The current number of young senior league stars may be the best we’ve seen so far – and here’s another reason for that. On Monday, Dominicans Juan Jose Soto and Fernando Tates Jr. were announced as two of the three finalists for the National League Player of the Year award, while their compatriot, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., was one of three finalists in the same honor for the youngsters. Circuit.
What do these three players have in common – other than going through exceptional campaigns in 2021?
They are all young. Too small. In fact, they were all under 23 when the regular season ended.
With that, the three came together to make something historic.
Top Three Finalists in the Under-23 Player of the Year
By making it to the finals, the three Gunners finished third in their respective leagues in voting for the Player of the Year award. This is the first time that three players under the age of 23 at the end of a regular season have finished in the top three in the vote for Player of the Year in the same year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
This, of course, in both tournaments. If we examine the two National League nominees, Soto and Tates are the first two 23-year-old duos to finish in the top three nominees in the same league in the same year.
Prior to 2021, only two years had two players under the age of 23 who finished the campaign in the top three of the voting between the two leagues – but both cases included a player from the National and one from America. In 1956 Hank Aaron (22) finished third in the English Premier League, Al Callen (21) finished third in Los Angeles In 1941, Pete Reiser (22) finished second in the Premier League, and Bob Feller (22 ) in third place in Los Angeles.
These were the only such couples before 2021 – and we haven’t even seen such a pair since 1956, 40 years before Soto, Tates and Guerrero were born. In fact, former baseball players Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Fernando Tatis Sr. were not even born.
Now, we have the first three under-23 nominees in the top three voting for the Player of the Year award, and the first two in the same league.
What place will they occupy according to their age?
Four players under the age of 22 at the end of the regular season won the MVP award: Stan Musical (1943), Johnny Bench (1970), Vida Blue (1971) and Bryce Harper (2015). Blue, who turned 22 in July of that season, was the youngest player in that group on the final day of the season.
Guerrero will be the second youngest player on that list. Tates will also be the second youngest – or third, if Guerrero wins, too. Soto will be fourth younger or fifth if Guerrero wins as well.
We told you a few years ago that this group of young players is destined to achieve historic things, and this is another of those accomplishments. The future is very bright. It is already a reality.