2012 MLB End of the Year Awards: Predictions

Thursday October 11th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:What a year it has been. With the extra Wild Card and a Triple Crown winner, there has been no shortage of excitement. As part of the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance), we are to vote for awards including the Hall of Fame, All Star Game, end of the year awards, and a baseball writer with quality writing and a strong internet presence.

In this segment, I will outline the various end of the season awards (with their announcement dates) and who I believe will win them. Some selections were very, very close.

October 15th: Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year): NL: Davey Johnson (Washington Nationals); AL: Bob Melvin (Oakland Athletics)

Johnson: This decision was a no-brainer. Johnson lead his young Nationals team to the first NL East title in Washington Nationals’ history with a 98-64 record—finishing four games better than the Braves—an early-season favorite for the title. Johnson and the Nats’ secured the number one seed in the playoffs and were the best team in baseball—winning 18 more games than in 2011. This was Johnson’s first full year with Washington and he made it a good one.

Melvin: This was one of the most remarkable stories in a very long time. The A’s were in the midst of rebuilding, trading away aces Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks. Oakland did not start off too well, having a mediocre first half, but really turned it on after the All Star Break. This was a tough decision because of Orioles manager Buck Showalter also putting up a strong case. The Orioles finished almost identically to the A’s with a 93-69 record (A’s finished at 94-68). In my opinion, Melvin had even less of a team to work with than Showalter, and still won one more game.

October 16th: Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year): NL: Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals); AL: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)

Harper: Harper, who many thought might not get called up until September, made the most of his first season in the majors. In his 139 games, Harper hit .270 with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs. The average is decent and the home runs are very good, but the RBI are a bit below average. This is due to the fact that he hit second for the majority of his season. These numbers are enough to win him the first of many awards he will receive as a stellar major leaguer in the future. Also of note: Todd Frazier (.270 average, 19 home runs, 67 RBIs) and Wade Miley (16-11, 3.33 ERA, 194.2 IP).

Trout: This is about as easy as it gets to predict. If Miguel Cabrera did not win the Triple Crown, Trout would be the odds-on favorite for the MVP. This was arguably the best rookie season of all-time as Trout hit .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RBIs, and 49 stolen bases. But that’s not it. Trout did this all in 139 games. Imagine if he had those extra 23! I can’t even begin to fathom what kind of talent Trout will possess in the coming years. Also of note: Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA, 191.1 IP).

October 17th: Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever): NL: Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves); AL: Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay Rays)

Kimbrel: Although Aroldis Chapman was the frontrunner for this award at the All-Star break, Kimbrel kept a consistent performance for the rest of the year and finished with a 3-1 record with a spectacular 1.01 ERA and 42 saves. Kimbrel built on his stellar performance from last year and remained almost a sure-thing out of the back-end of the Braves’ bullpen. Also of note: Chapman (5-5, 1.51, 38 SV, 122K!); Jonathan Papelbon (5-6, 2.44, 38 SV); Jason Motte (4-5, 2.75, 42 SV).

Rodney: Rodney was electric this year for the Rays, stepping in to fill the void left by the injured Kyle Farnsworth. He was by far the best closer in the American League with a ridiculous .60 ERA, a 2-2 record and 48 saves. This was a bit of a surprise coming from Rodney as he had only posted a sub-three ERA once (2005, 2.86). The Rays will most likely pick up his option for 2013 and hope for any performance close to that of this year. Also of note: Jim Johnson (2-1, 2.49, 51 SV); Rafael Soriano (2-1, 2.26, 42 SV).

October 18th: Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young): NL: R.A. Dickey(New York Mets); AL: Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)

Dickey: Another surprising season, Dickey was phenomenal. He reached 20 wins on the Mets—a team 14 games below .500, and had a 2.73 ERA. The knuckleballer went 20-6 in 233.2 innings and struck out 230. Dickey seemed to make the right adjustments this year and everything clicked. An all-around good guy, Dickey deserves this one. Also of note: Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89, 199.1 IP, 207 K); Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86, 211 IP, 143 K.

Verlander: Verlander will not get the MVP this year, but the Cy Young will be a nice consolation. He followed up his MVP season as best he could, going 17-8 in 238.1 innings while posting a 2.64 ERA to go along with 239 strikeouts. Being on a contender also helps his cause, but he will not need much of a boost to win this award. Jered Weaver was also in consideration, but his lack of strikeouts moved him down in my mind. Felix Hernandez was another option, but his 3.06 ERA did not stack up with Verlander’s 2.64. Also of note: Weaver (20-5, 2.81, 188.2 IP, 142 K); Hernandez (13-9, 3.06, 232.0 IP, 223 K).

October 19th: Stan Musial Award (Most Valuable Player): NL: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers); AL: Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)

Braun: This was the award I had the most trouble with. Braun eventually won in my mind due to his massive home run total (41), and .319 average to go with his 112 RBIs. The other possible MVPs were Buster Posey (.336, 24 HR, 103 RBIs), Yadier Molina (.315, 22 HR, 76 RBI), and Andrew McCutchen (.327, 31 HR, 96 RBIs). If Braun wins, it will be due to Molina and Posey splitting votes (both being catchers). In my opinion, if Braun does not win, the MVP will be Posey. He has carried the Giants throughout this season and has really turned it on since the All Star Break. Braun could lose some votes because of his PED scandal, but in the end, he will be the MVP.

Cabrera: If it wasn’t for Mike Trout, this would be the easiest decision of the year. Cabrera did it all, winning the Triple Crown, hitting .330 with 40 home runs and 139 RBIs. He has been Mr. Consistent playing in 161 games for the past two years. Cabrera took advantage the protection provided by offseason acquisition Prince Fielder and lead his team to the playoffs. The combination of Verlander and Cabrera is deadly. If he had not won the Triple Crown, it would have been a much tougher decision between Cabrera and Trout. If Josh Hamilton had not gone into a slump after the All-Star break, he would have been a bigger part of this conversation. Also of note: Hamilton (.285, 43 HR, 128 RBIs), and Trout (326, 30 HR, 83 RBIs).

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, Baseball Writer & Facebook Administrator.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***


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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

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