Picking All 30 MLB Teams' 2013 MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year
The final day of the 2013 MLB season is here, and it promises to be an eventful one, with the AL wild-card picture still up in the air.
The end of the year not only brings us the start of another October of playoff baseball, but it also kicks the debate over who should take home each of the league's major awards into high gear.
This article will take a slightly different look at major awards, focusing on a team-by-team basis and naming each MLB club's Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP for the 2013 season.
*Note: While pitchers are certainly eligible for AL and NL MVP honors, for the sake of this list, only position players were considered for MVP.
Rookie of the Year: CF A.J. Pollock
The Arizona Diamondbacks entered the season with a logjam in the outfield. And were it not for an injury to Adam Eaton, there is a good chance Pollock would have kicked off the year in the minors. Instead, he has essentially given everyday at-bats. Thanks in part to his stellar defense, his 3.9 FanGraphs WAR ranks third among all rookies.
Cy Young: SP Patrick Corbin
Like Pollock, it was no sure thing that Corbin would even make the Diamondbacks roster out of camp, as he was in a battle with top prospect Tyler Skaggs for the No. 5 starter spot. A strong spring earned him the job, though, and he turned in a phenomenal first half, going 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA. He's just 3-7 with a 5.19 ERA in the second half, but he still gets the nod here for his season as a whole.
MVP: 1B Paul Goldschmidt
Had the Diamondbacks managed to find their way into the postseason this year, Goldschmidt likely would have been a front-runner for NL MVP honors. As it stands, he's still a lock to finish top five in the voting.
In just his second full season in the majors, the 26-year-old leads the NL in RBI and is tied for the home run lead with Pedro Alvarez. He has emerged as one of the most dangerous all-around hitters in baseball.
Rookie of the Year: SP Julio Teheran
Teheran entered the 2012 season as arguably the top pitching prospect in all of baseball, but he struggled to a 5.08 ERA in 26 starts in his second go-around at Triple-A. A terrific spring earned him the No. 5 starter spot, and after rocky start to the season he's been the Atlanta Braves' most consistent starter. His ERA was 7.31 after three starts, but he's gone 13-8 with a 2.68 ERA in 26 starts since.
Cy Young: RP Craig Kimbrel
With an overpowering fastball/slider combination, Kimbrel has been the most dominant reliever in baseball since his first full season in the league in 2011. He's racked up 139 saves over the past three years, leading the NL each season, and he posted a 14.9 K/9 mark in the process. It's been more of the same dominance this season. While the rotation has been solid, Kimbrel is the clear pick for team Cy Young.
MVP: 1B Freddie Freeman
The Braves offense has been incredibly streaky all season, but Freeman has been a consistent force in the middle of the lineup, breaking out as a legitimate superstar in this his age-23 season. After hitting .271/.343/.452 and averaging 22 home runs over his first two full seasons in the league, he has improved across the board this season and is a legitimate candidate for NL MVP honors for the NL East champion Braves.
Rookie of the Year: RP T.J. McFarland
The Baltimore Orioles have not gotten much in the way of production from rookies this season. Dylan Bundy wound up missing the entire season due to injury, and fellow top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman has struggled adjusting to the big league level.
However, they have gotten a decent season from Rule 5 pick McFarland. The 24-year-old has filled the role of long man out of the 'pen, pitching over an inning in 27 of his 37 appearances.
Cy Young: SP Chris Tillman
Acquired along with Adam Jones from the Mariners in the 2008 Erik Bedard deal, Tillman finished 2012 incredibly strong, going 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his last six starts. He opened the season as the No. 5 starter and was hit hard his first three times out, but he settled in from there and has been the team's only consistent starter this season. He also made his first All-Star appearance, replacing Justin Verlander on the AL roster.
MVP: 1B Chris Davis
Who else but Crush here? After a breakout season in 2012 that saw him hit 33 home runs in what was his first full season in Baltimore, Davis has taken his game to another level entirely this year. His batting average has dropped in the second half, and he's struck out 199 times on the year, but he has the home run title wrapped up and currently leads Miguel Cabrera by one RBI.
Boston Red Sox
Rookie of the Year: SP Brandon Workman
When Jackie Bradley Jr. broke camp with the big league club, it looked like he'd be the choice here, but he never quite got things going in Boston and quickly found himself back in the minors. Instead, the choice here is Workman, who was a second-round pick out of Texas in 2010 and went 8-2 with a 3.21 ERA in the minors before getting the call to Boston.
