Saturday, November 27

2021 MLB Sporting News Awards: Ohtani Voted Best Player; Posey leads the Giants in strong performance

The 2021 MLB season featured a series of compelling stories, some expected, some expected, and some that took us by surprise. And those stories are reflected in the 2021 Sporting News MLB Awards.

Voting for Sporting News’ annual poll of players, managers and executives took place from September 3 to October 3 to select the MLB Player of the Year, as well as the best rookie, returning player and manager of each league. Meanwhile, the executives chose the top member of their peer group and also selected the annual Sporting News All-Stars in each league. As a general rule, in all categories, respondents cannot vote for members of their own team.

Sporting News has delivered MLB superlatives since 1936.

These are the recipients of the 2021 MLB awards from Sporting News.

MLB Player of the Year: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

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What remains to be said about Shohei Ohtani? He had an incredible and historic 2021 season, providing an elite production as a hitter and an elite performance as a pitcher. So it was an easy choice for his teammates to name him Sporting News MLB Player of the Year 2021.

FAGAN: “Beyond Unbelievable” – Shohei Ohtani’s teammates are just as amazed as everyone else

Ohtani was the overwhelming winner, receiving 56 percent of the vote in a poll of 184 MLB players. It’s really hard to argue with that: 46 home runs, 100 RBIs and more intentional walks than anyone else in the American League. Plus, a 3.18 ERA on the mound and 156 strikeouts in just over 130 innings. Add in your elite speed as a running back and the total package is basically unheard of in MLB history. He was worth 9 WAR, easily the most in MLB.

The comparisons to Babe Ruth should end now, because Ruth never had such a good season as the one we saw at Ohtani in 2021.

NL Rookie of the Year: Jonathan India, Reds

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Jonathan India’s strong rookie campaign for the Reds didn’t allow for much competition in the NL Rookie of the Year career, at least as far as his fellow players are concerned. India was easily voted Sporting News 2021 NL’s Rookie of the Year, receiving nearly 53 percent of the vote in a poll of its peers.

India’s 2021 season showed that he is becoming a complete offensive player. He hit 21 home runs and hit base with a .376 clip, which led all qualified MLB rookies, and his .835 OPS was the best among NL rookies with at least 300 plate appearances.

On defense, he led all NL second basemen with 269 blackouts and finished second in assists. It all added up to almost 4 wins over the replacement, leaving the Reds and their fans excited about the future of India.

AL Rookie of the Year: Adolis Garcia, Rangers

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Adolis Garcia proved in 2021 that even older men can make a big impact as rookies. After cups of coffee with the Cardinals and Rangers, Garcia, 28, burst onto the scene for Texas in 2021 and earned an All-Star nod with a first-half power surge that drove in an unexpected 31 home runs. . season. That demonstration led to a Player of the Week award in April and Rookie of the Month award in May.

He also led his American League teammates to vote him as the 2021 Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year. Garcia garnered a plurality of nearly 38 percent of the vote to easily take the honor.

But it wasn’t just an offensive threat. His 16 field assists were tied for first in the American League, and his 16 defensive runs saved were the second most among all MLB outfielders. This means he can beat him in multiple ways, something his fellow American League players noted and respected, and may have to deal with for years to come.

NL Comeback Player of the Year: Buster Posey, Giants

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Buster Posey came back in more ways than one in 2021. He literally came back after opting out of the 2020 season amid COVID concerns, but he also came back from an unusually bad season in 2019 to post the kind of All-Star numbers that have defined most of his career.

That’s why his National League teammates voted him the 2021 Comeback Player of the Year for Sporting News NL. Posey received a plurality of 40 percent in a poll of 124 National League players, well ahead of the next in getting the most votes.

Posey saw dramatic offensive increases during his last full season, hitting .304, an on-base percentage of .390 and an OPS of .889. He was worth nearly 5 wins over replacement, according to Fangraphs, despite playing in just 113 games, and was one of the main reasons the Giants rallied all season and led baseball with 107 wins.

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Trey Mancini, Orioles

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There were several American League players who had good seasons back in 2021, but none were as inspiring as Trey Mancini’s. After missing the 2020 season while battling cancer. Mancini came back healthy and was once again part of the Orioles’ daily lineup. That alone is quite remarkable, but coming back as a productive player takes Mancini’s story to the next level.

That’s why he was the fugitive winner of Sporting News AL 2021’s Comeback Player of the Year, receiving more than 66 percent of the vote in a poll from his peers. Mancini hit 21 home runs and drove in 71 runs for the Orioles, but the results were almost secondary. Just beating cancer and returning to a major league field was a victory that was bigger than any statistic.

NL Manager of the Year: Gabe Kapler, Giants

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Hardly anyone saw the Giants arrive in 2021, but big credit for their 107 wins, a club record, should go to manager Gabe Kapler. His fellow NL managers agreed, as they voted him the runaway winner of the 2021 Sporting News NL Manager of the Year. Kapler received a whopping 86 percent of the vote in a poll of his teammates.

Kapler has never been a traditional manager. And with the help of a forward-thinking and dynamic front office, led by Sporting News Executive of the Year Farhan Zaidi, he assembled a decidedly non-traditional coaching staff who, while having little experience in the dugout, has many methods based In data and new ways of doing things.

Combine all of that with Kapler’s ability to communicate with his players and you have a recipe that made the Giants contenders again and has given the Bay Area a new baseball heartbeat.

AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash, Rays

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Rays manager Kevin Cash continued to do his thing in Tampa Bay in 2021, leading the team to a franchise record of 100 wins, a second straight division title and a third straight postseason appearance. The Rays have become the East class of the American League and Cash has become a clear favorite among his American League teammates.

For the third consecutive season, Cash’s teammates from the American League voted him Sporting News AL’s Manager of the Year, naming him in 75 percent of the votes cast. Cash is only the second coach to win the award in three consecutive seasons.

Like Kapler in San Francisco, Cash has built a reputation for unconventional data-driven approaches. But also like Kapler, it’s hard to argue with the results. And there is no reason to think that Cash and the Rays will never again be in the middle of the pursuit of the American League playoffs in 2022.

MLB Executive of the Year: Farhan Zaidi, Giants

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Success usually starts at the top, and that was certainly the case for the Giants in 2021. San Francisco set the pace for all of baseball for most of the season and finished with more wins than any other team. And much of the credit for that goes to President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi. His fellow executives agreed, as they voted him the Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year. And the vote was not closed: Zaidi was named in more than 56 percent of the ballots cast.

Working with Sporting News NL Manager of the Year Gabe Kapler, Zaidi put together a roster and coaching staff that perhaps didn’t seem elite on paper, but he proved the naysayers wrong with 107 wins and the team’s top spot in the playoffs since 2016.

Coming Friday: The 2021 Sporting News MLB All-Stars, as selected by a panel of executives.

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