The 2012 MLB regular season has come to a rather dramatic close. Commissioner Bud Selig and fans were not left disappointed come game 162. Entering Wednesday’s games, only the Wild Card teams in the NL and both third seeds (Giants and Tigers) had been determined. The Reds and Nationals were still fighting for the top seed in the NL, while the A’s, Orioles, Rangers, and Yankees all fought to win their respective divisions and stay out of the Wild Card game. But now that the madness has subsided for the time being (except Oakland, keep partying, that was a memorable run), it’s time to put the season in perspective. Here are my predictions for the 2012 awards season.
NL MVP: C Buster Posey, Giants
2nd: OF Ryan Braun, Brewers
3rd: OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Other high vote getter: C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Posey was absolutely money all season. After missing most of last season due to a leg/ankle injury, Posey rebounded in a way nobody expected. He led all of baseball in average at .336, had 39 doubles, 24 home runs, and 103 RBIs. Braun’s power numbers and RBI totals are higher, but what puts Posey over the edge is his position. Posey threw out 30 percent of would-be base-stealers, a very good total for catchers. Posey also committed only ten errors all season, good for a .991 fielding percentage. The rigors of catching, handling a pitching staff as good as the Giants’ is, all while leading the league in hitting puts Posey on top.
AL MVP: 3B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2nd: OF Mike Trout, Angels
3rd: 3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Other high vote getter: OF Josh Hamilton, Rangers
The Triple Crown won it for Cabrera. Taking that title away, Trout has the MVP. Trout overall VALUE to his team was greater than Cabrera’s. Don’t get me wrong, a 330 average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs is nothing to scoff at. But Trout’s ability to get things done defensively will garner first place votes (not to mention the .326 average, 30 homers, and 49 stolen bases). But the fact that Cabrera’s feat hasn’t been accomplished in 45 years (last won by Carl Yastrzemski in 1967), he gets the nod over Trout. MVP battles between these two should be great over the next five plus years.
NL Cy Young: SP R.A. Dickey, Mets
2nd: SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
3rd: CP Craig Kimbrel, Braves
Other high vote getters: SP Johnny Cueto, Reds, SP Gio Gonzalez, Nationals, and SP Kris Medlen, Braves
Dickey and Kershaw have been tremendous this season, but I think Dickey gets the nod here. Both players were on teams that struggled to score runs this season, but Dickey reached 20 wins compared to Kershaw’s 14. Dickey also led the NL with three shutouts and 230 strikeouts (Kershaw in at 22). Oh, and he ALSO revealed that he’s been pitching most of the year with a torn muscle in his abdomen. Dickey’s fairytale season and incredible story gives him the Cy Young over Kershaw’s slightly better numbers.
AL Cy Young: SP David Price, Rays
2nd: SP Justin Verlander, Tigers
3rd: CP Fernando Rodney, Rays
Other high vote getter: SP Jered Weaver, Angels, SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners, and SP Chris Sale, White Sox
Most people would go Verlander here, but there is no denying Price was even better than the great Verlander. Price led the Majors with a 2.53 ERA, had 205 strikeouts, and reached 20 wins. Price’s dominance also kept Tampa Bay in the playoff hunt until the near end of the season. Price will be in the hunt once again next year and has become one of the best in the game.
NL Rookie of the Year: C Willin Rosario, Rockies
2nd: SP Wade Miley, Diamondbacks
3rd: OF Bryce Harper, Nationals
Other high vote getters: OF Norichika Aoki, Brewers and 1B/3B Todd Frazier, Reds
The NL wonder kid falls to two rookies that flew under the national radar. Rosario cracked 28 home runs, 19 doubles, and 71 RBI in only 396 at-bats. That type of offensive production, while wasted by the team’s record, was crucial to a Rockies team that dealt with injury upon injury this year. Rosario showed he has massive pop, and will be a force to be reckoned with in the NL for years to come. Miley was great in his own right, putting up a 3.33 ERA to go with 16 wins. He was great for the Diamondbacks, and don’t expect him to regress next year like Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson did.
AL Rookie of the Year: Trout
2nd: OF Yoenis Cespedes, A’s
3rd: SP Chris Sale, White Sox
Other high vote getters: SP Yu Darvish, Rangers and 3B Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox
Trout is in the MVP discussion, enough said in terms of ROY status.
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Posey
See MVP discussion above for info on Posey’s stellar season coming off of a gruesome leg injury last year.
AL Comeback Player of the Year: OF/DH Adam Dunn, White Sox
Dunn put up one of the worst seasons EVER for a major leaguer last year after signing a big free agent deal with the Sox. He hit .159 last year, with a slugging percentage of just .277, almost half of his career mark. And he had just eleven home runs, the lowest total of his career (he hit 19 in just 66 games as a rookie in 2001). This year, the average was still low, but Dunn pounded out 41 home runs, the most he’s hit since he put up 46 in 2004. Like Posey, Dunn is a no-brainer here.
Stats obtained from baseball-reference.com