As the finalists are released, the choices are narrowed down. While some of the choices are extremely clear, some are simply a toss up.
Nonetheless, here are Golden Gate Sport’s official picks for the remaining awards:
N.L MVP: Buster Posey
Stuffing his personal trophy case with now two championship rings, a Rookie of the Year award in 2010, and a comeback player of the year award, Posey is seemingly just waiting to collect his MVP hardware.
Posey won the N.L batting title with a .336 mark, and also led the league in the main advanced stat, with an 8.0 WAR. Stats, however, cannot prove how valuable Posey was to the Giants in 2012.
As he rehabbed all of last year and well into Spring Training, nationals pundits and even Bruce Bochy himself did not expect him to play more then 110 games after suffering a devastating leg injury in May of 2011.
By appearing in 138 games, not only did Posey surpass all expectations, but he did so while playing at an MVP level, a rare combination for a catcher in specific. Catchers have to balance the pitching staff by studying opponents, they also have to sit in a squat thousands of times, and then, offense. Posey never broke down on any of those three facets.
Surprisingly, his best months of the season came during the second half. Usually, first half boomers crash back down to earth in the season’s final stretch due to the wear and tear on the body. Posey went against that trend, compiling a 1.102 OPS in the second half along with 14 home runs.
A.L MVP: Miguel Cabrera
Unlike the N.L, the A.L finalists could go either way. Cabrera and his historical triple crown season, however, poses a slight edge over rookie phenom Mike Trout.
Say what you want about Trout’s defense and speed on the base paths, both of which are incredible in their own regards, but Cabrera’s dominance with the bat overshadows Trout.
Plus, the Tigers made the playoffs and the Angels didn’t. Does this have any importance? You bet it does. It has been a long time since an MVP winner didn’t come from a winning squad, and that trend shouldn’t be broken. In Trout’s defense, he did send a surge of energy through a wilted Angels’ clubhouse when he arrived on the scene, but Cabrera prevailed in terms of team success.
Cabrera triple slashed for .330/.393/.606, totaled 44 home runs, and added 139 runs batted in. Defense wasn’t necessarily his strong point in his first year at the hot corner. His -10.0 UZR ranked last among qualified A.L third baseman, and his range was pretty limited as well, saving negative four runs. But again, his historical offensive output is what will win him the MVP, not his wobbly defense.
N.L Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw deserves the honor more than R.A. Dickey or Gio Gonzalez, the two other finalists. His worthiness probably won’t win him the award, though, as Dickey is the undeniable favorite.
The one department that might bury Kershaw, is the fact that he only had 14 wins. Granted, wins don’t say much, but it is still a popular stat amongst voters. Perhaps that trend will differ this year. A change towards more advanced metric would favor Kershaw, who led the N.L in WAR (5.5). Gonzalez finished just a tick below him with a 5.4 mark, while Dickey finished nearly a full point lower with a 4.6 WAR.
Kershaw also led the N.L in ERA with a 2.53 total, and finished fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (9.05). So statistically, Kershaw has the edge in certain categories, while Dickey boasts the edge in the more basic stats.
The southpaw probably won’t repeat, but he certainly deserves the award regardless of where the dominos fall.
A.L Cy Young: Justin Verlander
David Price of the Rays also has a very worthy case, but Verlander should repeat as the A.L Cy Young winner. He finished the season with 17 wins, a 2.64 ERA, and a major league leading WAR of 6.8.
Similar to Kershaw in the National League, Verlander did not merely have as a season as he posted last year, yet, it still ranks as the best in the American League. Price finished with 20 wins and a slightly lower ERA of 2.56. Verlander, however, logged nearly 30 more innings than Price, a trait of a true ace.
While the success of a player’s team doesn’t have as much value compared to the MVP award, Verlander simply stole the attention from Price. The Tigers stormed back in the A.L Central, while the Rays quickly watched their playoff hopes diminish. The voters were locked in on Verlander, and he came up big in some of the Tigers’s biggest games.
N.L Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper
We come across another close call. In this specific case, Harper, Wade Miley, and Todd Fraizer round out a group of worthy candidates. While Miley was the N.L’s best rookie pitcher by a substantial margin, and Fraizer did an excellent job of filling in for Joey Votto for an extensive amount of time, Harper deserves the nod as the Rookie of the Year.
With a 4.9 mark, Harper compiled the highest WAR amongst all rookies. The youngster also provided some pop with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs. He did it with the glove as well, posting the second highest UZR (9.9) amongst rookies.
As for the intangibles, Harper impacted the Nationals similar to Mike Trout. He was simply a spark of new energy, and filled a hole in the process. In a sense, the Nationals followed his lead—hustle, hustle, hustle. The end results was a playoff berth, to no surprise.
A.L Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout
Is there any explaining that needs to be done to support this worldwide pick? No. This pick is that simple.
However, Yoenis Cespedes also deserves come recognition. The powerful hitter finished with the second highest WAR in the A.L with a 3.1 mark, but that’s a mere fraction of Trout’s major league leading 10.0 WAR.
But back to Trout. You already know his WAR, but he also hit 30 home runs and stole 49 bases while hitting at a clip of .326, falling just short of the batting title.
N.L Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson
Out of all the picks above, this is in the running for the toughest to decipher. But Davey Johnson should win given the rapid turnaround that he orchestrated with the Nationals. A turnaround might be too petty of a description considering that Washington finished with the best record in baseball (98-64).
Of course, Johnson had an improved team. Mike Rizzo deserves a chunk of credit as well. But it was the specific way that he managed his roster that should earn him the honor.
A.L Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin
You might as well flip a coin to determine the A.L manager of the year, as both Melvin and Showalter are more than deserving.
Melvin’s performance with the A’s, though, edges out Showalter’s with the Orioles because the A’s finished with the second best record in the A.L, while the Orioles made the playoffs through the second wild card spot. Though both bit the dust in the first round.
But Melvin dealt with multiple injuries to his pitching staff, had to juggle around rookies galore, and still finished with a top record.
Topics: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Bob Melvin, Boston Red Sox, Buster Posey, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Josh Hamilton, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, MLB, MLB Free Agency 2012, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals