BBWAA announces finalists for four major awards
Miggy, Trout joined by Davis for AL MVP honors; Goldy, Cutch, Yadi up for NL prize
The coveted hardware won't be handed out until next week, but the finalists for the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America awards are now officially up for debate.
From 2012 Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera's return to the fore in the American League and the certainty of a new MVP in the National League through a pair of aces leading the Cy Young Award discussions and the year's top rookies and managers awaiting the outcome, this field is loaded with some of the game's top talent.
Awards will be announced next week with daily announcement shows at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network, beginning with Rookie of the Year awards on Monday, Managers of the Year on Nov. 12, Cy Youngs on Nov. 13 and MVPs on Nov. 14. Voting was conducted by BBWAA members prior to the end of the regular season, so postseason performances do not count.
Here are the finalists as announced Tuesday on MLB Network, each category listed in alphabetical order:
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Mike Trout
It's no wonder Cabrera, the Tigers' slugging third baseman is back in the mix -- he might have had a better overall season than his Triple Crown season of a year ago, the first since 1967. But the Angels' Trout is very much back in the mix, the man who pushed the conversation a year ago, and this year's superstar slugger of them all, the Orioles' Chris Davis.
If Cabrera makes it back-to-back MVPs, he'll be the first American League player to do so since Frank Thomas of the White Sox in 1993-94. Already this awards season, he has won the Hank Aaron Award, and once again doubled up as the Players Choice AL Outstanding Player and overall Player of the Year.
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina
The one thing that is known is there definitely will be a new MVP, with Buster Posey of the Giants not in the hunt for 2013, leaving three outstanding candidates for this year's honor. Another thing known is that this might be the most discussed award over the next week.
Goldschmidt, the winner of the NL Hank Aaron Award, might have had the best stats -- leading the NL in RBIs by a margin of 16 with 125 and matching Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez with 36 homers. But the D-backs didn't make the playoffs, finishing .500 and 11 games behind the NL West champion Dodgers.
McCutchen, meanwhile, led the Pirates to their first postseason appearance since 1992, and Molina made myriad contributions offensively and without peer behind the plate to the Cardinals' run into the playoffs and to the World Series.
AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma, Max Scherzer
With Scherzer breaking out to a stellar 21-3 record and keeping up with the AL leaders with a 2.90 ERA, the Tigers ace seems best positioned to go from finalist to recipient. But in the Rangers' Darvish, who led the Majors with 277 strikeouts, and the Mariners' Iwakuma, third in the AL with a 2.66 ERA, both present candidacies that, if voted to the top, would bring the first Japanese-born Cy Young winner.
NL Cy Young: Jose Fernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright
The dominance of Kershaw over the course of the season has the Dodgers' left-handed ace at the forefront, a Majors-leading 1.83 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. This guy was simply a win waiting to happen for the Dodgers every five days, and a second Cy Young in three years seems likely.
But Fernandez had one of the most impressive seasons for a rookie pitcher in recent memory, posting a 2.19 ERA in 28 starts and allowed a Majors-low .182 opponents' batting average. And Wainwright was the veteran rock of a Cardinals pitching staff that went through a lot of change and still became key to an NL Central crown for St. Louis.
AL Manager of the Year: John Farrell, Terry Francona, Bob Melvin
The Red Sox had a turnaround that was historic before they went into October to make it even more so with a World Series title, so Farrell has to be considered a front-runner for this award. But Francona gave the Indians a push all the way into the Wild Card playoff, and Melvin -- the 2012 winner -- guided the A's to a second straight NL West title.
NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez, Clint Hurdle, Don Mattingly
All Hurdle did was lead the Pirates to their first postseason berth since '92, so he's in pretty good position to win what would be his first Manager of the Year honor. Gonzalez, meanwhile, led the Braves to a dominant season in the NL East, and Mattingly directed a talented Dodgers team that went through a lot of transition to a runaway NL West title.
AL Rookie of the Year: Chris Archer, Jose Iglesias, Wil Myers
Archer made an impact in the Rays' rotation and Iglesias wound up being a huge acquisition for the Tigers to help them down the stretch and into the playoffs, but Myers was a name on everyone's lips dating back to the Winter Meetings, and when he made his debut in June, he didn't disappoint.
NL Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller, Yasiel Puig
Fernandez being a finalist for the Cy Young probably is a tip that he's a leader in the clubhouse in the Rookie award, but he's up against two very interesting debut seasons. In Puig, we're talking about a meteoric rise to superstardom that gave the Dodgers a huge boost toward running away with the division. In Miller, who went 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 31 starts, a rookie who stepped into the rotation when the Cardinals needed him most, and delivered.
Now, just who will get the awards remains to be seen, awaiting next week's announcements, starting Monday and ending Thursday.
What we have now is some room to talk it out, discuss the possibilities and prepare for the hardware to be distributed to the best of the best.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.