We're now three-quarters of the way into the season. With that in mind, we asked our experts to give their picks for the major MLB awards.
The voters -- Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, Jerry Crasnick, Keith Law, Buster Olney, David Schoenfield and Jayson Stark -- were asked to give us their top five choices (in order) for AL/NL MVP and Cy Young, as well as their top three choices for AL/NL manager and rookie of the year.
After tallying the votes, the results for each category are noted below. Note: The voters were asked whom they would vote for if the season ended today, not who they think will win when the 2012 season is in the books.
There have been just two rookies in baseball history -- Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) -- to win the MVP award, and Trout, who leads the American League in batting, stolen bases and runs, is poised to become the third. He even leads all of baseball in wins above replacement despite spending the first month of the season in Triple-A. If he wears down toward the end of the season and Cabrera goes on a tear, the voters might have to think twice, but there is no denying that the AL MVP award is Trout's to lose at this point.
@espn_mlb MIKE TROUT! 5 Tool player w/Great clubhouse presence. He already carries a team by himself. Dont rob this kid because hes a rookie
— JD (@Jay27Halos) August 15, 2012
As you've probably heard, the Pirates haven't had a winning season (or made the playoffs) since 1992. And if either of those streaks is to end, McCutchen will be the primary reason why. He's been slowly improving year after year, and is finally fulfilling his potential this year. Posey has really come on of late after losing most of 2011 to injury, and he could end up winning if the Giants make the playoffs and Pirates don't, as many voters insist on their MVP coming from a playoff team.
@espn_mlb Posey for NL MVP ... he's got the numbers, he catches a great staff, and he has had to overcome the injury from last year
— James Garnett (@topchef58) August 15, 2012
AL Cy Young
Verlander is a true definition of a workhorse. Last year, he led the AL in innings, strikeouts and ERA en route to winning the MVP and Cy Young awards. This year, he again is leading the AL in innings and K's, and he's second in ERA to Weaver. The difference between the two is that Verlander has thrown almost 40 more innings than Weaver, which is why he has the edge. Similarly, Sale and Price have been almost as good as Verlander on a per inning basis, but fall far behind in terms of innings pitched. Hernandez has thrown a comparable number of innings to Verlander, but plays in an extremely pitcher-friendly park.
@espn_mlb AL has to be Jered Weaver, the .192 avg of the opponent hitters is amazing.
— Alex Carrión Velo (@alexc_velo) August 15, 2012
NL Cy Young
Jayson Stark outlined the case for Chapman earlier this week, and you can already feel his candidacy gaining steam. He's having one of the most dominant reliever seasons ever, and he could really make a leap if the starters listed above him begin to slip. Dickey has been one of baseball's feel-good stories, and he could lock up the award with another strong month.
@espn_mlb NL- Aroldis Chapman....been historically dominant in a role the team has had issues with in recent years...automatic for them late
— Bryan Doherty (@BDohertyTSHQ1) August 15, 2012
AL Rookie of the Year
It's hard to remember a time when an award was as clear-cut as this one. Even in 2001, when Ichiro won MVP and ROY, he barely beat out Jason Giambi for MVP. Trout has a chance to run away with both awards, an unprecedented feat. Yoenis Cespedes, who is hitting .306/.367/.508, would be a standout choice in any non-Trout season, but his incredible debut performance has been overshadowed by Trout.
@espn_mlb AL ROY: Mike Trout. A rookie putting up veteran numbers. Enough said.
— Gabrielle Castillo (@ciaogabrielle) August 15, 2012
NL Rookie of the Year
Note: Lance Lynn is no longer rookie-eligible because of service time accrued in 2011.
Back in July, it looked as if Harper would run away with this one, but he has been in a major slump since the All-Star break, while Miley has simply put up one quality start after another. Harper almost certainly has a brighter future than the 25-year-old southpaw, but the award isn't for the player with the brightest future, but rather the rookie having the best season. Right now, that's Miley.
— Mike Kelly (@King_Fantasy) August 15, 2012
AL Manager of the Year
This is one award that could easily come down to "which team made the playoffs?" All three of these clubs seemingly have overachieved this year, and their respective skippers deserve a lot of credit. The deciding factor likely will be which one is still managing come October.
NL Manager of the Year
Unlike the AL race, this one has a couple of different archetypes for manager of the year. Hurdle and Mattingly represent the overachievers, while Johnson represents the team that people expected to be good but even exceeded those expectations. The Nats have been so good that it's hard not to see Johnson winning his second manager of the year award. (He won the AL version with the Orioles in 1997.)