Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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Fantasy MVPs and LVPs

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Award Ballots


- Here are my MVP, Cy Young and ROY ballots for 2012:



1. Mike Trout

2. Miguel Cabrera

3. Robinson Cano

4. Adrian Beltre

5. Justin Verlander

6. Austin Jackson

7. David Price

8. Josh Hamilton

9. Adam Jones

10. Alex Rios


I put down my thoughts on Trout vs. Cabrera over at HardballTalk. Cabrera is going to win the MVP, and I'm OK with that. I think Trout was pretty clearly the better player, but he did play in 22 fewer games after opening the season in the minors.


As for the rest, Cano's awesome finishing kick thrust him from somewhere in the 7-10 range up to No. 3. That spot appeared likely to come down to Beltre vs. Hamilton a couple of weeks ago, but Hamilton's disappearing act nearly knocked him off the ballot entirely.


I went for Jones over Matt Wieters as the token Oriole. I really wanted to give the last spot to Edwin Encarnacion, but I couldn't quite justify it. Joe Mauer and Ben Zobrist were also in the running, but Rios had a pretty terrific season.


AL Cy Young

1. Justin Verlander

2. David Price

3. Felix Hernandez

4. Fernando Rodney

5. Chris Sale


Price had the ERA lead, the wins and the tougher schedule. Strictly on an inning-by-inning basis, I'd give him the edge over Verlander here. Still, I think the difference is pretty small and doesn't make up for the fact that Verlander made the equivalent of four more starts than Price did. Considering the infield defense behind him, the fact that Verlander finished second in the league in WHIP and batting average allowed is pretty amazing.


AL Rookie of the Year

1. Mike Trout

2. Yu Darvish

3. Yoenis Cespedes

4. Jarrod Parker

5. Tommy Milone


Not only does it have maybe the greatest rookie ever at the top, but the AL class is so very deep. Scott Diamond, Wei-Yin Chen, Will Middlebrooks, Matt Moore, Jose Quintana, Ryan Cook, A.J. Griffin, Manny Machado, Hisashi Iwakuma, Addison Reed, Sean Doolittle and Robbie Ross all made valuable contributions. Jesus Montero still projects very well too, though he was a disappointment this year.



1. Yadier Molina

2. Buster Posey

3. Ryan Braun

4. Andrew McCutchen

5. David Wright

6. Chase Headley

7. Aramis Ramirez

8. Aaron Hill

9. Joey Votto

10. Clayton Kershaw


I've flip-flopped a few times here.


Molina is the game's best defensive catcher, and he started 22 more games behind the plate than Posey did this year. Yeah, he's the worst hitter of the top six here, but it's not by all that huge of a margin. He's 87 points of OPS shy of Posey, 113 points shy of Braun.


One seemingly minor factor that swayed me in the end; Molina somehow hit into just 10 double plays this year. He came in at 21, 27, 19 and 21 the previous four years. It's really a pretty amazing total given that he's pretty slow, he hits plenty of grounders and he rarely strikes out. If Molina had made those 10-12 extra outs he usually does on twin-killings, I probably would have gone Posey first.


NL Cy Young

1. Clayton Kershaw

2. R.A. Dickey

3. Johnny Cueto

4. Kris Medlen

5. Matt Cain


I spent pretty much the entire year believing Dickey was the choice here. And he still would have been if Kershaw had succumbed to his hip injury. Kershaw came back and made a couple of more starts, though, and he proved to be the best pitcher. He led in ERA, strikeout ratio and WHIP while pitching just six fewer innings than Dickey. He also faced the tougher schedule. Consider that his opponents OPS was .760, even though quality left-handed hitters often sat out against him. Dickey's was .750, the lowest mark of the top five pure starters (including Gio Gonzalez, not including Medlen).


As for Medlen, his schedule was the weakest of the bunch. But he was amazing, amassing a 1.57 ERA in 138 innings. I think that's quite a bit more valuable than what Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman did. I also think it trumps Gio Gonzalez's performance. Gonzalez gave up 43 additional runs (40 earned) while pitching 61 1/3 innings more innings than Medlen. That's a 5.87 ERA. In comparison, Medlen allowed 19 more runs (17 earned) in 75 1/3 innings more than Kimbrel pitched. That's a 2.03 ERA.


NL Rookie of the Year

1. Bryce Harper

2. Wade Miley

3. Norichika Aoki

4. Todd Frazier

5. Wilin Rosario


Miley seemed to have this one in the bag for most of the year, but he went 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his final six starts. Harper, meanwhile, hit .330 with seven homers and 27 runs scored in 112 at-bats between September and October. It's still terribly close, and I've gone back and forth on my choice a few times. It's too bad they can't tie.


As for Rosario, he was just too sloppy defensively to justify a higher spot. He did lead all major league catchers and rookies in homers, but I think Aoki and Frazier were more valuable this year.


Previous selections



2000: Pedro Martinez

2001: Jason Giambi

2002: Alex Rodriguez

2003: Alex Rodriguez

2004: Vladimir Guerrero

2005: Alex Rodriguez

2006: Derek Jeter

2007: Alex Rodriguez

2008: Dustin Pedroia

2009: Joe Mauer

2010: Josh Hamilton

2011: Justin Verlander


AL Cy Young

2000: Pedro Martinez

2001: Mark Mulder

2002: Pedro Martinez

2003: Pedro Martinez

2004: Johan Santana

2005: Johan Santana

2006: Johan Santana

2007: CC Sabathia

2008: Roy Halladay

2009: Zack Greinke

2010: Felix Hernandez

2011: Justin Verlander


AL Rookie of the Year

2000: Terrence Long

2001: Ichiro Suzuki

2002: Eric Hinske

2003: Angel Berroa

2004: Bobby Crosby

2005:Huston Street

2006: Justin Verlander

2007: Dustin Pedroia

2008: Evan Longoria

2009: Andrew Bailey

2010: Neftali Feliz

2011: Jeremy Hellickson



2000: Barry Bonds

2001: Barry Bonds

2002: Barry Bonds

2003: Barry Bonds

2004: Barry Bonds

2005: Derrek Lee

2006: Albert Pujols

2007: Jake Peavy

2008: Albert Pujols

2009: Albert Pujols

2010: Joey Votto

2011: Matt Kemp


NL Cy Young

2000: Randy Johnson

2001: Randy Johnson

2002: Randy Johnson

2003: Mark Prior

2004: Randy Johnson

2005: Roger Clemens

2006: Brandon Webb

2007: Jake Peavy

2008: Tim Lincecum

2009: Adam Wainwright

2010: Roy Halladay

2011: Roy Halladay


NL Rookie of the Year

2000: Rick Ankiel

2001: Albert Pujols

2002: Austin Kearns

2003: Brandon Webb

2004: Khalil Greene

2005: Ryan Howard

2006: Hanley Ramirez

2007: Troy Tulowitzki

2008: Geovany Soto

2009: J.A. Happ

2010: Jason Heyward

2011: Craig Kimbrel

Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
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