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Awards season big-league style

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Awards season big-league style Matt Slocum (AP)
Predicting MLB's 2012 award winners

The 2012 Major League Baseball season is in the books. The World Series is over and the San Francisco Giants have been crowned the champions for the second time in three years. Now, 30 MLB teams get to gather round the hot stove and start planning for next year. We're looking at a few months of minor league hype, trades and free agent signings to get us through to the spring.

However, before that happens, MLB has to dish out its individual awards. Here are one man's thoughts on how that hardware might be distributed:

CabreraM

AL MVP

This is essentially a two-man race this year. In one corner, you have Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. All he did this year was lead his team to the American League pennant while putting up a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI numbers that made him the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. In the other, you have Los Angeles Angels wunderkind Mike Trout. The 20-year-old Trout's rookie season was one for the ages; he hit .326, hit 30 home runs, stole 49 bases and scored 129 runs while playing phenomenal centerfield. He managed all of this despite not being called up until the end of April. Trout is the new-school darling and his production is undeniable, but the historic allure of the Triple Crown will prove too much.

Winner Miguel Cabrera

Buster-PoseyNL MVP

This one is a bit tougher to call, with a number of solid contenders. Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has had another phenomenal season following up last year's MVP tilt. His numbers are solid, but the residual fallout from his 'did he or didn't he?' PED issues will likely keep him out of the top spot. For much of the season, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen looked like an MVP favorite, putting up stellar numbers for the resurgent Pirates. However, when Pittsburgh fell out of contention, McCutchen's candidacy took a hit. San Francisco catcher Buster Posey came on strong in the race late in the season, winning the batting title and leading the Giants offense while also playing Gold Glove-caliber defense behind the plate. That late push likely sealed the deal.

Winner Buster Posey

DavidPriceAL Cy Young

Detroit's Justin Verlander won this award last season (along with the MVP), and he's back with another real shot this season. While not as dominant in 2012, Verlander still led the league with 239 strikeouts and was second in ERA at 2.64 while winning 17 games. LA's Jered Weaver had a phenomenal year as well, winning 20 games while finishing third in the ERA race. However, the big winner might just be Tampa Bay's David Price. Price has come close to winning this award before, but this might be his best shot yet, leading the league with a 2.56 ERA, tying Weaver for the lead in wins with 20 and striking out over 200 hitters. Verlander and Weaver are formidable, but Price should take it.

Winner David Price

dickeyNL Cy Young

A handful of pitchers had great seasons in the NL this year. Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals led the majors in wins with 21. Last year's winner Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers led the league in ERA and was second in strikeouts. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto had 19 wins and a 2.78 ERA, both good for third in the league. Matt Cain had 16 wins, one of them a perfect game. However, R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets will be your winner. Not only did he win 20 games, lead the league in strikeouts and finish second in ERA, but he's one of the best stories in the game by far. He's a 37-year-old failed prospect who reinvented himself with knuckleballs and determination; he earned this.

Winner R.A. Dickey

MikeTroutAL Rookie of the Year

There's not a lot of discussion to be had here. Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes hit .292 with 23 homers, 82 RBI and 16 steals. Texas's Yu Darvish won 16 games with 221 strikeouts, both in the top ten in the American League. Any other year, this would be a real horse race. But this is the year of Mike Trout. Any guy who is getting very real MVP support is going to win the ROY going away. This is the easiest pick of the bunch.

Winner Mike Trout

Bryce-HarperNL Rookie of the Year

This one is a bit of a tough call. There are a number of young players who warrant mention. Colorado Rockies catcher Willin Rosario had a monster power season, with 28 homers and 71 RBI in fewer than 400 at-bats. Diamondbacks starting pitcher Wade Miley had a stellar year for Arizona, with 16 wins and a 3.33 ERA. However, those two will likely fall to a player whose numbers don't quite have the same pop. Washington outfielder Bryce Harper put up one of the best teenage seasons in MLB history, batting .270 with 22 homers and 18 stolen bases while scoring 98 runs. Throw in interview gems like 'That's a clown question, bro' and we have a winner.

Winner Bryce Harper

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 18:55

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