My season ending American League Awards:
Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
No brainer. The Baltimore Orioles were 69-93 in 2011. They did the exact opposite of that this year. The Orioles finished the 2012 season at 93-69, battled the Yankees for the AL East title all the way to the final weekend of the season, and now have an ALDS showdown against the Bombers in large part due to Buck Showalter.
Most Improved Player: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox
.204 average, 41 homers, 96 RBI
If you are pointing to Dunn’s abysmal batting average as a reason why Dunn shouldn’t win the award, then shame on you. The Chicago White Sox pay the big man to hit home runs. As long as he does that, they could give two shits about his batting average. And Dunn hits homers better than almost anybody. But THIS award is about improvement. And when you consider that Dunn hit a miserable .159 with only 11 homers and 42 RBI with a WAR of -3.1 in 2011, this is really an easy decision.
Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
.326 average, 30 homers, 83 RBI, 49 steals, 10.7 WAR
In the biggest “Nah fucking duh” of all time, Mike Trout is the AL Rookie of the Year. Anybody that votes for ANY other player is outside his/her mind! This kid has what I view to be a 50/50 shot at winning the MVP, for Christ sake! And if he does, their would be no argument from me. At some point in this 21 year old kid’s career, he is going to hit .320 with 40 homers and 60 steals. I just KNOW it. And how about that inhuman 10.7 WAR? This kid is amazing.
Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
17-8, 238.1 innings, 239 K’s, 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 7.5 WAR
I have changed my mind on this one several times this season. And even though Verlander’s 2012 doesn’t stand out quite as much as the 24 win 2011 season, it was yet another amazing year for Verlander. The best pitcher in MLB was 1st in innings pitched, 1st in strikeouts, 4th in wins, 1st in WAR, 2nd in WHIP, and 2nd in ERA. When you look at the numbers, and the fact that Verlander did it for a division winner, the race really isn’t as close as it looks on the surface.
MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
.330 batting average, 44 homers, 139 RBI, 6.9 WAR
ALL while playing for the AL Central Champion, Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera became the 1st baseball player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown, and did it seemingly without ever slumping at the plate. Simply put, Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in Major League Baseball, and while neither winning the triple crown or playing for a division champion guarantee him the honor (especially when you consider the season that Mike Trout had), this season, it certainly should.