November 9, 2012
Internet Baseball Awards
For full results of this year's AL IBA voting, look here.
If Cabrera wins, it won't be the first time that the BBWAA will have chosen the veteran slugger over a rookie campaign for the ages. In 1996, Juan Gonzalez edged Alex Rodriguez for the BBWAA American League Most Valuable Player award. Baseball Prospectus' all-in-one value stat WARP had Gonzalez tied for 39th in the AL with a 3.7 WARP in 1996, well behind Alex Rodriguez' league-leading 8.6. One narrative at the time concerned Rodriguez' youth. Rodriguez had displayed a potent combination of average and power while playing a premium defensive position, all in his age-20 season. He could have been reasonably expected to go on to win MVP awards in the future, and indeed he did, three times.
Rodriguez was 21 years, three months, and 19 days old when he won the 1996 Internet Baseball Awards AL Player of the Year going away. (Gonzalez, who took home the BBWAA hardware twice, never won an IBA POY award.) But Rodriguez is now the second-youngest IBA AL POY in history, as Internet Baseball Awards voters have voted Mike Trout 2012 American League Player of the Year. Trout wins the award at 21 years, three months, and one day of age.
Trout made a huge difference for the Angels in 2012. He spent most of the season at a premium defensive position, and by all accounts he played the position well. He was also a dangerous baserunner, racking up 8.7 runs on the bases and 49 stolen bases at a high rate of success.
Trout received nearly three times the first-place votes that Miguel Cabrera, 2012's Triple Crown winner and the second-place finisher, did. But he wins by less than Rodriguez won in 1996.
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Justin Verlander was at the helm of a pennant-winning rotation and had another strong season en route to a commanding victory among the Internet Baseball Awards voters. Verlander repeats as Internet Baseball Award Pitcher of the Year winner, the first time that has happened since Johan Santana's three-year run from 2004 through 2006. Verlander's 4.8 WARP led all American League pitchers in 2012. David Price had a better ERA than Verlander, but he finished a distant second in IBA Pitcher of the Year balloting. Felix Hernandez, 2010's IBA Pitcher of the Year winner, rounds out the top three.
Leading an outstanding crop of rookie-status American League players, Mike Trout added the Internet Baseball Awards Rookie of the Year award to his Player of the Year award. Trout hit 1.5 times his age in home runs, if you round with a generous nature, and he finished well ahead of second-place finisher and fellow AL West outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes has had a remarkable journey, starting with his signing with Oakland as a free agent in February and ending by leading the surprising Athletics to a playoff berth. Cespedes also crashed the IBA AL POY top 10 along with Trout, finishing ninth in the voting.
Third-place finisher Yu Darvish finished ninth in IBA Pitcher of the Year voting. Most rookie leaders don't get that kind of respect across the Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year balloting.
Against long odds, Buck Showalter managed the Baltimore Orioles to an ALDS Game Five in his second full season with the team. In light of a payroll lagging behind the league average, intense competition in the megabucks American League East, and a new (old) general manager in Dan Duquette, the Orioles weren't expected to contend for anything. Showalter, traditionally a popular manager among the more statistically-inclined voting base of the Internet Baseball Awards, was rewarded for his steady hand with the Internet Baseball Awards Manager of the Year award in 2012. This is Showalter's second Manager of the Year award—he also won in 2004 with the Texas Rangers.