AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout (Angels)
2012 Stats: 30 HR, 83 RBI, .326 AVG, 49 SB, 2012 age: 20
We've all seen that stat line way too many times. I know I have; I just typed it out without even checking. Anyway, there was no question who would win this one. In fact, there was no question it was going to be unanimous. Trout garnered all 28 first-place votes, blowing away the competition presented in the form of Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish. He's only been old enough to drink for a couple of months, and he is one of the most popular players in baseball. In just 139 games, he managed to lead the majors by a long shot in runs (129), leading second place Miguel Cabrera (109) by twenty. His defense was also incredible. Every day it looked like he was robbing someone of a home run. In the future of baseball, there may never be an easier choice.
NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper (Nationals)
2012 Stats: 22 HR, 59 RBI, .270 AVG, 18 SB, 2012 age: 19
In stark contrast to the AL race, Harper barely eeked out a victory over Wade Miley. Still, his 22 home runs were the second most by a rookie teenager and his 98 runs scored and nine triples paced the Nationals. He also finished just two stolen bases away from becoming the youngest 20-20 player ever. Like Trout, he provided a spark on defense, showing off his amazing arm out of center field. He finished off the season strong, hitting 10 home runs and batting .341 with 22 RBI and 31 runs scored over his final 34 games.
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin (A's)
2012 Stats: 94-68, .580 WPCT, 1st in AL West
The A's were not supposed to contend. Not this year, anyway. But they won a tough AL West. They did it under Billy Beane's engineering and Bob Melvin's guidance. Melvin won the award, but narrowly under Baltimore's Buck Showalter. Other than Showalter and Melvin, not a single first- or second-place vote was cast for any other manager. Melvin took 16 first-place votes and 12 second-place votes, while Showalter did exactly the opposite, taking 12 first-place votes and 16 second-place votes. Melvin deserved the award. He was given a lousy team that could only brag about a couple of players: Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon McCarthy, and maybe Jemile Weeks, but after that, it was all rookies and second stringers. Under Melvin's guidance, however, players such as Ryan Cook, Josh Reddick, Cespedes, Tommy Milone and Brandon Moss had breakout years to lead the unlikely A's squad passed the Angels and Rangers.
NL Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson (Nationals)
2012 Stats: 98-64, .605 WPCT, 1st in NL East
At the beginning of the year, Davey said that if the Nationals did not win the division, then he should be fired. Well, his job is safe. Ian Desmond, who was a vital part of the Nationals' run, credits his success to Johnson. The experienced manager led the Nationals up through a tough NL East and helped them win the division handily, by four games. He stuck by Mike Rizzo in the Strasburg Shutdown (which I still agree with), and handled the team like only a future Hall of Fame manager could.
AL Cy Young Award: David Price (Rays)
2012 Stats: 20-5, 2.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 205 K's in 211 innings, 2012 age: 26
David Price, who has already been dominant over the past few years, took everything to a new level in 2012. He set career bests in wins (20), ERA (2.56), and WHIP (1.10), and led the American League in wins and ERA. He was absolutely dominant at home, going 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, and a .189 BAA. MVP Miguel Cabrera and Rookie of the Year Mike Trout combined to go just 0-5 with 3 strikeouts against Price. His best games came on April 24, when he shut out the Angels, and July 19, when he tossed seven shutout innings of two hit ball against the Indians.
NL Cy Young Award: R.A. Dickey (Mets)
2012 Stats: 20-6, 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 230 K's in 233.2 innings, 2012 age: 37
Dickey, who has logged almost 300 games for eight different minor league teams since 1997, saw his rise out of nowhere come full circle in 2012 with a Cy Young Award. After surprising everyone with a 2.84 ERA in 2010 and another solid season in 2011, he became the first knuckleballer to win 20 games in a season since Joe Niekro in 1980 to win 20 games in a season. Though he did not face Ryan Braun or Buster Posey, he held NL Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper to a .214 average and six strikeouts over 14 at-bats.
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)
2012 Stats: 44 HR, 139 RBI, .330 AVG, 4 SB, 2012 age: 29
Historically, I have found players perform at their best during their age-29 seasons. Cabrera was no exception. Playing in all but one game, he set career bests in at bats (622), hits (205), home runs (44), RBI (139), and slugging percentage (.606) en route to baseball's first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. He was the first Tiger since Norm Cash in 1961 with 40 home runs and a .300 average, and the first since Hank Greenberg in 1940 to do it in a year in which the Tigers made the World Series. Cabrera held his own in the playoffs, hitting two home runs and knocking in eight runs over 13 playoff games, but ultimately struck out to end the World Series.
NL MVP: Buster Posey (Giants)
2012 Stats: 24 HR, 103 RBI, .336 AVG, 1 SB, 2012 age: 25
The MLB's youngest MVP (25 years, 233 days) since Dustin Pedroia in 2008 (25 years, 93 days), and the youngest to take the NL honor since Ryne Sandberg in 1984 (25 years, 60 days). Posey, who may not have had the offensive numbers to match up with Ryan Braun, was a crucial part of the San Francisco defense and handled the pitching staff like a veteran, helping the Giants to their second World Series championship in three years (coincidentally, both years that Buster Posey played a full season, the Giants won the World Series). He absolutely destroyed NL pitching in the second half, hitting 14 home runs, knocking in 60, and batting .385 over just 71 games. He also terrorized left-handed pitching, knocking them to a tune of 13 home runs and a .433 average in just 164 at bats, or roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of a regular full season.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage