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My MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year picks

Oct 5, 2012, 5:52 PM EDT

Mike Trout AP

Here are my picks for the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards for each league. Obviously, these are all for fun. I’m not a BBWAA member and do not have ballots for any of these awards.

Feel free to flame away.

1. Mike Trout
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Robinson Cano
4. Adrian Beltre
5. Justin Verlander
6. Austin Jackson
7. David Price
8. Josh Hamilton
9. Adam Jones
10. Alex Rios

I put down my thoughts on Trout vs. Cabrera earlier this week. Cabrera is going to win the MVP, and I’m OK with that. I think Trout was pretty clearly the better player, but he did play in 22 fewer games after opening the season in the minors.

As for the rest, Cano’s awesome finishing kick thrust him from somewhere in the 7-10 range up to No. 3. That spot appeared likely to come down to Beltre vs. Hamilton a couple of weeks ago, but Hamilton’s disappearing act nearly knocked him off the ballot entirely.

I went for Jones over Matt Wieters as the token Oriole. I really wanted to give the last spot to Edwin Encarnacion, but I couldn’t quite justify it. Joe Mauer and Ben Zobrist were also in the running, but Rios had a pretty terrific season.

AL Cy Young
1. Justin Verlander
2. David Price
3. Felix Hernandez
4. Fernando Rodney
5. Chris Sale

Price had the ERA lead, the wins and the tougher schedule. Strictly on an inning-by-inning basis, I’d give him the edge over Verlander here. Still, I think the difference is pretty small and doesn’t make up for the fact that Verlander made the equivalent of four more starts that Price did. Considering the infield defense behind him, the fact that Verlander finished second in the league in WHIP and batting average allowed is pretty amazing.

AL Rookie of the Year
1. Mike Trout
2. Yu Darvish
3. Yoenis Cespedes
4. Jarrod Parker
5. Tommy Milone

Not only does it have maybe the greatest rookie ever at the top, but the AL class is so very deep. Scott Diamond, Wei-Yin Chen, Will Middlebrooks, Matt Moore, Jose Quintana, Ryan Cook, A.J. Griffin, Manny Machado, Hisashi Iwakuma, Addison Reed, Sean Doolittle and Robbie Ross all made valuable contributions. Jesus Montero still projects very well too, though he was a disappointment this year.

1. Yadier Molina
2. Buster Posey
3. Ryan Braun
4. Andrew McCutchen
5. David Wright
6. Chase Headley
7. Aramis Ramirez
8. Aaron Hill
9. Joey Votto
10. Clayton Kershaw

I’ve flip-flopped a few times here.

Molina is the game’s best defensive catcher, and he started 22 more games behind the plate than Posey did this year. Yeah, he’s the worst hitter of the top six here, but it’s not by all that huge of a margin. He’s 87 points of OPS shy of Posey, 113 points shy of Braun.

One seemingly minor factor that swayed me in the end; Molina somehow hit into just 10 double plays this year. He came in at 21, 27, 19 and 21 the previous four years. It’s really a pretty amazing total given that he’s pretty slow, he hits plenty of grounders and he rarely strikes out. If Molina had made those 10-12 extra outs he usually does on twin-killings, I probably would have gone Posey first.

NL Cy Young
1. Clayton Kershaw
2. R.A. Dickey
3. Johnny Cueto
4. Kris Medlen
5. Matt Cain

I spent pretty much the entire year believing Dickey was the choice here. And he still would have been if Kershaw had succumbed to his hip injury. Kershaw came back and made a couple of more starts, though, and he proved to be the best pitcher. He led in ERA, strikeout ratio and WHIP while pitching just six fewer innings than Dickey. He also faced the tougher schedule. Consider that his opponents OPS was .760, even though quality left-handed hitters often sat out against him. Dickey’s was .750, the lowest mark of the top five pure starters (including Gio Gonzalez, not including Medlen).

As for Medlen, his schedule was the weakest of the bunch. But he was amazing, amassing a 1.57 ERA in 138 innings. I think that’s quite a bit more valuable than what Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman did. I also think it trumps Gio Gonzalez’s performance. Gonzalez gave up 43 additional runs (40 earned) while pitching 61 1/3 innings more innings than Medlen. That’s a 5.87 ERA. In comparison, Medlen allowed 19 more runs (17 earned) in 75 1/3 innings more than Kimbrel pitched. That’s a 2.03 ERA.

NL Rookie of the Year
1. Bryce Harper
2. Wade Miley
3. Norichika Aoki
4. Todd Frazier
5. Wilin Rosario

Miley seemed to have this one in the bag for most of the year, but he went 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his final six starts. Harper, meanwhile, hit .330 with seven homers and 27 runs scored in 112 at-bats between September and October. It’s still terribly close, and I’ve gone back and forth on my choice a few times. It’s too bad they can’t tie.

As for Rosario, he was just too sloppy defensively to justify a higher spot. He did lead all major league catchers and rookies in homers, but I think Aoki and Frazier were more valuable this year.

  1. pricejustin24 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Cabrera is the clear MVP. Moron.

    • El Bravo - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      Pricejustin24 is the clear DNE. Douche Nozzle Extraordinaire.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:16 PM

        Is he a douchenozzle for calling Mr Poullioit a moron or because he thinks Cabrerra is the MVP? Because if its because of bis MvP choice honestly its hard to argue either player because they both had statisticslly awesome years.

      • El Bravo - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:21 PM

        In no way is Crabrera the “clear” MVP. This horse has been broken, ridden, and died. Sure, we expect Miggy to get it, and he certainly can claim he earned it, but Trout was the overall best player. But yeah, the “moron” thing was douchey too.

      • paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        He’s a DNE for failing to provide a rationale for his opinion and then calling someone else a moron.

        It isn’t even clear that Cabrera was the best hitter in the AL, and it is very clear that he wasn’t the most valuable player….if you disagree, you should at least provide reasoning for your position.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM

        In some peoples minds winning an award that hasn’t been won in 45 years makes it pretty clear to them. Hard to say they are a douche because of it.

      • paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:30 PM

        It isn’t actually an award, it is a statistical fluke.

        Cabrera was much better last year and was even better in 2010, providing more value to the Tigers each of those years than he did this year. Basing perception of value on the frequency of statistical flukes isn’t a particularly effective approach.

      • El Bravo - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        He’s a douche because he claims Cabrera is the “clear” MVP, which is totally false and then proceeds to call the writer a moron, where in fact, the commenter is being the moron. I call a douche when I see/read one. It’s what I do.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM

        Im no statistician so I’m not going to argue fluke or not. Fact is his hitting led the league in 3 major stat categories that everyone identifies with. not everyone believes in sabermetrics like you guys do.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:08 PM

        Fact is his hitting led the league in 3 major stat categories that everyone identifies with

        So we should throw out defense and baserunning then? I didn’t realize the award was most valuable bat?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:26 PM

        Come on church, you know as well as I do that MVP is mpre of a hitting award than anything else. Defense has only become a part of it since UZR has come into play and we all know that its still a debatable statistic. Although i’m not saying defense shouldn’t be a factor. Cabrerra wouldn’t be the first triple crowner to not win MVP.

  2. El Bravo - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    I can see most of those, but I think Posey should beat out Molina and Dickey wins CY b/c of style points.

    • paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:27 PM

      Yeah, even as a Cardinal fan, I would vote for Posey. I think Molina is the better defender. Neither provide much value on the bases (Posey isn’t as slow, but he’s a poor base runner). For me, the difference is Posey’s 35 pt edge in OBP. A lot of that is due to his unsustainable .368 BABIP, but MVP isn’t about projection, it is about what happened, and what happened was that Posey led the league in OBP while providing power and plus defense at the toughest position.

  3. pilonflats - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    ummmmmm the lowest era for a pitcher EVER and he’s only #4 on your cy young list??? really???

    • seattlej - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      I’m so sick of this argument. He pitched, what, about 1/3 the number of innings? Should we start considering platoon players for MVP because they had great rate stats against LHPs even though it was only over 200 ABs? The thought of that is ridiculous.

    • seattlej - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:31 PM

      Dude! Ummmm, Brad Mills? He had such a sick season — 0.00 ERA (lowest ERA EVER!!!) and a K/9 of 10.80! Add in the fact that he didn’t walk a single batter and I don’t know how he’s not on your ballot! Really???

  4. norcaldeportes - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Yadier Molina?! Thank the baseball gods that you don’t have a vote

  5. lyon810 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Some of the logic here is seriously flawed. Ya Miley fell off towards the end and Harper went nuts, but you can make the same justification for Miley being solid in July/early August while Harper was tanking hard.

    • paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Miley falling off is the reason Harper passed him in value/performance. The drop off itself wasn’t the problem….it was the fact that Harper just had a better season (in part because Miley started to suck).

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:41 PM

      What paperlions said. Actually, though, I’m not sure Harper had the better season. Really tough call.

      • paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:10 PM

        Yeah, I don’t think there was much difference between the two in the end…but ROY isn’t just about who had the best year, voters are allowed to consider other factors if they wish. Harper was at least as good as any other rookie, had a historically good season as a 19 yr old (which voters are allowed to consider), and is clearly the rookie with the most promising future (which voters are also allowed to consider).

    • nbjays - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      Harper will win the RoY because the BBWAA awards are popularity awards and Harper led the majors in hype this season. SMH

  6. brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Harper had a nice year and is going to be a pretty good player but in my opinion if he gets the Rookie nod its because of the hype surrounding him. I’d pick Frazier or Miley. Miley may have faded a bit at the end but lets not forget Harper sucked for about 2 months himself and really didn’t deserve to be an All Star.

    • kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      Yeah, and let’s not forget who helped lead his team to the best record in baseball.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

        You make it sound as if I’m bashing Harper which I’m not. And he had a lot of help on thatbest record team. If they all played like he did for june and July they’d be watching playoffs on tv. Luckily they had other good players to carry the load while he stunk for 2 months.

    • paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      Why would you pick Frazier? Harper had a higher OBP, was close in slugging and ahead on park adjusted rate stats (wOBA, wRC+). Plus, he had 130+ more PAs and played plus CF while Frazier played average 3B.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:42 PM

        Because I think Frazier’s numbers stack up just as well and better than Harpers. My opinion. Ypu don’t have to agree.

  7. jashton11 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    “AL MVP
    1. Mike Trout
    2. Miguel Cabrera”

    Matthew, your post on this one over the weekend was dead on (except that I’d say Trout missing the first month of the season actually makes what he did MORE impressive).

    I don’t think there’s a wrong answer between these two. Both put up historic seasons. My personal preference would be for Trout because his defense and base running give him an extra dimension. But it’s hard to argue with Cabrera doing something that hadn’t been done in 45 years, and while the MVP isn’t a lifetime achievement award, he was past due for one.

  8. pricejustin24 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Seriously, you are going to defend someone saying a rookie, who didn’t even play a full season, should be the MVP over the first triple crown winner in like 50 years?!? Get a life.

    • El Bravo - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:28 PM

      Read jashton11’s comment above. It is not “clearly” Miggy’s, but I agree he’ll probably get the MVP and that is cool. Moron.

      • jashton11 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM

        Exactly, Bravo. Both guys have great cases. I’d give the edge to Trout, but Cabrera would be a totally deserving winner. (And at this point, I have a hard time seeing how the voters won’t give it to him.)

    • kpow55 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      I think Cabrera will win and then go back to being an above average chubby guy who can hit well in the AL Central.

      Trout is the total package, hit, run, field, etc… all against tougher competition.

  9. pricejustin24 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Bet you are from OC huh? I lived on the water in Huntington for 3 years – DNE – and met a bunch of cocky, unrelenting, POS white boys who can’t take a punch. I bet that’s you.
    Oh- and I’m white. You over privileged, self entitled, walking Contradiction… Go get another tattoo of the big “a” on your chest and wait til you pop off like that to someone’s face who’s gonna shut that mouth of yours for you.

    • El Bravo - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      Learn to use a reply button, brah. Surf’s up.

    • seattlej - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Big man, calling people out from behind a keyboard. I’m guessing he’s a pimply middle schooler playing with mommy’s iPhone.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:12 PM

      Woot, internet tough guy!!!

    • bla bla bla - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      My monitor can beat up your monitor.

