Upton among D-backs' Aaron nominees

Upton among D-backs' Aaron nominees

PHOENIX -- When the season started you would easily have been able to predict two of the D-backs' three nominees for the Hank Aaron Award.

Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds were two of the club's better hitters, and their success this year was to be expected.

Catcher Miguel Montero, on the other hand, was always thought to have the potential as a hitter, but lacked the playing time to prove it. An injury to Chris Snyder in June gave Montero his chance and he has made the most of it.

And now Montero, along with Upton and Reynolds, is up for the Hank Aaron Award presented by Sharp. It is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league, with each club having three nominees. This is the seventh consecutive year that fans have had a voice in selecting the award winners.

Fans can vote through Sept. 15 to determine the club nominee, and then voting will be held Sept. 16-30 to select the winner in each league. The winners will be announced during the World Series.

Last year's winners were Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.

Upton is one of the game's most exciting young players. Drafted first overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft at the age of 18, Upton has been one of Arizona's most consistent performers this year. After a tough first couple of weeks of the season, Upton has battered National League pitching.

Upton hit .373 during May with a .709 slugging percentage that included eight doubles, four triples, seven homers and 21 RBIs and was named the NL's Player of the Month.

Reynolds gained attention last year when the third baseman led the league in strikeouts and errors. This year, he is still striking out at a high rate, but is near the top of the NL in homers and his defense has improved tremendously.

Reynolds twice has been named NL Player of the Week this year, for the week that ended June 14 and the one that ended Aug. 9.

Montero, meanwhile, has shown that he is the hitter Arizona thought he was, but his improvement behind the plate has caused the club to consider dealing Snyder during the offseason.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.