The votes are already in and tallied up, and in a short time, the MLB will be handing out awards to its top players. A number of these awards such as the MVP and Cy Young could be very close races between multiple players that had outstanding years.
MLB Lead Writers Ian Casselberry and Zachary D. Rymer have been tracking the races and providing projections for many of these awards throughout the regular season. Now that the season is over, Bleacher Report baseball columnists have set their final predictions.
Bleacher Report has reached out to 62 of its featured baseball writers to get their thoughts on the MLB awards races.
Davey Johnson: 51.6%
Bruce Bochy: 38.7%
Dusty Baker: 6.5%
Mike Matheny: 1.6%
Fredi Gonzalez: 1.6%
"Davey Johnson is far and away the NL Manager of the Year, having guided a very young Washington Nationals team to 98 wins. Even with indecent exposure regarding the [Stephen] Strasburg saga, Johnson handled the media, the front office, the team and Bryce Harper exceptionally well en route to making Capitol Hill excited about baseball again." - Gavin Andrews, Atlanta Braves Featured Columnist
"Bochy slapped together the best bullpen in the majors and won games without a true closer. He got guys like [Marco] Scutaro, [Hunter] Pence and [Angel] Pagan for a season or less and turned them into Giants forever. His team was as pure as it can get on the basepaths, at the plate and in the field. They had little power and tons of guts. Bochy-style baseball." - Richard Leivenberg, Los Angeles Dodgers Featured Columnist
This race should come down to Johnson and Bochy, but it probably will not be that tight of a vote.
Johnson gets the edge here. He took a young Nationals team and led them to the best record in baseball. Given the expectations surrounding the Nationals, that should be enough to get him the award.
Buck Showalter: 59.7%
Bob Melvin: 33.9%
Jim Leyland: 1.6%
Joe Girardi: 1.6%
Joe Maddon: 1.6%
Robin Ventura: 1.6%
"Going from 69-93 in 2011 to 93-69 in 2012 and forcing Game 5 in the ALDS against the New York Yankees says it all. Showalter knows how to manage young players and mold a group into a team, making the most with what many considered to be virtually nothing going into the 2012 campaign. Most, including me, thought that 2012 would be a 100-loss campaign. Instead, the team was seven wins from 100. There was no bigger managing factor in the AL this past season than Buck Showalter." - Alex Synder, Baltimore Orioles Featured Columnist
"The Oakland Athletics looked weak entering Opening Day. Anemic hitting from Kurt Suzuki and Jemile Weeks didn't help. Neither did Bartolo Colon's PED suspension or Brandon McCarthy's frightening injury. Bob Melvin worked well with a young and ever-changing roster. Against all odds, his team captured the AL West title."- Ely Sussman, MLB Featured Columnist
This could be one of the closest awards races this year. What both Buck Showalter and Bob Melvin helped their teams accomplish this season was incredibly impressive.
Both teams were essentially counted out before the year began because of their rosters and the divisions in which they played. Each of these managers deserves the award, but the edge could go to Showalter because he led the Orioles to a 24-win swing this year.
Bryce Harper: 56.5%
Wade Miley: 21.0%
Todd Frazier: 14.5%
Wilin Rosario: 4.8%
Norichika Aoki: 3.2%
"In order to work through this category, I took a different look at the question. I took Bryce Harper, who was the obvious assumption, and tried to find a reason that someone else deserved the award. I failed. His final numbers, combined with possibly more valuable defensive contributions, make him deserving of the honor. There were several close calls in the category, but in the end, he was the NL rookie who had the greatest impact on his club." - Corey Noles, St. Louis Cardinals Featured Columnist
"Miley's season was one of the sneakiest in recent history. 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA on a team that had a team 3.94 ERA. Great WHIP (1.182) for a rookie, and he almost tallied 200 innings pitched. I liked Frazier's year, and Aoki was rock solid for Milwaukee, but Miley was the steadiest of the bunch." - Clarence Bladwin, Jr., Oakland Athletics Featured Columnist
Bryce Harper managed to live up to all of the hype surrounding him this year. The 19-year-old put up outstanding numbers—just short of a 20/20 season (22 HR, 18 SB)—and played very well defensively.
Harper helped lead the Washington Nationals to the best record in baseball. His contributions will earn him the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Mike Trout: 100%
"This shouldn't even be an argument.” - Nick Houser, Oakland Athletics Featured Columnist
This one was a no-doubter. Trout had arguable the greatest rookie season of all time, as he hit .326 with 129 runs scored, 30 home runs, 83 RBI, 49 stolen bases and an outstanding 10.0 fWAR (h/t FanGraphs).
