N.L. MVP: Ryan Braun (Brewers)
The 2011 National League MVP turned in a doozy of a repeat performance in 2012, seing a slight decline in his slash line stats, but hitting eight more home runs for a total of 41 dingers on the year, and the first +8 fWAR season of his career. It will be…interesting…to see if he suffers with the real voters because of his since thrown out failed drug test following last year’s award.
A.L. Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander (Tigers)
The Detroit ace turned in virtually an identical season to his 2011 MVP campaign, with the sole exception that his win total fell from 24 to 17. That’s no matter to our staff, as the best pitcher alive took home every first place vote but one, and he came in at second on that ballot.
How’s this for close: one measly point was all that stood between us and a three way tie for the N.L. Cy Young Award, with Clayton Kershaw just missing out on joining the Nationals’ ace and the Mets’ knuckleballer in laying claim to the prize. Gonzalez, he led the N.L. in FIP and finished in a virtual tie with Kershaw in fWAR, got the most first place votes of any of the candidates, but also failed to appear at all on one ballot (hold your fire, Keith Law didn’t get a vote) creating a tie at the top with Dickey, who led the senior circuit in strikeouts and innings pitched with a highly respectable 3.27 FIP of his own. There’s really no way to go wrong with any of these three aces.
A.L. Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout (Angels)
It’s kind of amazing that, in a field that includes Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish, there isn’t any contest at all. But that’s how good Trout was in his first full season in the majors, to the point that I almost think I should just declare him ineligible for the sake of fairness. In all seriousness, that Trout ran away and his with this award sort of obscures what an incredibly strong class of rookies the A.L. had this year, and the incredible role they played in shaping the outcome of the season. From Trout, to Cespedes, to Darvish, to Matt Moore, Jarrod Parker (and the entire Oakland rotation!) and Manny Machado, can anyone remember the last time this many rookies had such a big impact on the league standings?
N.L. Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper (Nationals):
The 19 year old phenom didn’t have nearly the impact his 20 year old American League counterpart did, but all things considered Harper still wowed in his big league debut, and was certainly a big part of the Nationals’ MLB best record. A .270/.344/.477 slash line and 4.8 fWAR from a teenager is incredibly impressive, and the youngster added above average fielding in center field to the mix as well. Perhaps most impressively of all, Harper posted a wRC+ of 184 from September 1st on, picking up his game the most down the stretch. In other words, he’s already a quality big league regular and then some, but this is likely just the beginning for Harper.
A.L. Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin (Oakland):
Joe Girardi edges out Buck Showalter for second place in our balloting, but Melvin secures every first place vote cast for the job he did with the surprising A’s this season. And unlike the Orioles, who more or less stayed in the hunt all season, the A’s were 37-42 and 13 games out of first on June 30th, but Melvin kept his young team from giving up on their season, and they responded by roaring back from that point on to finish 94-68 and secure the A.L. West championship with a sweep of Texas in the season’s final series. I generally think this award is silly and handed out without much logic behind it, but this is one instance where I think Melvin clearly does deserve it for the job he’s done shepherding all of those young players into a truly remarkable finish to the season.
N.L. Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson (Nationals)
It’s kind of weird that, for as subjective as MotY can be, both of the IIATMS versions of the award have been handed out unanimously this year. Unlike the A.L., the National League lacks a manager who clearly did the sort of tangible job that Melvin did in Oakland, in my opinion, but Johnson probably comes the closest for taking a team whose best position player is a teenager and who shut down their most talented starting pitcher in September to the top overall seed in the senior circuit. Plus, he’s Davey Johnson, so he gets extra points just for being awesome. At least with me.