Corey Seager had the best offensive season of his career, and on Wednesday was named one of seven finalists for the National League Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best offensive player in each league.
In a truncated 2020 season, it’s only fitting that the finalist group is shorter than usual, too. In previous years, each team would nominate a player for the Aaron award, and a panel including Hank Aaron himself would decide the two winners.
This year, all 30 teams nominated one player for the award, then that group was pared down to seven in each league by writers from MLB.com. Here are the National League finalists:
- Freddie Freeman, Braves
- Dominic Smith, Mets
- Bryce Harper, Phillies
- Manny Machado, Padres
- Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
- Juan Soto, Nationals
The one-per-team limit adds a wrinkle, especially since one could argue that Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis Jr. belong in a top-seven list in the National League, but here we are. Each team nominated one player, and Seager was the Dodgers’ choice.
It was valid, even if splitting hairs:
- Seager: .307/.358/.585, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 38 runs, 152 OPS+, 151 wRC+ in 232 PA
- Betts: .292/.366/.562, 16 HR, 39 RBI, 47 runs, 149 OPS+, 149 wRC+ in 246 PA
Betts will have to console himself with being one of three finalists for the Players Choice NL Player of the Year, and a likely top-3 NL MVP finisher next month.
As for the Aaron Award, fans can vote for their favorite, the results of which will be considered in the panel, which includes Aaron, Eddie Murray, Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., and Robin Yount, Hall of Famers all. Fan voting lasts through Sunday.
The Hank Aaron Award started in 1999, and thus far the only Dodger to win it was Matt Kemp in 2011.