His ERA isn't pretty, but it's bloated by a few bad outings. Overall, he's been a useful swingman for the Boston Red Sox this season.
Cy Young: RP Koji Uehara
Signed to a one-year, $4.25 million deal in the offseason to set up new closer Joel Hanrahan, Uehara quickly found himself closing games when Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey both went down with injuries—and he's been nothing short of spectacular. He retired 37 straight batters at one point, and since the beginning of July, he is 17-of-18 on save chances with a 0.23 ERA.
MVP: DH David Ortiz
The entire Boston offense has been terrific this season. Newcomers like Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli have been instrumental in the team's success, as have incumbents Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. At the end of the day, though, it's been Ortiz once again making things go in the middle of the lineup.
He missed the first 15 games of the season as he continued to rehab an Achilles injury, but he was an immediate force once he got on the field. And he has his seventh career 30-home run, 100-RBI season to show for it.
Rookie of the Year: LF Junior Lake
Lake entered the season as the Chicago Cubs' No. 15 prospect, according to Baseball America. While he was expected to make his debut in 2013, the extent of his contributions was expected to be minimal.
Instead, he got off to a hot start and played his way into everyday at-bats in left field after Alfonso Soriano was traded. A career minor league line of .271/.322/.411 and a .381 BABIP suggest he's in for some regression moving forward, but he's been a bright spot this season for sure.
Cy Young: SP Travis Wood
Acquired from the Cincinnati Reds for reliever Sean Marshall prior to last season, Wood went 6-13 with a 4.27 ERA in his first season in Chicago. But he finished strong with a 3.05 ERA in seven September starts.
With 24 quality starts in 32 games, he's been one of the most consistent starts in all of baseball this season and now looks to be a key part of the Cubs' rebuilding efforts.
MVP: RF Nate Schierholtz
Finding an MVP on the Cubs roster was no easy feat, with Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo both turning in disappointing seasons and Alfonso Soriano traded to the Yankees. The fact that a platoon player is the choice here speaks to how thin the Cubs were offensively this season, but Schierholtz turned out to be a terrific bargain for the one-year, $2.25 million deal he signed. And he's under team control next season as well.
Chicago White Sox
Rookie of the Year: 3B Conor Gillaspie
Gillaspie was acquired from the San Francisco Giants in February for reliever Jeff Soptic after spending the past two seasons putting up decent numbers in Triple-A and never really getting a chance to show what he could do in San Francisco. An early injury to offseason signing Jeff Keppinger afforded Gillaspie a chance at everyday at-bats at the hot corner, and he ran with it.
Long-term, he's likely nothing more than an extra infielder, but he's made the most of his opportunity this season.
Cy Young: SP Chris Sale
The Chicago White Sox are likely headed for a full-scale rebuild, and they have little in the way of high-end young talent to build around. But in Sale, they have one of the best young arms in all of baseball.
He joined the rotation last year after spending the first two seasons of his career as a setup man, and he proved his terrific 2012 was no fluke with another strong season this year. The five-year, $32.5 million extension he signed in the offseason looks like an absolute steal.
MVP: SS Alexei Ramirez
With Alex Rios traded and captain Paul Konerko struggling, finding a standout position player on the White Sox roster is no easy task. Ramirez leads the lineup with a 2.7 FanGraphs WAR, and while a lot of that is due to his plus defense at shortstop, he has enjoyed a bounce-back season at the plate as well and leads the team with a career-high 30 stolen bases. He'll be an interesting trade chip this winter if the team makes him available.
Rookie of the Year: SP Tony Cingrani
Losing a pitcher like Johnny Cueto for the bulk of the season would have been an absolute dagger to most teams, but luckily for the Cincinnati Reds, they had a terrific replacement option in Cingrani waiting in the minors.
The 24-year-old left-hander posted a 1.15 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 31.1 innings through six minor league starts before being called up, and he's done a great job all season, pitching mostly out of the Reds' rotation.
Cy Young: SP Mat Latos
With Cueto down, it's Latos who stepped into the role of staff ace in Cincinnati, and he's having the best season of his young career. He's been particularly dominant in the second half, going 6-4 with a 2.68 ERA. Alongside Homer Bailey, he has helped keep the Reds' rotation among the best in all of baseball, even without the man who finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting last season.
MVP: 1B Joey Votto
For the fourth straight season, Votto will lead the National League in on-base percentage, and his 135 walks are by far a career-best. Some have criticized him for being overly patient at the plate and not focusing enough on being a run producer, but in a lineup that features a number of impact bats, his ability to get on base is extremely valuable.
Rookie of the Year: RP Cody Allen
A 23rd-round pick in 2011, Allen actually appeared in 27 games for the Cleveland Indians last season and pitched to a 3.72 ERA. But he maintained his rookie eligibility with just 29 innings pitched, and he has a chance to sneak into the top five in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
With his swing-and-miss stuff, the 24-year-old looks to be a potential closer option down the line, and he's been one of the few reliable arms in a shaky Cleveland bullpen this year.
Cy Young: SP Ubaldo Jimenez
The Indians gave up a good deal to acquire Jimenez at the deadline in 2011, hoping he could return to his 2010 form, where he went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA. Instead, he struggled down the stretch that year and then was among the worst starters in the AL last season, going 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA.
The team opted to pick up his $5.75 million option at the end of the year anyway, and he has returned to ace form here in the second half, going 4-3 with a 1.81 ERA over his last nine starts.
MVP: C Carlos Santana
The Indians acquired Santana from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Casey Blake back in 2008, and he took over as the team's starting catcher in 2011. With terrific on-base skills and plus power for the position, the potential for stardom has always been there, but he's stepped his game up this season in the middle of a vastly improved Indians lineup.
Rookie of the Year: 3B Nolan Arenado
Arenado posted an .836 OPS with 20 home runs and 122 RBI as a 20-year-old at High-A in 2011. While his production took a step back last year, he remained the future at third base for the Colorado Rockies. He made his debut on April 28, and though his offensive production has been average, he has been among the best defensive third basemen in the game with a 21.7 UZR.
Cy Young: SP Jhoulys Chacin
Chacin had a 3.48 ERA in 59 games (52 starts) over his first two seasons in the Colorado rotation, but injuries limited him to just 14 starts in 2012 and his ERA was 4.43 when he was on the field. Healthy once again this season, his 127 ERA+ and 1.26 WHIP speak to how well he's pitched. The 25-year-old should anchor the Colorado rotation for the foreseeable future.
MVP: SS Troy Tulowitzki
A groin injury limited to Tulowitzki to just 47 games in 2012, but he has bounced back this season and is again arguably the best all-around player at his position. Injuries again cut into his production, as he has played just 124 games, but there is no ignoring the numbers he's managed to put up when he has been on the field. Still just 28, he should have several more peak production years left in him in the middle of the Colorado lineup.
Rookie of the Year: SS Jose Iglesias
With Jhonny Peralta set to be suspended for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, the Detroit Tigers jumped into a trade with the White Sox and Red Sox to acquire Iglesias for outfield prospect Avisail Garcia, shoring up the soon-to-be-vacant position. His glove alone makes him incredibly valuable, but his offensive game has been a pleasant surprise this season and makes him a legitimate AL Rookie of the Year candidate.
Cy Young: SP Max Scherzer
After a shaky first half last season, Max Scherzer took a big step forward after the All-Star break, going 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA and giving the Tigers a legitimate second ace alongside Justin Verlander.
This season, he's taken it one step further and emerged as not just the best pitcher in Detroit, but arguably the best in all of the American League. He has to be considered the front-runner for AL Cy Young honors at this point.
MVP: 3B Miguel Cabrera
A groin injury kept Cabrera from making a run at a second straight Triple Crown, as he's hit just .265/.390/.324 with one home run in the month of September, but that won't stop him from winning his third straight batting title and likely another AL MVP as well. Simply put, he's the best hitter on the planet, and in a stacked Tigers lineup, he's a no-brainer here.
Rookie of the Year & Cy Young: SP Brett Oberholtzer
Oberholtzer joined the Houston Astros' rotation on July 31, replacing the traded Bud Norris. After getting hit hard in three relief appearances prior to that, he's gone 4-5 with a 2.24 ERA in 10 starts.
The 24-year-old was acquired from the Braves in the Michael Bourn deal, and alongside Jarred Cosart, he looks to be a solid piece of the puzzle moving forward.
MVP: C Jason Castro
Taken with the No. 10 pick in the 2008 draft, Castro was expected to lock down the catcher position far sooner than this season. But injuries had limited him to just 154 big league games entering the year, and he missed all of the 2011 season. Healthy now, he made his first All-Star appearance this season, and it's the first of what could be many if he keeps putting up the type of numbers he has been behind the plate.
Kansas City Royals
Rookie of the Year: RF David Lough
The 27-year-old Lough got a cup of coffee in the majors last season, hitting .237/.292/.305 in 59 at-bats; but entering the season, he was viewed as little more than organizational depth.
However, when Jeff Francoeur struggled early on and Lough was putting up decent numbers, he started seeing more and more playing time in right field. His .287 average ranks fifth among rookies with at least 300 at-bats, and, if nothing else, he looks like a solid fourth outfielder moving forward.
Cy Young: RP Greg Holland
Pitching was the focus of the Royals' offseason, and while James Shields and Ervin Santana have both had solid seasons, it is Holland who has truly shined. The 27-year-old took over ninth-inning duties last season after Jonathan Broxton was traded and went 16-of-18 on saves with a 1.98 ERA and 11.5 K/9. But he's been even better in his first full season in that role.
MVP: 1B Eric Hosmer
Hosmer debuted as the Royals' first baseman in 2011, hitting .293/.334/.465 with 19 home runs and 78 RBI to finish third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He looked like a star in the making.
However, those numbers plummeted to .232/.304/.359 last season, and he entered 2013 needing to get back on track. He's done just that, though, thanks in part to a big second half in which he's posted a .323/.379/.473 line.
Los Angeles Angels
Rookie of the Year: LF J.B. Shuck
After being outright off of the Houston Astros' 40-man roster last season and opting for free agency, Shuck signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels, where a strong spring training earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster.
An injury-plagued season from Peter Bourjos opened up everyday at-bats for the 26-year-old, and he's made the most of the opportunity. His 126 hits rank second among all rookies.
Cy Young: SP C.J. Wilson
Lost in the terrible early returns of mega-contract additions Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, the five-year, $77.5 million deal the Angels gave Wilson prior to last season has actually been a solid move. He's won a career-high 17 games this season, and he and Jered Weaver remain one of the better one-two punches in baseball, despite the struggles of the rest of the rotation.
MVP: CF Mike Trout
For as ballyhooed as his rookie season was, and rightfully so, Trout has been equally impressive in his sophomore season. His 109 walks lead the AL and have helped him boost his OBP by over 30 points. Meanwhile, his terrific blend of power and speed has again made him one of the most dynamic players in the game. Scary as it may be, the 22-year-old may actually get better over the next few seasons too.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rookie of the Year: RF Yasiel Puig
As great as Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-7, 2.97 ERA) has been this year, the choice here has to be Puig, as he ignited the Dodgers' turnaround and took the baseball world by storm in the process.
The 22-year-old has been a lightening rod for criticism thanks to his immaturity at times, but there is no denying he's must-see TV if nothing else. He'll likely wind up as more of a middle-of-the-order threat down the road, but for now, he's been a great spark plug atop the lineup.
Cy Young: SP Clayton Kershaw
The numbers speak for themselves, so I'll be brief. Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game today, and it's not particularly close. He registered 27 quality starts in 33 games and, in the process, became the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005 to post an ERA under 2.00.
He's just really, really good.
MVP: SS Hanley Ramirez
Adrian Gonzalez has been a consistent producer all season, but Ramirez has undoubtedly been the MVP since returning from injury on June 4. He's played just 86 games this season or he'd likely be in the running for NL MVP. But even with just a half-season worth of games under his belt, he could get some consideration. The Dodgers are 55-31 when he plays this season and 37-38 without him.
Rookie of the Year and Cy Young: SP Jose Fernandez
If not for late-spring injuries to Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, the 21-year-old Fernandez almost certainly would have started the season in the minors, as he had not pitched above High-A. Instead, he broke camp in the Miami Marlins' rotation and quickly became not only their best pitchers, but one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. The Marlins have a good deal of rebuilding to do, but their ace looks to be in place.
MVP: RF Giancarlo Stanton
Had I made pitchers eligible, this would have been an easy clean-sweep for Fernandez. But instead, the choice here is Stanton, despite what has been a disappointing season.
The 23-year-old slugger got off to a terrible start, then missed all of May and part of June with a hamstring injury, and he's never quite gotten things going this year. Despite that, he still leads the team in home runs and RBI and has a very respectable .848 OPS on the year.
Rookie of the Year: RP Jim Henderson
Right-hander Wily Peralta (11-15, 4.37 ERA) deserves mention here for a solid season in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation, but the pick has to be Henderson.
The only rookie to see significant time in the closer's role, Henderson took over for struggling veteran John Axford a matter of days after the season started. Francisco Rodriguez spent some time closing when Henderson was hurt at midseason, but the 30-year-old returned to the ninth inning after he was traded, and it's been a very good all-around year for him.
Cy Young: SP Kyle Lohse
It took until March 25 for Lohse to find a home in free agency, and after just one spring start, he broke camp with the team as its No. 4 starter. He has not duplicated his terrific 2012 numbers, but he's been the team's only consistent starter this season—and for a Brewers team that was among the NL's worst, he's been a bright spot.
MVP: CF Carlos Gomez
Gomez enjoyed a breakout season of sorts in 2012, hitting .260/.305/.463 with 19 home runs and 37 steals, and that was enough for the Brewers to give him a three-year, $24 million deal prior to the start of the season.
He responded by taking his game to the next level. With a good mix of power and speed to go along with terrific defense in center field, he has a 7.1 FanGraphs WAR, which is good for this sixth-highest total in all of baseball.
Rookie of the Year: LF Oswaldo Arcia
After a terrific spring, it was Aaron Hicks (.192/.259/.338) who was expected to be the impact rookie for the Minnesota Twins. But fellow outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has put up far better numbers.
The No. 41 prospect in baseball entering the season, according to Baseball America, Arcia hit .320/.388/.539 with 17 home runs and 98 RBI in the minors in 2012. He has not come close to those numbers in Minnesota this year, but the future look bright for the 22-year-old.
Cy Young: RP Glen Perkins
The starting rotation in Minnesota has been terrible once again this season, as its 5.28 ERA is by far the worst in all of baseball. But the bullpen has been solid with a 3.50 ERA.
Perkins is a big reason why. After saving 16 games last season after replacing Matt Capps as closer, the 30-year-old has thrived in his first full season in the ninth-inning role. He's a very attractive trade chip moving forward, as he's signed for $7.5 million over the next two years with a $4.5 million option for 2016.
MVP: C Joe Mauer
Very much in the argument for best catcher in baseball alongside Buster Posey and Yadier Molina, Mauer put up terrific numbers once again this season despite having little in the way of support around him in the lineup. He's been sidelined since August 19 with a concussion, but even with that time missed, he's the clear choice here.
New York Mets
Rookie of the Year: SP Zack Wheeler
A year after Matt Harvey dazzled in a 10-start debut, it was fellow top prospect Wheeler who burst onto the scene—and that duo should front the New York Mets' rotation for the next decade if everything breaks right. Acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran at the 2011 deadline, his numbers don't quite stack up to some of his fellow NL rookie pitchers, but he looks to have a very bright future nonetheless.
Cy Young: SP Matt Harvey
Speaking of Harvey, the 24-year-old was the only real competition to Clayton Kershaw for NL Cy Young honors before a UCL injury cut his season short on August 24. He's opted to go with rest and rehab over surgery for the time being, and his health will certainly be monitored closely throughout the offseason. If he can get back to where he was pre-injury, he's already one of the very best pitchers in all of baseball.
MVP: 3B David Wright
He's missed some time with a hamstring injury, but Wright has done nothing this season to make the Mets regret the eight-year, $138 million deal they gave him in the offseason. He remains an elite offensive and defensive player at a premium position and the face of a franchise on the rise. It will be a busy offseason for the Mets, with some big additions potentially on the horizon, but Wright will remain at the center of it all.
New York Yankees
Rookie of the Year: RP Adam Warren
The New York Yankees didn't have much in the way of rookie contributors this season, but Warren did do a nice job as the long man out of the bullpen in his first extended action in New York. The 26-year-old has spent most of his time in the minors as a starter, and he has made a pair of spot starts this season, but his real value has been as an innings eater.
Cy Young: SP Hiroki Kuroda
After going 16-11 with a 3.332 ERA in his first season with the Yankees in 2012, Kuroda re-signed on a one-year, $15 million deal. He looked like a legitimate Cy Young candidate in early August, as he was 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA through his first 24 starts. He's gone 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA in eight starts since, though, raising his ERA nearly a full run, but he's still the pick here for his season as a whole.
MVP: 2B Robinson Cano
Another terrific season from Cano has him positioned for a huge payday in free agency this offseason, and early reports have him seeking a 10-year, $305 million deal. He's the premier offensive second baseman in the game and a legitimate superstar, but there's no way he's going to get that much money from anyone.
