SP, Cleveland Indians
- NL Comeback Player: Daniel Bard, RP, Colorado Rockies
This was the first year the MLBPA handed out the Curt Flood Award.
Flood was a three-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner, but his lasting contribution to baseball was his legal fight to end the reserve clause. That was nullified in 1975, opening the door for free agency.
The MLBPA explained why Dawson's win honored Flood
"After spending his first 11 years playing for the Expos on artificial turf and aching knees, Dawson elected to become a free agent in November 1987 so that he could play on natural turf. But like other free agents who could without doubt improve another club, he received no contract offers. In March 1987, Dawson called the owners on their collusive activity and informed the Cubs that he would sign for whatever salary they offered. He agreed to a contract that paid him a base salary of $500,000 plus bonuses. Not only did Dawson reward the Cubs with an MVP season in 1987, but his effort to sign a free-agent contract helped the union prove their three grievance cases against the owners' collusion in the late 1980s that were later combined and settled for $280 million."
The rest of the prizes are straightforward and could provide some insight as to how the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young races will end.
If the AL Outstanding Player voting is any indication, the Chicago White Sox will be celebrating their first MVP since 1994, when Frank Thomas won for the second season in a row.
Jose Abreu was second in MLB in homers (19) and first in RBI (60). His .617 slugging percentage was also the best among qualified AL hitters.
Indians fans would be disappointed to see Ramirez lose to Abreu for AL MVP, but they'll almost certainly have a Shane Bieber triumph to serve as a consolation.
From start to finish, Bieber was the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He was the MLB leader in ERA (1.63), FIP (2.07), ERA+ (281) and strikeout rate (14.2 per nine innings), according to Baseball Reference.
Assuming Bieber is the pick, he'd be the fourth Indians pitcher to be named the Cy Young winner since 2007, along with Corey Kluber (twice), Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia.
The competition might have been tighter if Cleveland hadn't traded Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds in July 2019.
In 2018, Bauer may have collected a Cy Young were it not for a stress fracture that limited him to 27 starts. This year, an injury didn't get in the way. The right-hander was the NL ERA champion (1.73) and was only four strikeouts (100) short of tying Jacob deGrom for the league lead.
The Reds' Cy Young fortunes have stood in stark contrast to those of their in-state rivals. The franchise is still waiting for its first winner. It looks like that will change this offseason.