Saturday, October 6, 2012

2012 Willie Mays Award

The Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (VSBB) is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA). In this blog post, we present our ballot for the Willie Mays Award, which is given by the BBA to the top rookie in each league. Similar to the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the alliance is organized into different chapters. Gus, the founder of the VSBB, is President of the alliance's Other Baseball Chapter.

Choosing the top rookie for 2012 in the American League was a no-brainer, but the selections in the National League were quite a bit more difficult.

In the senior circuit, we decided to give the nod to pitching phenom Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rookie southpaw went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Although he doesn't strike out a ton of hitters (6.7 K/9), Miley walked a miserly 1.7 batters per nine innings and did a good job of keeping hitters in the park (0.7 HR/9).

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals can do it all on the field. Hit, hit for power, run, field -- you name it, he does it well. Harper hit .270 with 22 HR and 59 RBI, while swiping 18 bases. One of the few blemishes on Harper's record occurred when the Nationals clinched a playoff spot and he was completely unaware of the significance of the win. The fireworks going off started to make sense to the 19-year-old when he was handed a playoff T-shirt. He's still a teenager, so one can only imagine how good he will become when he matures.

Reds' infielder Todd Frazier was one of the reasons why the team survived a serious injury to Joey Votto and breezed to the NL Central title. Frazier hit .273 with 19 homers and 67 RBI.
My National League ballot is:
  1. Wade Miley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Bryce Harper, CF, Washington Nationals
  3. Todd Frazier, 1B/3B, Cincinnati Reds
The decision in the American League couldn't have been any easier. Mike Trout of the Angels had the best rookie season in the live ball era (since 1920). That's right: better than Albert Pujol's 2001 breakout year, better than Mark Fidrych's dream season of 1976 and more impressive than Ted Williams' 1939 debut. Trout posted a .326 average with 30 homers and 83 RBI, but he also scored a phenomenal 129 runs and stole 49 bases. His defense, of course, was outstanding. The man is a human highlight reel.

A pair of Oakland A's round out the remainder of my ballot. Jarrod Parker went 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes also had a fine rookie year, hitting .292 with 23 homers and 82 RBI. He swiped 16 bases, but due to sub-par defense only merits a 3rd-place ranking.
My American League ballot is:
  1. Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles Angels
  2. Jarrod Parker, SP, Oakland Athletics
  3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF/CF, Oakland Athletics