It's not often you see a player claimed off waivers go on to have a season like Scooter Gennett's 2017. The second baseman posted career highs in just about every offensive category, but it's one game in particular that will go down in history.
On June 6, Gennett became the 17th player to hit four home runs in a single game. For that achievement, Gennett netted a nomination for Best Performance.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: Media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members.
The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American League and National League from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Voting led off with seven categories on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that unveiled nominees for: Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment following the Fall Classic's final out. The ninth inning of voting began around BBWAA Awards week, which opened when the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners were unveiled Monday, Nov. 13. Voting in the Best Executive, Best Rookie, Best Manager and Best Pitcher categories went live earlier this week, preceding balloting in the Best Major Leaguer category.
MLB Awards season will culminate Friday, Nov. 17, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET. Here's a look at Cincinnati's nominees:
Best Major Leaguer: During an impressive 2017 season, Votto played all 162 games and led the National League with a .454 on-base percentage, 1.032 OPS, 168 OPS+, 134 walks and 20 intentional walks. That's on top of his impressive .320 batting average, 36 home runs, 34 doubles and 100 RBIs.
Best Performance: Gennett began his historic performance not with a homer, but with a bloop single in the first inning. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder went deep the next four times he reached the plate, tying a franchise record with 10 RBIs. All he could do was laugh as he rounded the bases in his final at-bat.
"I kind of laughed, to be honest. It's just crazy," Gennett said after the game. "For a guy like me to have done it, it's amazing. It's maybe a little bit short of a miracle. Baseball is an amazing game. You can go from 0-for-19 to four home runs in a game. It's pretty wild."
Best Player-Fan Interaction: Votto remains one of the best hitters in baseball, but his connection with a young fan is a reminder he's also one of the game's good people. Votto made multiple stops to high-five and give a game-used bat and jersey to Walter "Superbubz" Herbert, who sadly passed away in October.
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.