MLB Rookie of the Year 2012: AL and NL Winners, Voting Results and Analysis
On Monday, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) started handing out its annual awards.
They began with the Rookie of the Year awards, which Mike Trout won in dominant fashion for the AL, and Bryce Harper won for the NL.
Read on for an in-depth look at the runners-up and how the voting broke down.
AL Rookie of the Year Award Winner: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
In what can only be called the no-brainer of all no-brainers, the BBWAA awarded five-tool star Mike Trout with the American League Rookie of the Year award.
About the only question here was whether or not Trout would win the award with a unanimous vote.
Voters responded with a resounding yes. While there were two other finalists announced—Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes—neither of them had any shot whatsoever with the year that Trout delivered.
Trout is also a finalist for the AL MVP award to be announced on Thursday.
That alone should have given rise to Trout's unanimous vote by baseball writers.
Trout's rookie season will be remembered as one of the greatest in history, and voters clearly felt the same way.
NL Rookie of the Year Award Winner: Bryce Harper
While the American League Rookie of the Year award winner was a foregone conclusion, the National League proved to be a bit of a tougher decision.
In the end, the BBWAA decided that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was worthy of the award.
Harper is the second-youngest player ever to win the award (Dwight Gooden, 1985).
Harper hit .270 with 22 HR, 59 RBI, 98 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. His five-tool skills and the fact he's a teenager may have given him the edge overall.
American League Rookie of the Year Voting Results
As stated earlier, Trout's ROY victory was a foregone conclusion. What remained was to see where everyone else stacked up behind him.
Trout became the eighth player in the American League to receive all of the first-place votes, as he was the first rookie ever to register at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.
Trout led the majors with 49 stolen bases and 129 runs scored. Add to that a league-leading OPS+ of 171 and you have a player who deserved a unanimous vote.
Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes would have been a worth ROY winner as well—had it been any other year.
Cespedes hit .292 on the season with 23 HR, 82 RBI and a .356 OBP.
To give a better idea of Cespedes' impact on the A's, consider this—the A's winning percentage with Cespedes in the lineup was a resounding .641. In the 34 games Cespedes was out of the lineup, the A's won only 34.1 percent of their games.
Cespedes received 19 second-place votes and six third-place votes to finish second behind Trout.
Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish made the transition from Japan fairly well. Darvish posted a 16-9 record with a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts.
For his efforts, Darvish picked up nine third-place votes and 46 overall points to finish in third place.
National League Rookie of the Year Voting Results
With the vote for the National League Rookie of the Year award, the results clearly showed a race that was tight.
In fact, only seven points separated winner Bryce Harper and runner-up Wade Miley.
Harper collected 16 first-place votes to Miley's 12. Clearly, National League baseball writers were divided in their opinions.
Harper: 16 first-place votes, eight second-place votes, eight third-place votes; 112 points overall.
Miley: 12 first-place votes, 13 second-place votes, six third-place votes; 105 points overall.
Frazier: Three first-place votes, seven second-place votes, nine third-place votes; 45 points overall.
Without question a fractured vote. While Harper's win is not a mandate, he clearly showed enough skills as a teenager to sway just enough voters.
American League Rookie of the Year: Reaction on Twitter
With Mike Trout's victory in the race for the American League Rookie of the Year award, reaction on Twitter certainly displayed how fans felt as well.
David voiced his pleasure over the announcement in resounding fashion:
“@_toni272 Mike Trout is going to go down in history books..people you are watching history in the making!!!!”— David(@davidyea) November 12, 2012
Apparently, Larry Falter found the announcement to be not so much of an enigma:
Mike trout won AL rookie of the year? Oh my God what a surprise.— Lawrence Falter (@LBoogie_617) November 12, 2012
Jay Page spoke to the attitude and demeanor Trout displayed throughout the season:
S/O to Mike Trout on winning Rookie of the year. Can't think of anyone with more talent on the field and class off the field #NJbaseball— Jay Page (@JayPage7) November 12, 2012
And finally, Corrado is apparently waiting to see if the State of Florida will someday recognize Trout as the official Rookie of the Year award winner:
Mike Trout's ROY voting still being tabulated in Florida, should be completed there by the time he hits 500 homers..#MLB— Corrado (@corrado_19) November 12, 2012
National League Rookie of the Year: Reaction on Twitter
Baseball fans on Twitter voiced their opinion as to the BBWAA's choice for National League Rookie of the Year honors.
To say that their reactions were varied and spirited would be a vast understatement.
Quite a few Todd Frazier fans voiced their displeasure via tweets, including Jason Nicholas Dale:
Brian Kinsley was obviously a bit upset over the decision as well:
Arizona Diamondbacks fans weighed in with their opinions as well:
Bryce Harper winning the National League Rookie of the Year award over Wade Miley is a travesty. The voters got this one wrong, PERIOD!— Sam Herron (@samherron29) November 12, 2012
Don't mince your words, Sam. Tell us how you really feel!
Other fans discussed the age factor in both Trout and Harper winning the ROY awards:
And finally, one fan brings up an impressive "Captain Obvious" reference:
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout win Rookies of the Year. In other news, the Pope is Catholic.— Marion Pritchard (@MarionPritch) November 13, 2012
American League Rookie of the Year Award: Analysis
As mentioned earlier, the announcement of Mike Trout as the unanimous choice for the American League Rookie of the Year award should have come as absolutely no surprise to anyone.
In three days, Trout will find out if he becomes only the third player in history to win both the ROY and MVP awards in the same season.
Only Fred Lynn in 1975 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 have ever accomplished the feat. However, Trout has to compete with a Triple Crown winner in Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Writers will weigh that feat against the incredible accomplishments of Trout.
However, even if Trout finishes second to Cabrera on Thursday, his rookie season is arguably the greatest in MLB history. That can never be taken away from him.
National League Rookie of the Year Award: Analysis
Cincinnati Reds utility man Todd Frazier broke in as a 26-year-old rookie and shined when called upon.
Frazier filled in for both Scott Rolen and Joey Votto and, at times, plugged holes at shortstop and in the outfield in a stellar rookie season.
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley fashioned a pretty nice season for himself as well. Miley posted a 16-11 record, 3.33 ERA and 1.182 WHIP.
However, Harper broke into the majors as a 19-year-old, becoming just the second teenager ever to hit 20 home runs (Tony Conigliaro, 1964). It's important to note that Harper was drafted as a catcher, yet just two years later, he impressed just about everyone with his defensive skills in the outfield.
Harper showed flashes of the five-tool skills that experts have been touting ever since first viewing him in travel leagues when he was 16 years old.
Frazier's value to the Reds certainly can't be understated, and Miley was exceptional in his first season, too.
However, Harper was ultimately the right choice here. The talent was evident, and his production was equally as impressive. The vote was close, as it should have been. But in the end, voters got it right.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.