Handful of Braves are finalists for player-voted awards

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Some of the best awards in sports are the ones voted on by those who are directly involved. Heismans, league MVPs, Coach of the Year awards, and most prestigious awards in sports are all decided by a bunch of (generally) old members of the media that have never stepped on a field at the professional level. Thankfully, there are player-voted awards in every major professional sport, which many players appreciate more, and a handful of Braves have been named finalists for the 2022 Players Choice Awards.

Now, Spencer Strider and Michael Harris II likely have the best chance of bringing home one of these awards, but it’s nice to see Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley getting some love too. Riley almost had 40 homers and 40 doubles (38/39), narrowly missing the 40/40 mark to join Chipper Jones as the only player to accomplish that feat in franchise history. Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman are the other candidates for the NL Most Outstanding Player, and everyone expects Goldschmidt to win.

Brandon Donovan joins Strider and Harris as candidates for the best rookie in the National League. It should be Strider, but I do think it’s close. As a Braves fan, I think Harris is a more valuable piece of this team moving forward. However, what the hard-throwing righty did as a rookie cannot be overlooked — reaching 200 punchouts faster than any pitcher in history, breaking Randy Johnson‘s record.

Albert Pulojs and Brandon Drury join Acuna. The latter spent half of the 2021 season with the Mets and their Triple-A affiliate, then signed a minor league pact with the Reds. After making the Opening Day roster, Drury did nothing but mash, slashing .274/.335/.520 in 92 games before being traded to San Diego in early August. But this award is The Machine’s to lose. He rides off into the sunset of retirement with the fourth most homers in history behind Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron (Go Braves) and Babe Ruth. His .550 slugging percentage this season was his highest since 2010. It was a storybook ending (without the World Series), and his peers deeply admire him. He will and should win it.

Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire


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