DETROIT -- Justin Upton is no longer with the Tigers, but he did more for the club than any other player while he was here. The All-Star outfielder, who was traded to the Angels with a month to go in the 2017 regular season, was voted Tiger of the Year by members of the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Upton is the first player to win the award without finishing the season with the team. BBWAA members have been voting for Tiger of the Year since 1965. He received 15 of 26 first-place votes. Nicholas Castellanos received seven first-place votes, with Michael Fulmer and Ian Kinsler receiving two each.
The fact that the Tiger of the Year was gone by year's end is a reflection of the team's midseason rebuilding. The last three winners were traded this year, including Justin Verlander (2016) and J.D. Martinez ('15).
For Upton, though, the award reflects the turnaround season he enjoyed after struggling for much of his first year in Detroit, and the work he put in to try to keep the Tigers in contention before the flurry of midsummer trades.
Upton batted .279 with 37 doubles, 28 home runs, 94 RBIs and a .904 OPS in 125 games with the Tigers before he was traded to the Angels on Aug. 31. Upton ended up leading the Tigers in all of those categories except RBIs, where he finished second to Castellanos (101).
Moreover, Upton's 5.2 Wins Above Replacement with Detroit was more than twice that of the next-highest finisher, Kinsler (2.1 WAR). Alex Avila, who was traded to the Cubs on July 31, was the only other Tigers player to top a 2.0 WAR.
Upton won an American League Silver Slugger Award this week and was a Gold Glove Award finalist. He'll receive a trophy for his Tiger of the Year at some point next season, likely when the Angels visit Comerica Park for a four-game series May 28-31.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.