Guerrero Jr., Semien both hope to cap brilliant seasons with AL MVP honour

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TORONTO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had one of the best offensive seasons in Blue Jays history, earning the Hank Aaron award as the American League's top offensive player.

Marcus Semien had a remarkable year with the Jays, setting a single-season record for home runs by a second basemen and winning a Gold Glove Award.

Both sluggers hope to cap their brilliant seasons by winning the American League MVP award.

Guerrero Jr., Semien and Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani are the three finalists for the award, to be announced Thursday evening.

The 22-year-old Guerrero had a .311 batting average with 111 runs batted in and 48 home runs, which was tied for first in the AL.

Signed last off-season on a one-year deal, Semien moved to second base -- a position he hadn't played with any regularity since the 2015 season with the Chicago White Sox -- and played every game for the Blue Jays, hitting .265 with 102 RBIs. His 45 home runs set a single-season record for a second baseman.

The MVP announcement comes a day after Semien officially became a free agent, declining Toronto's initial contract offer.

After a season that saw the Blue Jays finish one game short of the playoffs, an MVP award would be more accolades for the Jays. Robbie Ray won the Cy Young Award on Wednesday as the American League's best pitcher in 2021. Ray was named winner hours after he officially became a free agent.

Ohtani, meanwhile, hit .257 with 46 homers, 100 RBIs and a .965 OPS as the Angels' full-time designated hitter, while also going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts on the mound. It was his first full season in both roles -- he won Rookie of the Year in 2018 even after an elbow injury shut him down as a pitcher after 10 starts.

The MVP is determined by voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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