Bleacher Report's Fully Updated MLB Award Predictions
All attention will shift to team goals during the final days of the 2012 MLB regular season, so let's get these award predictions out of our systems.
The following players and managers are poised to claim individual honors.
A blend of traditional statistics, sabermetrics, intangibles and historical trends was used to anticipate the voting results. Dissent is encouraged, but bring only your strongest arguments into the comments section.
Feast your eyes on Bleacher Report's updated list of winners.
AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)
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Rummage through every rookie class in American League history, and you may not find another player who dominated like Mike Trout has in his first full season.
He excels in every facet of the game.
Trout flaunts extra-base-hit ability, plate discipline, base-stealing efficiency and high-flying defensive prowess.
Among players eligible for this award, Wonderboy is the only one to log more than 600 plate appearances.
NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper
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The rookie race in the Senior Circuit was too close to call entering the season's final month. Then, Bryce Harper pulled away from the pack.
He adjusted to left-handed pitching and minimized his platoon splits. He continued making aggressive decisions on the basepaths and strong throws from the outfield.
The 19-year-old is finishing the 2012 regular season in fiery fashion. The Washington Nationals lack viable everyday alternatives at his defensive position, so Harper has been especially valuable to the organization.
In my opinion, he has leapfrogged Todd Frazier (Cincinnati Reds) and Wade Miley (Arizona Diamondbacks) and is doing enough to hold off red-hot Wilin Rosario (Colorado Rockies).
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay Rays)
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The former Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels closer has harnessed his changeup. Equipped with that improved pitch, he's arguably the best reliever in the American League.
It had been six years since Fernando Rodney last posted a sub-4.00 ERA. Barring a couple late-game implosions, he'll be under 1.00 in 2012!
The key for Rodney has been throwing more strikes early in the count. Getting ahead of hitters sets up his filthy off-speed pitch. Because it comes from the same arm angle as his fastball, opponents wind up swinging over the top or connecting for benign grounders.
ESPN.com's David Schoenfield delves deeper into Rodney's dramatic comeback.
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Kris Medlen (Atlanta Braves)
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Kris Medlen made just two relief appearances in 2011 after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He could do little to prevent the now-infamous Atlanta Braves' September collapse.
Medlen's case for NL Comeback Player of the Year is all about his performance since July 31, when he was promoted to the five-man rotation.
The right-hander's streak of quality starts dates back to Aug. 16, which was when his arm was finally stretched out beyond 100 pitches.
On the strength of his sub-1.00 WHIP and one-loss record, Medlen is a top-10 NL pitcher in terms of Wins Above Replacement (via Baseball-Reference.com).
Also, the Braves never lose with him on the mound.
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin (Oakland Athletics)
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The Oakland Athletics were put at every possible competitive disadvantage following an 88-loss regular season in 2011.
They lost three budding pitchers via trade and two veteran strike-throwers to a PED suspension (Bartolo Colon) and life-threatening brain injury (Brandon McCarthy). But skipper Bob Melvin has kept morale high despite the adversity.
Instead of sinking into the AL West cellar, the A's can taste the playoffs. They have clung to a wild-card spot while free-spending teams like the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels struggle to keep pace.
Melvin is used to working with a small payroll and a relatively unproven group. His brilliance at the helm of the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks earned him an NL Manager of the Year award.
NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez (Atlanta Braves)
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Fredi Gonzalez has pushed all the right buttons this season.
He closely monitors Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters' innings. In stark contrast to 2011, the late-game duo seems fresh heading into October.
It was also his ingenious decision to expand Kris Medlen's role. Moreover, he has the red-hot right-hander lined up to start the one-game wild-card playoff next Friday.
His greatest challenge? Managing 40-year-old Chipper Jones.
The impending retiree plays through chronic injuries. Often times, Jones is uncertain of his availability until a few hours prior to first pitch.
I'm in awe of how Gonzalez shuffles around the lineup when his future Hall of Famer needs a rest.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
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The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is neck-and-neck with a handful of deserving candidates in 2012. His competition includes Matt Harrison, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Chris Sale and Jered Weaver.
When all the votes have been tabulated, we'll be praising Verlander once again. After all, he's No. 1 in strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games and WAR (according to Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs).
If the Detroit Tigers outlast the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, it will be because their ace stifled them at Comerica Park (2-0, 1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 17 SO in two starts).
NL Cy Young: R.A. Dickey (New York Mets)
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There was consensus on Opening Day that the New York Mets would finish last in a stacked National League East division.
That's because nobody foresaw R.A. Dickey winning 20 games. To say we all underestimated the knuckleballer might be the understatement of the year.
Dickey has been a one-man spoiler in the playoff races. Pitching on the road, he blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays. Both those teams trail in the wild-card standings by slim margins.
He leads his league with seven double-digit strikeout performances and three complete-game shutouts.
AL Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)
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Before promoting Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels were an abysmal 6-14. They have since been 25 games above .500, which is best among American League squads.
But the correlation between one player's presence and his team's record can be fuzzy, so let's study Trout as an individual.
By my count, he has single-handedly brought back four would-be home runs with leaping catches. There are also dozens of potential extra-base hits that never hit the grass because the outfielder got a great jump or compensated with his blinding speed.
Trout is a 47-for-51 base-stealer who ranks first in runs scored and offensive WAR.
Though he has marginally regressed since the All-Star break, there isn't anybody in the same ballpark.
NL Most Valuable Player: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)
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Shame on all those fantasy baseball addicts who passed on Ryan Braun during their drafts. His gaudy 2012 numbers (.321/.393/.602 with 41 HR, 112 RBI and 30 SB) mirror those he posted one summer ago.
He'll ultimately fall a few singles short of the National League Triple Crown, but he'll still emerge victorious in a hotly-contested MVP race.
Realize that without Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers would be starting Nyjer Morgan regularly. That's right, crazy "Tony Plush," who is slugging all of .311 this season and .365 for his career. A scary thought, indeed.
Since dealing Zack Greinke, the Brew Crew have gotten better. For much of September, the playoffs were still a possibility, as Braun raked at the plate and played a more-than-adequate left field.
The 28-year-old superstar will join Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds as one of this century's only back-to-back league MVP winners.