Jones is Marvin Miller Man of Year; Greinke, Keuchel named Outstanding Pitchers
By Doug Miller
Josh Donaldson was in command in the batter's box and at third base all season in 2015, and he was in command at the annual Players Choice Awards on Monday evening.
Donaldson, who helped spur the Blue Jays' return to American League East prominence and get them within two victories of the World Series, walked away with the 2015 Player of the Year Award and the AL Outstanding Player honor. The awards, voted on by the honorees' Major League teammates and peers and presented by the MLB Players Association, were announced on MLB Network.
"For what it means and who votes on it, this is the award that means the most," Donaldson said. "It's very humbling. There are a lot of great players out there. Honestly, it's not something I looked to happen. Over the course of time, guys I play against know I'm out there to compete against them, and at the end of the day they respect that."
Donaldson, in his first season in Toronto after an offseason trade from Oakland, recorded a .297/.371/.568 slash line, with 41 home runs, 123 RBIs, 122 runs, 41 doubles and typically excellent defense at the hot corner.
Donaldson beat out Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Dodgers starter Zack Greinke for the overall honor, but Harper and Greinke were not without their own pieces of hardware.
Harper won National League Outstanding Player for his historic age-22 season. Harper, who already has won the prestigious Hank Aaron Award as best offensive player in the NL, led the Major Leagues in on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.649), OPS (1.109) and was second in runs scored (118). He batted .330, to finish second in that category in the NL behind Miami's Dee Gordon, hit 42 homers and drove in 99 runs.
Harper was named a Gold Glove finalist for the first time in his career on Thursday and is the favorite to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award when it is announced on Nov. 19.
"I'm definitely very fortunate to play this game, I love doing it, and to have the respect of the players, it's an honor," Harper said. "I couldn't have done it without the guys in our clubhouse. It's been a great year, and a lot of fun."
Greinke was stellar for the Dodgers, posting a Major League-low 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP while going 19-3 and striking out 200 batters in 222 2/3 innings. He, along with teammate -- and last year's Outstanding Player and NL Outstanding Pitcher -- Clayton Kershaw, was a driving force in getting Los Angeles another NL West title and postseason appearance.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year, a prestigious award that is given annually to the player who inspires others through his on-field performances and contributions to his community.
Earlier this season, Jones co-hosted a clinic for inner-city youth in West Baltimore following the unrest the city experienced in the spring. Jones also participated in events to benefit the YMCA of Central Maryland, the Boys & Girls Club of Baltimore and Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities.
"I'm more than humbled by the Players Association," Jones said. "An award like this isn't something you go out to win. This shows we're human outside of the game, and we try to impact where we can."
Keuchel became a 20-game winner for the first time in his career, finishing at 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA and 216 strikeouts in an AL-high 232 innings. Keuchel also had set an Astros record by going 15-0 at Minute Maid Park during the regular season.
"I definitely didn't expect to get this call," Keuchel said. "Just being in the category meant a lot to me. To be respected by your peers … you couldn't ask for anything more."
Correa, Keuchel's teammate, didn't debut in the Majors until June 7 and didn't turn 21 until late September, but he still hit 22 homers and finished with a robust OPS of .857.
Fielder bounced back from neck surgery that limited him to 42 games in 2014 by batting .305 with 23 homers, 98 RBIs and an OPS of .841.
"It's awesome," Fielder said. "I really appreciate the fact that the players award this, and it means a lot."
In the NL, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was named Outstanding Rookie and Mets starter Matt Harvey took home Comeback Player.
Bryant, 23, hit 26 homers, drove in 99 runs, scored 87 runs, and finished with a slash line of .275/.369/.488 for the young and exciting Cubs, who made it to the NL Championship Series.
"It's a huge honor for guys you play against day in day out, to vote for you," Bryant said. "My goal was just to play and help the team win, and I wound up being Rookie of the Year. It was a lot of fun."
Harvey was having fun again in 2015, too. He missed all of 2014 because of Tommy John surgery but came back strong in 2015, going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and struck out 188 batters in 189 1/3 innings for the surprising champions of the NL, the New York Mets.
"It's unbelievable," Harvey said. "I couldn't be more honored. The most important thing about this, [it] gives hope to young kids and other players coming back for injury. A huge honor. I can't thank my peers enough."
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve won the Majestic Athletic "Always Game" Award.
"That's something have to do every day … play hard for your team," Altuve said. "Fans want to see you playing hard every time. I thank God for the opportunity to be in the big leagues, and I never take advantage of it."
The Players Choice Awards debuted in 1992. They benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the charitable foundation created by and run by the players. Balloting was conducted in MLB clubhouses on Sept. 16 under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
2015 Players Choice Award winners
Player of the Year: Josh Donaldson (Blue Jays) Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Adam Jones (Orioles) Majestic Athletic Always Game Award: Jose Altuve (Astros)