R.A. Dickey: 66.1%
Gio Gonzalez: 16.1%
Clayton Kershaw: 11.3%
Johnny Cueto: 4.8%
Craig Kimbrel: 1.7%
"Little needs to be said for this one. Dickey is the first knuckleballer to win 20 games since the Niekro brothers both did it in 1979. He did so by throwing it consistently faster than most and keeping it in the strike zone. He even managed to post only 54 walks, which, for a knuckleballer, is all but unheard of. Watching batters' post-strikeout faces showed exactly why Dickey was deserving of the win. Several other pitchers had seasons worthy of recognition, but Dickey still stood out among the crowd." - Corey Noles, St. Louis Cardinals Featured Columnist
"The NL Cy Young race is a tough one. Clayton Kershaw has the low ERA without the wins, R.A. Dickey has the numbers without being on a top team and Johnny Cueto and Gio Gonzalez both had top records and led their teams into the playoffs. For most of the season, Dickey could do no wrong. The knuckleballer led the league in strikeouts, was second in wins and ERA and was the only reason the Mets were relevant during the year; only one other pitcher passed the six-win mark on that team." - Dan Tylicki, MLB Featured Columnist
While Dickey ran away with the voting here, that will almost certainly not be the case in the official award voting. It should be a very tight race between him and Gio Gonzalez.
The award should still go to Dickey, though, because of what he was able to accomplish this season. He was second in the National League in both wins (20) and ERA (2.73), and he led the NL in strikeouts (230). If Dickey had been on a better team, he could have had 23 or 24 wins on the year.
Justin Verlander: 51.6%
David Price: 41.9%
Jered Weaver: 4.8%
Chris Sale: 1.7%
"If Verlander wins, it will be because of reputation. Price was the best pitcher in the American League, which he led in wins and ERA while pitching in the AL East. (Even though the Red Sox were down this year, Baltimore and Toronto presented tough offensive matchups.) Verlander led the league in strikeouts, while his WHIP and batting average against were marginally better than Price's. But Price was clearly the better pitcher in the second half. Price and Verlander each started 14 games after the All-Star break, and only once did Price not record a quality start. Verlander failed to do so four times." Laith Agha, San Francisco Giants Featured Columnist
"Justin Verlander led all pitchers in WAR (6.8 to Felix Hernandez's 6.1) and innings pitched, and he finished second in the American League in ERA and FIP. I love David Price and everything he did in 2012, but newsflash: Pitcher win totals don't matter. Price and Hernandez come awfully close to taking this award from JV, but the disparity in WAR and innings pitched along with Verlander's consistent top statistical rankings across the board give him back-to-back Cy Young awards." - Gavin Andrews, Atlanta Braves Featured Columnist
Looking at the numbers put up by both Justin Verlander and David Price, a case could easily be made for either of them to win the American League Cy Young Award. They were both near the top of a number of statistical categories in the American League.
The one thing that could tip the scales in Verlander's favor is the fact that he led his team to the playoffs while Price and the Rays missed out on the postseason.
Buster Posey: 80.6%
Ryan Braun: 11.3%
Yadier Molina: 4.8%
Andrew McCutchen: 3.3%
"Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun put up numbers this season that were eerily similar to his MVP-winning season last year. He led the National League in runs (108), home runs (41), OPS (.987) and total bases (356). Braun also stole 30 bases for the second consecutive season. While Buster Posey put up a phenomenal second half, Braun proved once again that he is head and shoulders above his competitors in terms of overall consistency throughout the season." - Doug Mead, MLB Featured Columnist
"Posey had the top batting average in the NL. He was solid in home runs and drove in over 100 RBI. He also manages the pitching staff and calls a great game. He is a leader of the team on the field and in the clubhouse." - Dan Mori, San Francisco Giants Featured Columnist
This is another race that should be closer than what was predicted by the Bleacher Report Featured Columnists. Braun had a great year, but it seems that his PED saga from last year has certainly impacted him in the voting.
Braun actually outperformed Posey in every category expect for batting average and on-base percentage. However, when it comes to value and not production, Posey has shown that he deserves the award.
Posey did a great job with the San Francisco Giants pitching staff and led his team to the playoffs. The value that he had to the Giants was greater than that which Braun had for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Miguel Cabrera: 67.7%
Mike Trout: 32.3%
"Call me crazy, but I still think the word 'valuable' means something in the MVP voting. Trout struggled during the season's final two months, while Cabrera put the Tigers on his back and led them to the AL Central crown. Despite what the advanced metrics say and the fact that Trout is a far superior defensive player, delivering when your team needs you the most should matter. This has little to do with Cabrera's Triple Crown and everything to do with his clutch performance and incredible consistency." - Geoffrey Ratliff, Los Angeles Dodgers Featured Columnist
"The AL MVP is one of the best two-man races we have had in some time. Mike Trout is a true five-tool player, while Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown and led his team to the World Series. Despite the Triple Crown win, Cabrera failed to beat Trout in WAR; no modern TC winner has ever not finished first in WAR. Trout was the best baserunner and base stealer, which complemented his top-tier fielding and hitting. He had a special season, even more so than Cabrera." - Dan Tylicki, MLB Featured Columnist
“Call me old school, call me a dinosaur...but I cannot vote for anyone other than the first Triple Crown winner since 1967. For a right-handed hitter to do this makes it that much more impressive, especially while playing in a park not exactly viewed as a hitter's haven. Miguel Cabrera is your 2012 AL MVP.” - Stephen Meyer, Deputy MLB Editor
It is seemingly impossible for the voters to go wrong with their choice for the 2012 American League MVP award. There is a Triple Crown winner and a rookie that put up incredible numbers.
A weak September from Trout could be what makes the difference in this race. Both players deserve the award, but the fact that Cabrera picked things up in the season's final weeks while Trout struggled a bit may have won Cabrera enough votes to give him an edge.