Major League Baseball did its best impression of a courtroom on Monday, as the top players in the league were judged by a jury of their peers.
Only instead of being sentenced, finalists were handed Players Choice Awards.
These end-of-the-year awards aren't nearly as prestigious as the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards, but being recognized by the players who know the game extensively and know the work it takes to be successful is a big deal.
Let's take a look at the winners.
Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference
|Player of the Year||Miguel Cabrera||Detroit Tigers|
|Marvin Miller Man of the Year||Mariano Rivera||New York Yankees|
|AL Outstanding Player||Miguel Cabrera||Detroit Tigers|
|NL Outstanding Player||Andrew McCutchen||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|AL Outstanding Pitcher||Max Scherzer||Detroit Tigers|
|NL Outstanding Pitcher||Clayton Kershaw||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|AL Outstanding Rookie||Wil Myers||Tampa Bay Rays|
|NL Outstanding Rookie||Jose Fernandez||Miami Marlins|
|AL Comeback Player||Mariano Rivera||New York Yankees|
|NL Comeback Player||Francisco Liriano||Pittsburgh Pirates|
Player of the Year: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
No Triple Crown, no problem.
Cabrera may have been out-homered by Chris Davis, but he actually improved on his 2012 Triple Crown campaign, upping his average (.348), on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.636). He also hit the same amount of home runs (44) and saw his RBI count (137) decrease by just two.
Miggy joins Albert Pujols (2008 and '09) and Mark McGwire (1997 and '98) as the only other players to win this award in back-to-back seasons.
Marvin Miller Man of the Year and AL Comeback Player: Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
There was very little question Rivera was going to win Man of the Year.
On one hand, you can look at it as a lifetime achievement award after he put a cap on a remarkable, transcendent 19-year career. On the other, Rivera is simply one of the most likable professional players on the planet, equal parts dominant and stand-up human being—someone even Red Sox fans have to respect.
The Comeback Player award is also well deserved. After he missed most of 2012 with a torn ACL, most people figured Rivera's career was done. But he appeared in 64 games this year, saving 44 and notching a 2.11 ERA.
AL Outstanding Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
It probably would have been weird if he won Player of the Year, but not AL Outstanding Player.
NL Outstanding Player: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Who should have won this award?
The NL MVP Award is one of the most hotly debated this year, but if the voters are of the same mindset as the players, then Andrew McCutchen will soon be a happy little Pirate.
'Cutch was a major reason in Pittsburgh seeing the playoffs for the first time since Aladdin was in the box office. He hit .317/.404/.508 with 21 home runs, 84 RBI, 97 runs and 27 steals.
For the advanced statistical types, he finished second in the NL in WAR and first in offensive WAR, as he beat out Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina.
AL Outstanding Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
Scherzer was dominant for the AL Central-winning Tigers, as he went 21-3, compiling a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while striking out 240 batters in 214.1 innings.
The 29-year-old led the American League in both wins and WHIP, was second in strikeouts and K/9 and was fifth in ERA.
He beat out teammate Anibal Sanchez and Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish.
NL Outstanding Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
So, um, duh.
Kershaw was just about as close to unhittable as possible this season, as he led the NL in ERA (1.83), WHIP (0.92), strikeouts (232) and ERA+ (194).
I suppose he could have lost this award if all the hitters who got a ballot voted with vengeance instead of their brains, but other than that, there was no way he wasn't going to win.
AL Outstanding Rookie: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
Myers, per Amanda Rykoff, was clearly nervous (and attempting to pull his hair out) in anticipation of this award:
Nice hair, Wil Myers. pic.twitter.com/odFtNTe0zU— Amanda Rykoff (@amandarykoff) November 5, 2013
Entering the season as the No. 4 prospect in baseball by both Baseball America and MLB.com, though, he proved to be well worth the hype.
He hit .293/.354/.478 and smacked 13 homers to go with 53 RBI and 50 runs in just 88 games, proving crucial in the Rays' run to the playoffs.
NL Outstanding Rookie: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Who would you rather have for the next 10 years?
This will be one of the more controversial awards, as Fernandez beats out right fielder Yasiel Puig, who was a major factor in the Dodgers' turnaround and at many points throughout the season was the absolute talk of the league.
But the 21-year-old Fernandez was absolutely electric.
In 28 starts, he compiled a 2.18 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and struck out 187 batters in 172.2 innings. In addition to leading the NL in hits allowed per nine innings, he was second in ERA, second in K/9 and third in WHIP.
NL Comeback Player: Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates
Winning this award is just what Francisco Liriano does:
Liriano becomes 1st player ever to win Comeback Player of the Year Award twice (also in 2010 w/ Twins).— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) November 5, 2013
In 34 games with the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox last year, Liriano compiled an abysmal 5.34 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.
But he regained his control in 2013, winning 16 games with a 3.02 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 163 strikeouts in 161.0 innings. Control was one of the major factors in his redemption story, as he finished with his best BB/9 ratio since 2010.