The MLBbro Player of the Year award is special to us here at MLBbro.com. In a game that has struggled to spotlight its elite Black players, each year the staff here will vote for one player to be recognized as the best Black baseball player on the planet.
Last season, Texas Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien beat out Cedric Mullins and Aaron Judge to take home the award after his historic season. Let’s take a look at this year’s top contenders so far.
When the Dodgers completed the blockbuster trade that landed Betts in Chavez Ravine, many fans wondered how the Rex Sox could allow one of the game’s best players to walk away. Now nearly three years removed from one of the dumbest trades in MLB history, it’s safe to say that Boston got fleeced.
After a brief slump to start the season, Mookie has been on point. As of Monday, the Dodgers right fielder has slashed .302/.381/.586 with a dramatic shift in his power numbers. Betts hit 23 home runs in 122 games last season, but has already put 16 into the seats this year – matching his entire total from the shortened 2020 season.
Whenever a player performs exceptionally well during the last year of his deal, the phrase “contract year” is often tossed around. But for Aaron Judge, this season has been more of a culmination than an outlier. A moment of truth in his career.
The two-time Silver Slugger is slashing .315/.385/.685 – good enough for a league-leading 1.070 OPS. Judge has smashed 22 homeruns while driving in 45 runs, and has been the catalyst for New York’s hot start. Aaron has lined himself up for a lucrative payday, and perhaps his first league MVP award.
This season has been a huge disappointment so far for the White Sox, but TA7 has been business as usual. Although his current groin injury has him sidelined for at least two more weeks, Anderson’s .354 batting average is good for third in the Bigs. With such emphasis being placed on putting the ball in the air, Anderson has been successful by just hitting the ball hard, wherever it is pitched.
There are some around the game who have attempted to use advanced stats (like his high batting average on balls in play) to predict a fall off for the young superstar. During his breakout year in 2019, TA’s BABIP was an outrageous .399. That average has remained high as Anderson continues to reach new heights, and this year it currently sits at .384
Jazz Chisholm Jr.
When the season began, no player was more electrifying than Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. Jazz came out the gates scorching and found himself atop the leaderboard in several slugging categories.
Jazz has cooled off a bit, but when you shoot out the gates like he did, cooling off still means you’re doing better than a vast majority of your counterparts. His .851 OPS is still top 25 in all of baseball, and the blue-haired bandit has hit 10 homers while swiping nine bags. If he stays on pace, the 20/20 club is more than attainable for Chisholm Jr.