  10. santacruzfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    I just can’t understand how anyone can leave Weaver off the list for AL Cy Young. I love King Felix and all (even had him on my fantasy team this year) but he had a number of horrible starts this season. I don’t recall Weaver having any more than one bad outing. 1st in WHIP, 1st in BAA, 3rd in ERA, started 30 and won 20. What’s the deal?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      He’s great, but he pitched fewer innings than the top three, he had the weakest schedule of the entire bunch and he was working in a park that played very favorably for pitchers. I think he’s right there with Rodney and Sale, but those three are all a step down from Verlander, Price and Felix.

      • santacruzfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:51 PM

        Well, his stint on the DL accounts for the fewer innnings (which in my book makes his season even more impressive) and he played in the same division as Felix (13 wins). I guess the K’s are much sexier stat.

      • paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM

        How does going on the DL make a season more impressive than guys that pitched as well or better that didn’t go on the DL?

      • santacruzfan - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:42 AM

        Because his injury didn’t deter him from the great season he was having. He came back just as strong, put up numbers at or near the top, and still won 20 games for a team that didn’t make the playoffs.

      • paperlions - Oct 6, 2012 at 8:41 AM

        So….by that logic Wainwright should win the NL CY because he was coming off of TJ surgery and still threw 198 innings of great pitching.

      • santacruzfan - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        Uh, no. Weaver’s time on the DL was in the middle of a great season and despite that, he led the league or was near the leaders in a number of impressive categories. Wainwright’s situation might put him in the Comeback POY conversation, not CY like Weaver. Apples and oranges.

  11. beearl - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    You stay classy, San Diego.

  12. pricejustin24 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Just realized why I never post on this site… Half the posters are probably the lame “bloggers” anyway. That or you just wanna blow these dudes bc they get their opinion out there like it should matter. Deleting this app. F your site- and most of your reader.

    • kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, moron.

  13. wethog66 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Its one thing for Gio Gonzalez not to win the NL Cy Young, but he isn’t even in your top 5? WTF?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      19th in innings, sixth in ERA and a pretty easy schedule was my reasoning.

      • pdowdy83 - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:29 PM

        Right and his leading the league in k/9 for starters, hr/9 innings, ranking 2nd in hits/9 and being 4th in baseball references pitching WAR doesn’t lend to making the top 5?

      • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:00 AM

        He’s a fine pitcher. Really good season. But considering that he wasn’t in the top five in the league in recording outs or preventing runs, I don’t think his inclusion is a slam dunk. I would have put him sixth.

  14. kpow55 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Um, Weaver for CY?

    Tied for 1st in wins and 3rd in ERA in the hardest division (.ALW = 548 win %) in the MLB.

    Did you just forget or is he the Megatron to your Cris Carter?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Tied for 1st in wins and 3rd in ERA in the hardest division (.ALW = 548 win %) in the MLB.

      Let me guess, you think Cabrera is the MVP because he’s the Triple Crown winner too, right?

      • kpow55 - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:58 AM

        Yes because as a Halos fan I’d root against Trout.

        Calm down little fella, found stats to justify an argument and posted no need to get all riled up, deep breaths, maybe turn on something soothing if they let you play music in your cubicle.

  15. smcgaels1997 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Really? 22 more games behind the plate is a factor? Posey played First Base those games…And is the MVP

    • keepthisrealbro - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:54 PM

      Matt forgot to factor in his .378 BA/.460OBP/.633SLG when playing at 1st this year.

  16. robmar924 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Harper played a better season and fair or not but age is a factor in the voting. Dickey will get attention for being old just as much as Harper for being really young. Age aside the stat that doesnt get compared is how often harper took so many bases and at times he looked like the best player on the best team in baseball. That seperates him as the NL ROY

  17. jrod2173 - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Good thing you listed your AL picks first. Otherwise, seeing Molina over Posey would probably stop everyone from reading the rest of your insanity…

  18. theman1932 - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    I hate criticizing a journalist’s opinion, but how did Joey Votto make the top 10? He wasn’t even a Top 5 player on his own team. Jay Bruce should be on this list.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:05 AM

      Votto missed one-third of the year, but he was the league’s best hitter for the two-thirds that he played. .337/.474/.567.