Still, he's the obvious choice for Yankees MVP, and while he won't beat Miguel Cabrera for the actual award, he should get plenty of love from the voters.
Rookie of the Year: SP Dan Straily
Straily played a significant role down the stretch for the Oakland A's in 2012, making seven starts and going 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA, but he maintained his rookie eligibility by pitching just 39.1 innings. The right-hander has been solid all season, but he's been particularly good of late, going 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA over his last six starts as he makes his case for a postseason rotation spot.
Cy Young: SP Bartolo Colon
Colon was a pleasant surprise for the A's last season, going 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA. But his season ended prematurely with a PED suspension, and as a result, Oakland was able to sign him to a below-market one-year, $3 million deal in the offseason.
He's continued bathing in the fountain of youth this season as a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate, and he'll lead the A's young rotation into postseason battle.
MVP: 3B Josh Donaldson
Handed the starting third base job out of camp in 2012, Donaldson struggled to the point of being demoted in in June. He returned in August, though, and finished the season strong with a .290/.356/.489 line and 26 RBI in 47 games. That proved to be a jumping-off point for the 27-year-old, as he's been fantastic all season and has given the A's mix-and-match lineup a legitimate star.
Rookie of the Year: 1B/OF Darin Ruf
Granted, he was one of the older players at his level, but Ruf opened eyes last season nonetheless when he posted a 1.028 OPS with 38 home runs and 108 RBI as a 25-year-old in Double-A.
He has not seen as much playing time as some expected him to this season, but he has made the most of the at-bats he's gotten and flashed the power stroke that made him such an intriguing prospect coming into the year. If nothing else, it may be enough for him to secure an everyday job in right field next season.
Cy Young: SP Cliff Lee
The Philadelphia Phillies' once-dynamic starting rotation is not what it once was, but Lee remains a dominant arm at the top, even at the age of 35. The left-hander bounced back from an odd 2012 season that saw him go just 6-9 despite posting a 3.16 ERA in 30 starts. He's due $50 million over the next two years, so the Phillies could yet look to move him in an effort to rebuild, but the asking price is not likely to drop any time soon.
MVP: 2B Chase Utley
Injuries had significantly cut into Utley's numbers over the past three seasons entering this year, but he managed to stay relatively healthy this season and was again among the most productive second basemen in the league. That was enough for the team to give him a two-year, $27 million extension, which likely means the 34-year-old will retire with the Phillies, who'll be hoping he can stay healthy and productive once again next year.
Rookie of the Year: SP Gerrit Cole
The No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, Cole didn't need long in the minors this season before getting a crack at the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation; he made his big league debut on June 11 and never looked back.
He's been an absolute stud in September, going 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five starts this month, and the Pirates will be counting on him in the postseason as their No. 3 starter if they can get out of the Wild Card Round. He remains the ace of the future in Pittsburgh.
Cy Young: SP Francisco Liriano
The Pirates signed Liriano to an incentive-laden one-year, $1 million deal in the offseason after an up-and-down 2012 campaign saw him go 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA. That has proven to be the steal of the offseason, as Liriano has not only been a solid starter, but he has emerged as a bona fide ace atop the Pirates' staff.
Bonus points to the Pirates for taking a $6 million club option on to the contract for next season that will be a steal in itself.
MVP: CF Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen was an absolute beast in the first half last season, hitting .362/.414/.625 and single-handedly carrying the Pirates offense. He slumped a bit after the break and wound up finishing third in NL MVP voting, as the team suffered a second straight collapse.
This season, he's put up ridiculous numbers here in the second half, with a .317/.404/.508 line, and he has to be considered one of the front-runners for NL MVP honors this time around.
San Diego Padres
Rookie of the Year: 2B Jedd Gyorko
Back-to-back 100-RBI seasons in the minors forced the San Diego Padres to find a way to find a place for Gyorko in the everyday lineup, and they moved him from third base to second base to do that. His plate discipline still needs some work, and his defense at second is nothing to write home about, but he's flashed that run-production ability once again and should be a core piece of the future plans in San Diego.
Cy Young: SP Andrew Cashner
Cashner was acquired from the Cubs for first baseman Anthony Rizzo in a deal that looked like a slam dunk for the Cubs at this time last year. He opened the season in the bullpen after suffering a thumb injury in the offseason, but he joined the rotation before April was over.
