Mullins chosen as finalist for Hank Aaron Award

Cedric Mullins couldn't ease into the offseason without receiving another honor for his breakout 2021 campaign.

Mullins is counted among seven nominees in the American League for the Hank Aaron Award, presented annually to the best offensive player.

The winner will be announced during the World Series.

Thumbnail image for Mullins-HR-Swing-Gray-Sidebar.jpgMullins is joined by the Angels' Shohei Ohtani, the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Yankees' Aaron Judge, the Athletics' Matt Olson, the Royals' Salvador Pérez and the Indians' José Ramírez.

The National League nominees are the Braves' Freddie Freeman, the Reds' Nick Castellanos, the Phillies' Bryce Harper, the Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr., the Giants' Brandon Crawford, the Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt and the Nationals' Juan Soto.

Major League Baseball established the award in 1999 to recognize the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record. It was the first major award introduced by MLB in more than 25 years.

Aaron passed away on Jan. 22 at 83.

The voting panel includes eight Hall of Fame players, with Chipper Jones, Pedro Martínez and John Smoltz joining holdovers Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. There's also a fan vote at that runs through Oct. 15.

The 30 clubs nominated one player for consideration and a panel of writers whittled the list down to seven in each league.

Ohtani is the first player ever nominated who also is a pitcher, and he's expected to be voted the league's Most Valuable Player, with Guerrero the runner-up. Ohtani batted .257/.372/.592 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 46 home runs and 100 RBIs in 155 games. Guerrero batted .311/.401/.601 with 29 doubles, one triple, 48 home runs, 111 RBIs and 123 runs scored in 161 games.

Mullins became the first player in Orioles history with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season and he was their lone All-Star. He slashed .291/.360/.518 with 37 doubles and five triples over 159 games and should appear on MVP ballots.

Freeman and the White Sox' José Abreu won the Hank Aaron Award in 2020.

For the first time in MLB history, Aaron's two former franchises, the Braves and Brewers, are meeting in Game 1 of the NL Division Series.

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