October 8, 2012
Most Valuable Player – Ryan Braun
A good argument could be made here for San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey, who led the league in hitting and added 24 home runs and 103 runs batted in on the season. Posey also should get consideration because he put up the numbers as a catcher and is the best at his position. But the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun gets my nod here because his numbers were simply that good.
Miguel Cabrera was in the news last week for his Triple Crown performance in the American League, but what was lost in the discussion was the fact that Braun wasn’t all that far from achieving the feat himself. He was the only National League player to hit 40 home runs and his 112 runs batted in were only three behind the leader, Chase Headley. Braun also finished third in batting average behind Posey and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen. As if those numbers weren’t mind boggling enough, he also had 30 stolen bases, good for ninth in the National League.
Posey had an admirable season, but my vote goes to Braun here.
Cy Young – R.A. Dickey
Between last week and this week, I hate to continue belaboring the point about Triple Crown winners, but R.A. Dickey almost accomplished the feat as a pitcher. Dickey led the National League in strikeouts with 230 and his 20 wins were one short of the Washington Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez. He also finished in second place in Earned Run Average behind the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw will definitely garner consideration here but his 14 wins may keep him from winning the award.
Dickey is also likely to get a bit of interest due to his backstory. He suffered through some really bad seasons bouncing around with the Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners before settling down with the Mets a few years ago. At 37, Dickey’s a perfect example of a player finding success late in his career.
Rookie of the Year – Wilin Rosario
The Nationals’ Bryce Harper garnered the most attention of any rookie since his teammate Stephen Strasburg was mowing down batters a few years ago. But while Harper put up strong numbers, the Colorado Rockies’ Wilin Rosario is the clear choice here. He topped Harper in home runs (28 to 22) and runs batted in (71 to 59) all while registering 137 fewer at-bats.
The argument from the Harper supporters will be that Rosario benefitted from playing in the rocky mountain air, but Rosario’s numbers with so many fewer at bats are too impressive to ignore. Harper was a sparkplug on the Nats’ playoff team, but I’ll still take Rosario.
Manager of the Year – Davey Johnson
The pick here has to be the Nationals’ Davey Johnson. Johnson took what was an annual laughingstock and turned them into a playoff team. Not only did he lead the Nationals to their first winning season since moving to Washington, but he nearly won 100 games while doing so.