He's been the unquestioned ace of the Padres' staff since the All-Star break, going 5-4 with a 2.14 ERA in 11 starts, and he'll look to prove that he belongs atop the staff next season.
MVP: RF Will Venable
A .224/.268/.423 line at the All-Star break had Venable fighting to hold onto an everyday job, but he's hit .312/.355/.538 with 11 home runs and 13 steals here in the second half. That was enough for the Padres to sign him to a two-year, $8.5 million extension at the beginning of September—and with offense hard to come by in San Diego, they'll be hoping for a repeat performance in 2014.
San Francisco Giants
Rookie of the Year: RP Jean Machi
Utility infielder Nick Noonan (.219/.261/.238) was a nice story early on, as he went 8-for-24 in April and came up with some big hits off the bench. But he tailed off significantly after that.
The only other real choice for a rookie on the Giants roster was Machi, a 31-year-old career minor leaguer who has been a nice story this season. Signed back in 2002 by the Phillies, Machi spent time with four other teams before finding a big league job with the San Francisco Giants.
Cy Young: SP Madison Bumgarner
The Giants' pitching staff took a big step backward this season, but the 24-year-old Bumgarner didn't miss a beat. He has gotten progressively better since breaking into the big leagues as a 19-year-old back in 2009.
He was signed to a five-year, $35 million extension in April of 2012 that could keep him in San Francisco through 2019, and that deal has proven to be a great one for the Giants to this point.
MVP: RF Hunter Pence
Per the Associated Press (via ESPN), Pence inked a five-year, $90 million deal on Saturday to avoid hitting free agency in the offseason. For a Giants team thin on offensive firepower, that was a necessary move for the franchise.
The 30-year-old ranks eighth in the MLB with 302 total bases on the year, and while he does not have prolific power, he's proven to be a very good run producer over the years. He'll provide some protection for Buster Posey long-term, but the Giants need to find some other pieces to plug in around them.
Rookie of the Year: SS Brad Miller
The Seattle Mariners have seen had an influx of young talent join the big league ranks this season, including Miller's double-play partner, Nick Franklin (.689 OPS, 12 HR). But the choice here is the 23-year-old shortstop out of Clemson.
Miller unseated Brendan Ryan from the everyday shortstop job in late June, and he's brought solid defense and a decent all-around offensive game to the Mariners lineup.
Cy Young: SP Hisashi Iwakuma
For anyone but Felix Hernandez to be here would have been blasphemy entering the season, but Iwakuma bests him almost across the board this year, as he's been one of 2013's true breakout stars.
A reliever in the first half of the 2012 season, Iwakuma went 8-4 with a 2.50 ERA in 15 starts after joining the rotation, and it's been more of the same this season. The team gave him a two-year, $14 million contract with a $7 million option for 2015 in what ranks as one of the better under-the-radar signings of this past offseason.
MVP: 3B Kyle Seager
Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez were all added in an effort to boost the Mariners' offensive attack, but it was incumbent third baseman Seager who was once again the team's top hitter.
The 25-year-old led the team with 20 home runs and 86 RBI last season, and while Morales has him bested in those two areas this year, he gets the nod for MVP honors thanks to the fact that he also brings a solid glove at third base to the table.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rookie of the Year: SP Shelby Miller
The St. Louis Cardinals were comfortable letting last year's ace, Kyle Lohse, walk in free agency due in large part to the fact that Miller was ready and waiting to step into his rotation spot. The 22-year-old has more than held his own as the team's No. 2 starter, and were it not for Jose Fernandez, he'd have a serious shot at winning NL Rookie of the Year honors.
Cy Young: SP Adam Wainwright
Wainwright scuffled a bit in the first half last season, in what was his first action back after missing all of 2011 with Tommy John surgery. However, by the second half, he looked like the Wainwright of old—and he's been everything you could ask for in an ace atop the St. Louis staff this season.
Were it not for a two-start hiccup about a month ago, in which he allowed 15 earned runs in seven innings of work before getting back on track, he'd have a 2.51 ERA.
MVP: 2B Matt Carpenter
This was one of the toughest decisions to make, as catcher Yadier Molina means an awful lot to the success of the St. Louis Cardinals. But what Carpenter has done atop the lineup this season earns him the honor.
In his first season as an everyday player, and first season as a second baseman, Carpenter has led all of baseball in hits, doubles and runs scored out of the leadoff spot in a potent Cardinals lineup. His 7.2 FanGraphs WAR ranks fifth in all of baseball, and it's hard to imagine what the St. Louis lineup would be like without him setting the table.
