Guest Author - Joe Mancini
The off-season continues to move as we have arrived at “Awards Week”, every day this week the most significant individual awards will be made. Monday is the day for the Rookies of the Year Award, Tuesday will be Managers of the Year, Wednesday will be the Cy Young Awards, and Thursday will cap off with the Most Valuable Players. The Baseball Writers Association of America, comprised of 2 voters from each major league market, will be casting the votes that count. MLB Network will have specials every night to discuss and highlight the awards.
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (they really have to do something about that name) is considered a lock for American League Rookie of the Year. Despite missing almost the entire first month of the season, Trout put up ridiculous numbers such as a .326 batting average, a .399 on-base percentage, and a .564 slugging percentage. He hit with power, stole bases with abandon, and played gold-glove caliber outfield (although he did not win that award). Trout didn’t turn 21 until August 7 and he put up a historic season for a player his age.
The National League has three great candidates, corner-player Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds, lefty Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the inimitable rebel-with-a-cause, nineteen year-old Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. Harper as a number-one choice and as a teenager who made an immediate impact will get a lot of votes, but I think Frazier, who filled in several holes for the NL Central Champs will carry the award.
AL Manager of the Year has three great candidates: Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles, Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics, and Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox. All are worthy. If the White Sox had prevailed in the AL Central, Ventura would be the favorite, but as is, Buck likely to get the nod since he led the Orioles back to the post-season for the first time since 1997. It has been a long down cycle in Baltimore, and it’s great to see the Orioles rise again.
In the NL I think Davey Johnson of the Washington Nationals will win, although Dusty Baker of the Reds will get his share of votes. For the Nationals, 2012 was the kind of season on which they will build a vital fan-base.
For AL Cy Young it’s a crowded field, but it looks to me that one of two Tampa Bay Rays will win it. I’m going to go with starter David Price over reliever Fernando Rodney since Price led the AL in ERA at 2.56 and tied for the lead in wins (20), and 20 wins still has its attractions.
In the NL, I am picking R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets, a wonderful story of persistence and fortitude and who doesn’t love a knuckleballer who, at 37, still figures to have 10 or so years remaining? It will be some solace to the woebegone fans of the Metropolitans.
Now AL MVP, well Mike Trout was great but it is “Most Valuable” Player and that means a guy who plays on a winner gets the most consideration; plus winning the first Triple Crown since 1967 counts for something. So Miguel Cabrera it is.
In the NL it’s a more crowded field but I’m going with Buster Posey of the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. A great field-general and a great middle-of-the-order run producer, he will have additional hardware over his fireplace this winter.