Sunday, October 7, 2012

My All 2012 Team

C-Buster Posey
Tough call between him and Yadier Molina, but I'll go with the likely NL MVP and his superior offensive numbers.  The 2010 Rookie of the Year led both leagues in batting with his .336 mark, becoming the first National League backstop in 70 years (shout out to Ernie Lombardi) to win a batting title.  He also posted the best OPS+ in the majors, drove in 103 runs and accumulated 7.2 bWAR. 2012 was a surprisingly good year for catchers across the board with Joe Mauer, A.J. Pierzynski, Miguel Montero, Carlos Ruiz, Wilin Rosario, Matt Wieters, Jonathan Lucroy, and Salvador Perez all producing big numbers, among others.

Honorable Mention; Molina

1B Prince Fielder
The hefty slugger did not appear phased by his new giant contract nor his transition to the American League. As expected, his power numbers sagged somewhat, but at the end of the day Fielder still put together an incredible all-around season.  He batted a robust .313/.412/.528, walked more than he struck out, and reached the 30 home run benchmark for the sixth consecutive season. And ohbytheway, Cecil Fielder's son played all 162 games, something he's accomplished in three of the past four years. Look out, Cal Ripken Jr.

Honorable Mention; Albert Pujols

2B Robinson Cano
Another MVP caliber season from Cano, who piled up 8.2 bWAR while setting career highs in runs scored, homers, walks, total bases, slugging, OPS, OPS+, and extra base hits. The Yankees keystone ended the season on fire by rattling off nine straight multi-hit games to close out the year, helping New York secure another division title.

Honorable Mention; Aaron Hill

3B Miguel Cabrera
Triple Crown. 'Nuff said.

Honorable Mention; Adrian Beltre

SS Ian Desmond
After a pair of disappointing seasons in 2010 and 2011 (.261/.303/.374 combined), Washington's shortstop busted out this year. His power--25 circuit drives and a .511 SLG--developed to supplement his already solid defense and baserunning. Was one of three shortstops to go 20/20 this season, along with Jimmy Rollins and Hanley Ramirez. Expect another strong performance in 2013, his age 27 season.

Honorable Mention; Derek Jeter

LF Ryan Braun
The 2011 NL MVP deserves to win it again, for he has the best numbers of this year's candidates and nearly dragged the Brewers back to the playoffs. Braun topped the Senior Circuit in runs scored, home runs, extra base hits, slugging, and total bases. He and Mike Trout were the only players to go 30/30 this year.

Honorable Mention; Matt Holliday

CF Mike Trout
Unquestionably the most valuable player in baseball this year, Trout compiled 10.7 bWAR to join Barry Bonds and Adrian Beltre as the only players in this millennium to have a season worth at least 10 bWAR. The Millville Meteor launched 30 moon shots and led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals despite spending most of April in the minor leagues. The next Mickey Mantle should become the third player, along with Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki, to take home Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season.

Honorable Mention; Andrew McCutchen

RF Giancarlo Stanton
Despite missing 39 games this year and finishing April with one long ball, the 22 year-old All-Star still hammered 37 home runs and posted the best slugging percentage and HR/AB ratio in the major leagues. A lot went wrong for the Marlins this year, but Stanton's continued improvement was one of the few things that went right. If anybody has a  50 home run season in the near future, it's going to be this guy.

Honorable Mention; Carlos Beltran

DH Edwin Encarnacion
The 29 year-old finally broke out--Jose Bautista style--after teasing the baseball world with his power stroke for years. E-5 posted the best AB/HR rate in the American League , finished third in slugging (.557) and RBI (110) while his 42 big flies placed him fourth. On an injury-riddled Blue Jays squad, Encarnacion was one of the few bright spots.

Honorable Mention; Billy Butler

RHP Justin Verlander
Virtually the same stats as last year, only with seven fewer wins. He's still the best pitcher on the planet.

Honorable Mention: R.A. Dickey

LHP Clayton Kershaw
Like Verlander, Kershaw essentially replicated last year's masterpiece, albeit with seven fewer wins. Looks like the Dodgers have another Sandy Koufax in the making.

Honorable Mention; David Price

CL Fernando Rodney
Impossible to choose between Rodney, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman, but it appears Rodney was just a touch better than both of his NL counterparts; his 3.7 bWAR barely edge out Chapman's 3.6 and Kimbrel's 3.2. The first time All-Star broke Dennis Eckersley's record for lowest ERA, minimum 50 innings, with his microscopic 0.60 ERA. He also converted 48 saves, second only to Jim Johnson, posted a 0.77 WHIP and struck out more than five batters for every walk.

Honorable Mention; Craig Kimbrel

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