Tampa Bay Rays
Rookie of the Year: SP Chris Archer
This is a tough call between Archer and Wil Myers. Those two guys appear to be the front-runners for AL Rookie of the Year honors, but I'll give the edge to Archer for shoring up what was a shaky rotation at times this year.
With Alex Cobb and David Price dealing with injuries and Jeremy Hellickson struggling, Archer went 4-0 with an 0.73 ERA in five July starts, giving the Tampa Bay Rays a much-needed boost.
Cy Young: SP Matt Moore
With all the hype surrounding him entering last season, Moore was something of a disappointment, going 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA. He's produced closer to expectations this season, though, leading the Rays' staff and making his first of what could be many All-Star appearances.
Elbow inflammation cost him all of August, but he's back healthy now, and he'll take the ball in the pivotal final game with the Rays looking to secure a wild-card spot.
MVP: 3B Evan Longoria
Last season illustrated just how much Evan Longoria means to the success of the Rays; the team was 47-27 in games in which he played and just 43-45 when he was on the sidelines. He's managed to stay healthy this season, and while his numbers won't win him the actual MVP, he's the clear choice as the MVP of the Rays.
Rookie of the Year: SP Martin Perez
Expected to fill a rotation spot heading into the season, Perez suffered a fractured ulna on a liner back up the middle, and he didn't make his first start of the season until May 27. Then, he didn't make his second until June 22.
Since then, he's given the Texas Rangers a reliable third starter behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, and the 22-year-old is a big part of the team's future plans.
Cy Young: SP Yu Darvish
Darvish had a solid debut in 2012, going 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 191.1 innings of work. But he's been substantially better this season as the unquestioned ace of the Rangers' staff. He leads all of baseball in strikeouts with 269, and also leads the AL with a 6.2 H/9 mark. He'll take the ball for the final game, with the Rangers' season hanging in the balance.
MVP: 3B Adrian Beltre
A .321/.359/.561 line with 36 home runs and 102 RBI earned Beltre a third-place finish in AL MVP voting last year, and he's been the straw that stirs the drink for the Rangers offense once again this season. He leads the AL in hits with 196, and his 314 total bases are good for fifth-best in the league. He should get his fair share of AL MVP votes once again this year.
Toronto Blue Jays
Rookie of the Year: SP Todd Redmond
Redmond finally made his big league debut in 2012 with the Reds, allowing seven hits and four runs in 3.2 innings in what would be his only appearance of the season. The 28-year-old was selected off waivers by the Orioles, then again by the Toronto Blue Jays, where he has found a home this season.
He's been arguably the team's best starter since joining the rotation in July, and his high strikeout rate may be the biggest surprise of all.
Cy Young: RP Casey Janssen
Janssen was called on to close when Sergio Santos went down with a season-ending injury early in 2012, and he went on to convert 22 out of 25 save chances with a 2.54 ERA. The team opted to keep him in that role this season, and he's been just as good, anchoring what has been a very good bullpen for the Blue Jays for much of the season.
MVP: 1B Edwin Encarnacion
After seven seasons as a middling big league starter, Encarnacion finally broke through in 2012, posting a .941 OPS with 42 home runs and 110 RBI. He answered any questions as to whether or not he was a one-year wonder with another terrific season this year, ranking third in the AL in home runs, sixth in RBI and fifth in OPS.
Rookie of the Year: SP Tanner Roark
A 25th-round pick in 2008, Roark entered the season outside of the Washington Nationals' top 30 prospects, but the 26-year-old played his way to the majors by going 9-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 0.994 WHIP in Triple-A. He pitched well in relief before joining the rotation in September, and he's gone 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts this month.
Cy Young: SP Jordan Zimmermann
As the No. 3 starter behind Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, Zimmermann entered the season as one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball. But he's been the team's best starter this season. He's fallen off a bit after going 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA in the first half, but this has been a-coming out party for him nonetheless.
MVP: RF Jayson Werth
Overshadowed by the ridiculous seven-year, $126 million deal the Nationals gave him prior to the 2011 season is the fact that Werth is still a really solid baseball player. Injuries limited him in the first half this year, but he's hit .339/.432/.600 with 15 home runs here in the second half, and his play was a big reason why the Nationals were able to put together a late-season push.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!