      • nicodemusfleur - Oct 12, 2012 at 4:56 AM

        So your rational for saying Molina over Posey is that he played 22 more games as catcher, but a guy who was injured for a huge chunk of the season is on the list? Okay…

  19. no14mike - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Gio outside of the Top 5 is kinda bad especially since you’re making “19th in innings” an argument. Medlen should be docked further then. Also, LaRoche might deserve some consideration since he carried the Nats in the beginning.

    • seattlej - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      Not to mention putting Rodney in the top 5.

  20. legacybroken - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Kpow, Cabrera is alot more then just an above average player. He has been consistently one of the best pure hitters in the game second only too Pujols, this generation. Cabrera’s having a career that puts him on an all time great trajectory. Mike Trout had an amazing year but he has a long way to go before he can be truly compared to the greatness of Miggy. The fact that this season where he earned the Triple Crown and likely the MVpmight only be his third or fourth best season speaks volumes of how elite Cabrera.

  21. kardshark1 - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Wow. As a writer on FanGraphs, surprised you don’t factor in ballpark effect and other important MAJOR contributing things. And did you really use GiDPs? Pretty cool if a player could actually control that. Speed, side of plate you bat from, opportunity and type of hitter you are (GB, FB, K) are what leads to DPs – surely not a player’s ability to get better at it.

    Posey: 8 WAR and a wRC+ 160 is FAR superior to 6.5 and 140 of Molina. And stating Molina is better defensively just shows you’ve maybe only watched Posey a few times this year, if that. He might be better, but it’s a lot smaller margin than you think it is. Ive watched them both a lot, in no way is Posey’s arm worse. Remember, Lincecum is on the Giants. My Grandmother would steal a base with Lincecum pitching even if a Johnny Bench with Nolan Ryan’s arm surgically attached was catching.

    • kardshark1 - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      And Craig Kimbrel gets no love. He’s had the best year by a pitcher with 60+ innings pitched in maybe the history of baseball. If a reliever is EVER gonna get the Cy Young, it should be him, cause I can’t imagine we’ll see this good of a year anytime soon, if ever.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:13 AM

      Who is a writer on Fangraphs?

      Outs are outs. Whether or not it was a fluke that Molina only grounded into 10 double plays this year (and it probably was) it still enhanced his value.

      WAR knows jack about accounting for catcher defense. Try as it might.

      And you raise a good point about Lincecum that would be quite a bit more relevant if Posey, you know, actually caught him.

      (OK, that was kind of mean, but six of the 87 steals Posey allowed this year were with Lincecum on the mound).

  22. dfh3456 - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    This is just my opinion, and one that will probably be crucified. I think in terms of pure value to a successful team, a strong case could be made for Adam LaRoche of the Nationals getting MVP consideration. He isn’t among the top tier of players. But in terms of value this year to an excellent team, I think he is right up there with anyone in the NL

  23. elwaysmilehighdenver - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Logic tells me that if Trout is the better player he would have won the Triple Crown! He didn’t! End of argument!!
    Congratulations Miggy!!

    • kardshark1 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      Trout is the only rookie to hit 30 homers and steal 40 bases in the history of baseball. 13 other players have won the triple crown. Why is winning the triple crown more impressive than what Trout did? The answer is: Cause somebody gave the achievement a fancy title and told you it was… If you thought on your own, you’d realize some label made up by a sports writer in the 20s doesn’t mean it’s more impressive. Again, Trout is the only player EVER to hit 30 and steal 40 as a rookie. Ever, not joining a group of 13 others, but EVER. I’ll call it the Double Doozie, maybe that will make it sound more impressive and convince you that what Trout did is much harder to accomplish.

    • santacruzfan - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:50 AM

      Your logic is flawed. It’s apples and oranges. Ballpark, competition, etc. One could argue that Trout would have put up numbers just as good if not better had he been hitting in front of Prince. Instead, he was busy hitting leadoff!! Ever wonder what Miggy would have done in that role?

  24. ninerrebel - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    You are smoking crack Buster is way more valuable to the Giants Just look at what happened last season oh buy the way Buster is also comeback player of the year both hands down!

  25. brutallyhonest77379 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    You win the triple crown, you’re the MVP…. game over.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:14 AM

      Unless you’re Ted Williams.

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