MLB Rookie of the Year 2012: Predicting Winner of Coveted Award in Both Leagues

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2012

July 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; American League outfielder Mike Trout (left) of the Los Angeles Angels talks with National League outfielder Bryce Harper (right) of the Washington Nationals during practice for the 2012 All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE
H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY

It was a terrific season for rookies across baseball. Young players are adapting to the major leagues quicker than ever, making for some awesome first-season performances both at the plate and on the mound in both leagues.

Only two players can walk away with the Rookie of the Year Awards, though. It's reserved for the best of the best. Let's take a look at the players who should win in each league and break down why they earned it ahead of other worthy contenders.


AL: Mike Trout

Wow. You say that word about five times a game while watching Trout. He just does things other players, including some veteran superstars, just aren't capable of pulling off and makes it all look natural. He's a truly special player.

As the season winds to a close, he's batting .325 with 30 home runs, 83 runs batted in, 129 runs scored and 48 stolen bases. He leads baseball in WAR (Fangraphs) by a wide margin and is one of the best fielders in the game.

It's also important to note the Los Angeles Angels star did all of that despite not making his first major league start of the season until April 28. He went 1-for-11 in his first three games, but once May arrived, he took off like a rocket and nobody in the league could match him.

Even though Trout is a slam-dunk choice for the award, Darvish should get recognized for his great debut season as well. After watching several Japanese pitchers fail after making the jump, he held his own en route to a 16-9 record and 3.90 ERA.

Runner-up: Yu Darvish


NL: Bryce Harper

Harper didn't lock up the ROY Award nearly as quick as Trout. There were times—most notably July, when he hit .222 with just one home run—when he really struggled. But the one thing he never did was stop hustling.

No matter how bad he was slumping, he continued to give 100 percent effort on every play, and there's a lot to be said for that from a young player. Eventually, he got back on track, finishing with a home run barrage over the final two months.

Harper is hitting .270 with 59 RBIs, 97 runs and 17 steals with two games to go. His .817 OPS ranks ahead of Jason Heyward, Adrian Gonzalez, Derek Jeter and several other big-name stars. There was plenty of hype surrounding his debut, and he lived up to it.

What really put him over the top, at least in my opinion, was helping the Washington Nationals hold off the Atlanta Braves to win the NL East. His role in winning the division title, which increases the team's postseason chances, earns him the nod of Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds.

Runner-up: Todd Frazier