The 2022 Hank Aaron Award finalists were announced by Major League Baseball on Monday, with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman among the eight in the National League. Both leagues have eight representatives for the final round of voting.
The award, given to the player voted as the most outstanding regular-season offensive performer from each league, was established in 1999, a quarter-century after Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record of 714.
Every team nominated one player to be voted on by a panel of MLB writers, who whittled the list down to the eventual 16 finalists from the 30 nominees. Fans can vote for the player they feel is most deserving through October 24.
The voting will be combined with fans and a panel of Hall of Famers that includes Ken Griffey Jr., Chipper Jones, Pedro Martínez, John Smoltz, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.
Joining Betts and Freeman representing the National League side of the nominees is Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado (Cardinals), Austin Riley (Braves), Pete Alonso (Mets), Manny Machado (Padres) and Kyle Schwarber (Phillies).
Betts had a career-high 35 home runs this season out of the leadoff spot and ended up tied for the NL lead with 117 runs scored. The 30-year-old finished in a tie for second place in the NL (Arenado) with a .533 slugging percentage and tallied 78 extra-base hits.
Freeman’s first season in Los Angeles was another solid year in the first baseman’s career. The 33-year-old earned at least a share of the NL lead in plate appearances (708), runs (117), hits (199), doubles (47) and OBP (.407). Freeman narrowly lost the NL batting title to the Mets’ Jeff McNeil, despite a .325 average.
Matt Kemp is the only Dodger to ever win the award when he brought home the prize back in 2011.
If you’ve got a little extra money, you could buy Vin Scully’s home that’s now for sale in Hidden Hills. I know, too soon.