Fantasy Baseball: MVPs by Position
With the regular season over, it's time to hand out some hardware.
There were surprises (Edwin Encarnacion and Fernado Rodney) and usual suspects (Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun) at the top of the fantasy rankings.
Chances are, if you had some of these players on your team, you were able to make the playoffs and make a deep run.
Here's a list of the fantasy MVPs at every position.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski, Wilin Rosario
Bronze: Yadier Molina
Silver: Joe Mauer
Gold: Buster Posey
Buster Posey was the no-brainer of the group. He led the National League in hitting with a .336 average and added career highs with 24 homers, 103 RBI and 78 runs.
Yadier Molina was a pleasant surprise. His average draft position was 170 and he finished in the top 60.
As a rookie, Wilin Rosario provided a lot of pop with 28 homers. Carlos Ruiz could have easily been in the top three if he was able to stay healthy.
Honorable Mention: Billy Butler, Adam LaRoche, Paul Goldschmidt
Bronze: Albert Pujols
Silver: Prince Fielder
Gold: Miguel Cabrera
What else can you say about Miguel Cabrera? Winning the Triple Crown speaks volumes. Cabrera won't start 2013 with first base eligibility, but that shouldn't be a problem because third base is a much shallower position.
Albert Pujols was able to overcome a terrible start to put up very good numbers. Through May 14, Pujols was hitting .197 with one home run, yet he still managed to blast 30 long balls and hit .285.
Billy Butler put up career highs with 29 homers and 107 RBI, and Paul Goldschmidt was just two stolen bases away from being a 20-20 guy.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Phillips, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist
Bronze: Ian Kinsler
Silver: Aaron Hill
Gold: Robinson Cano
Owning a 30-home run player is valuable, but having that player at second base is even better. That's exactly what Robinson Cano did this season. With 33 homers and 94 RBI, Cano is the easy MVP at second base.
It was nice to see Aaron Hill regain his form. After hitting 62 homers in 2009-10, Hill looked lost in 2011. He rebounded nicely this season, belting 26 home runs with 14 steals.
It looked like Jason Kipnis was going to be at the top of the position rankings, but he struggled in the second half, hitting just .233 with three homers.
Honorable Mention: Aramis Ramirez, Chris Davis, Ryan Zimmerman
Bronze: Adrian Beltre
Silver: Chase Headley
Gold: Edwin Encarnacion
We've become accustomed to seeing a Blue Jay third baseman hit towering home runs, but his name wasn't Edwin Encarnacion. This year, Encarnacion was dazzling. He hit .280 with 42 homers, 110 RBI and 13 steals.
Chase Headley had an amazing second half. After hitting .267 with eight home runs in the first half, Headley hit .308 with 23 homers and 73 RBI in the second half.
It was nice to see Chris Davis emerge. The former fifth-round pick enjoyed his finest season, hitting .270 with 33 home runs.
Honorable Mention: Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro
Bronze: Hanley Ramirez
Silver: Derek Jeter
Gold: Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins got off to a terrible start. After two months, Rollins was hitting .239 with just two home runs. But he turned it around in September, hitting 287 with eight homers. J-Roll also added 30 steals to go with his 23 home runs.
How did Derek Jeter respond to criticism before the season started? He only had the most hits in all of baseball.
Ian Desmond should have cracked the top three, but he suffered an injury at the end of July and missed almost a month.
Honorable Mention: Andrew McCutchen, Alex Rios, Adam Jones
Bronze: Josh Hamilton
Silver: Ryan Braun
Gold: Mike Trout
Is there anything Mike Trout can't do? As a 21-year-old, Trout hit .326 with 30 home runs, 129 runs scored and 49 stolen bases. If that wasn't enough, his WAR rating of 10.4 was the highest in baseball.
Ryan Braun was able to put the PED allegations behind him very quickly. If it weren't for Trout's magical season, Braun would have been No. 1 overall. He hit .319 with 41 homers and 30 stolen bases.
Andrew McCutchen tried to carry the Pirates on his back, and it was a terrific bounce-back season for Alex Rios, who hit .304 with 25 homers.
Honorable Mention: Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez, David Price
Bronze: Clayton Kershaw
Silver: Justin Verlander
Gold: R.A. Dickey
R.A. Dickey was simply sensational in 2012. He put up insane numbers, and they're even better coming from a knuckleball pitcher. He went 20-6 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and a NL-leading 230 strikeouts. Dickey has revolutionized the knuckleball; that's for sure.
Justin Verlander followed up his MVP/Cy Young season with another brilliant year. The Tigers' workhorse went 17-8 with a 2.65 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and a MLB-leading 239 strikeouts.
Gio Gonzalez led the MLB with 21 wins, David Price led the AL with a 2.56 ERA, and Cole Hamels emerged as the Phillies ace.
Relief Pitchers: Closers
Honorable Mention: Jason Motte, Jonathan Papelbon, Jim Johnson
Bronze: Aroldis Chapman
Silver: Fernando Rodney
Gold: Craig Kimbrel
Craig Kimbrel's ability to blow it by hitters is the reason he's the best closer. His 42 saves were tied for third in the MLB, but his 16.66 K/9 rate is incredible. Kimbrel was amazing last year, but he was able to increase his strikeouts and decrease his walks this season.
What a difference a year can make. Fernando Rodney lost his job as closer a year ago, but his 0.60 ERA was, by far, the best of the season. He also owned a 9.16 K/9 rate, which is the highest it has been since 2008.
It will be interesting to see what Aroldis Chapman can do with a full season as closer. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance to rival Kimbrel, but can his arm hold up to that type of workload?
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