Plenty of Kansas City Royals players overcame injuries to produce in 2017. None more than Mike Moustakas who just earned his second Comeback Player of the Year honor.
After a torn knee ligament ruined his 2016 season, Mike Moustakas came back with a vengeance the following season. His record-breaking 2017 campaign has now earned the Kansas City Royals third baseman two American League Comeback Player of the Year awards. He landed the second from the Players Choice Awards on Wednesday.
Moustakas beat out teammate Jason Vargas and resurgent Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak for the award. Had Smoak not tore things up in Toronto this year, it’s possible the Kansas City Royals would have produced all three finalists. Left-handed reliever Mike Minor exceeded any and all expectations after not pitching since 2014.
The Players Choice Comeback Player of the Year is considered the “official” winner, as far as MLB is concerned. But it’s safe to call Moustakas a consensus choice. On Oct. 24, The Sporting News announced he had earned their AL Comeback Player of the Year honor. Both awards are voted on by players from both leagues.
Here’s Moustakas discussing Wednesday’s award:
Along with the award, all Players Choice winners earn a minimum $20,000 donation to the charity of their choice. According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, Moustakas will donate the money to the charity of a former teammate:
After winning the World Series, Moustakas saw his 2016 campaign cut short. A collision with Alex Gordon ended his season in May. The resulting torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee ended his year. However, the injury occurred early enough in the year that Moustakas was fully healthy to begin this past season.
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He took full advantage. In a contract year, the left-handed hitter set the Kansas City Royals record with 38 home runs. His power numbers stick out the most. But Moustakas also set his career-high in RBI with 85. He also put up a decent batting average (.272) and personal-best slugging percentage (.521). His on-base percentage wasn’t great, but the .314 mark still ranks second-best in his career.
His performance helped Moustakas earn a second All-Star Game appearance with a win in the AL Final Vote. He also made it into the Home Run Derby, losing out to eventual runner-up Miguel Sano. Should this prove to be Moustakas’ final season with the Kansas City Royals, he sure made the most of it.
What do you think? Did Moustakas deserve the Comeback Player of the Year award? Should it have gone to Vargas or even Minor? Let us know your thoughts.