November 12, 2012 by Matt Musico
This is the week most baseball fans have been waiting for since the Giants clinched their second World Series title in the last three seasons. Yes, the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers start on Thursday, but I’m talking about the MLB Awards that have yet to be handed out. We got a taste of them last week with the Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers being announced, but now the biggest winners will be revealed. Rookies of the Year, MVPs, Cy Youngs, and Managers of the Year will be handed out this week, starting with announcing the AL and NL Rookies of the Year tonight on MLB Network. Even though I’m not good at predicting, I’m going to pick my winners below, and see how close I get by the end of the week.
AL Rookie of the Year (November 12th): Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
How could I not choose Mike Trout for this award? He didn’t get called up to the struggling Angels until May, and put them on his back for the rest of the year, trying to help them make it to the postseason, which they were unsuccessful in doing. In 139 games played and 559 at-bats, the 21-year-old rookie put together a .326/.399/.564 line with 30 homers, 83 RBI, while leading the league with 129 runs scored and 49 stolen bases. This is a no-brainer.
NL Rookie of the Year (November 12th): Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Although Todd Frazier and Wade Miley had fantastic years, what Harper did for the Nationals at the young age of 19 was amazing. He was called up to a Washington team that needed a little sizzle and spark to kick it into high gear, and that’s exactly what he did. In 139 games played and 533 at-bats, Harper hit .270/.340/.477 with 22 homers, 59 RBI, 98 runs, and 18 stolen bases. Then, you add in he hit 26 doubles and 9 triples, he was an all-around offensive threat for the NL-East winning Nationals.
AL Manager of the Year (November 13th): Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
This was a tough one for me, as Bob Melvin of the Oakland A’s had a fantastic year with a team that wasn’t supposed to do anything. In a division that was projected to be dominated by the Rangers and Angels, Melvin’s squad won the AL West title on the final day of the season. However, what Buck Showalter did with the Orioles in the AL East got him my vote. The O’s went 93-69, clinching one of the two AL Wild Card spots, then went on to beat Texas before losing in five games to the Yankees in the ALDS. The AL East is the toughest division in baseball, especially when you have the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox occupying spots there. For him to take a totally unproven team and whether the storm of that division, is incredibly impressive.
NL Manager of the Year (November 13th): Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals
Talk about another team coming out of nowhere to make the playoffs! In his first full season at the helm in D.C., the Nationals were expected to be the most competitive they’ve been since they moved to the Nation’s capital, but no one anticipated them running away with the NL East title. The Phillies and Marlins both underperformed, and they were able to hold off the Braves for the division title, while also sporting the best record in baseball, at 98-64. Their season ended sooner than they thought it would against the Cardinals in the NLDS, but it was Johnson’s leadership that helped thrust them into postseason contention this season.
AL Cy Young Award (November 14th): Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays
I know, relievers shouldn’t be winning the Cy Young award, but I’ve never seen a reliever do what Fernando Rodney did for the Rays in 2012. The 35-year-old closer went to his first-ever All-Star game this season, and has already won the AL Comeback Player of the Year and Delivery Man of the Year, but he should be getting plenty of consideration for this award, as he went 2-2 with a 0.60 ERA (a record for relievers), 48 saves in 50 chances, and 76 strikeouts in 74.2 innings pitched. He only allowed 5 earned runs all year! If he doesn’t win, he better be in the top-2.
NL Cy Young Award (November 14th): R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
Being a Mets fan, you had to know I was going here with this. However, I have a strong argument, as he either leads the NL or is second in the league in numerous categories. He throws the most unpredictable pitch in the history of the game, but only walked 54 hitters in a league-leading 233.2 innings pitched, while reaching the 20-win plateau for a fourth-place team. He struck out a league-high 230 batters this year, he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, and also led the league with 5 complete games and 3 shutouts. If he doesn’t win this award, I’ll be crushed.
AL MVP (November 15th): Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
This is a two-man race between Trout and Cabrera, but I believe Miggy will end up being victorious on Thursday evening when the announcement is made. Why? You can look at all the statistics; he’s the first Triple Crown winner since 1967 after compiling a .330/.393/.606 line to go along with his 44 homers and 139 RBI. He also struck out less than 100 times for the third year in a row, and helped the Tigers reach the ALCS this past season after they clinched the AL Central title for the second consecutive year. So, the stats are there, but they are for Trout as well. What’s the biggest difference? Without Cabrera on the Tigers, Detroit definitely doesn’t get to the post-season. If you erase Trout’s year, the Angels still don’t reach the playoffs. For that reason alone, Cabrera is by far the most valuable player in the American League.
NL MVP (November 15th): Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
This MVP-race definitely has more players in it to consider than the AL, but I still think this is a pretty easy decision. Finalists Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen had fantastic years, but with Posey and Yadier Molina helping their teams get to the postseason, the award should be given to one of these two backstops. Molina is the full package when it comes to offense and defense, but he’s also on a very solid team that has offensive powerhouses such as Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, and David Freese. Before they acquired Hunter Pence last July, the Giants’ main source of offense came from Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey. Once Cabrera got suspended for PEDs, it was just Posey, and he answered the bell while playing the most physically demanding position, in one of the worst hitter-friendly ballparks in the league. He hit .336/.408/.549 with 24 homers and 103 RBI, bringing in his first career batting title. The voting was done before the playoffs, but this is the second season Posey has finished, and the second World Series he’s won. After coming off an awful leg injury that prematurely ended his 2011 season, he came back to be the most important cog in Bruce Bochy‘s lineup.
So, I’ve told you what I think…who do you think will bring home some hardware this week?