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| Friday, July 25, 2014



MLB's best and worst of 2012





With the Major League Baseball regular season over, it’s time to look back at the players who should take home awards for excellent (and horrible) performances during the year.

American League MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Cabrera won the first offensive Triple Crown since Boston Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967. Cabrera absolutely crushed opposing pitching, finishing with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs. Perhaps he should split his award with offseason addition Prince Fielder, who gave added protection to Cabrera in the lineup.

National League MVP: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

Some questioned if Posey could bounce back after sustaining a broken fibula in May 2011, especially at a position as physical as catcher. Posey proved to be the main offensive force for the 2012 season, hitting a stellar .336 average to go along with 24 home runs and 103 RBIs. In addition, Posey spent much of the season playing catcher, taking additional days off to keep himself fresh.

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Detroit

Verlander is coming off another great season that saw him finish in the top five in four pitching categories and his team win another AL Central crown. The righty figures to be the first AL pitcher to win the award two years in a row since Pedro Martinez did it in 1999 and 2000.

NL Cy YounG: R.A. Dickey, New York Mets

The story of R.A. Dickey is great, the rest of the Mets not so much. Dickey won 20 games despite pitching on a team that finished below .500 and frequently gave Dickey little or no run support. He also posted a remarkable 44.2 innings streak without allowing an earned run. Oh, and his main pitch is the knuckleball, one of the most difficult pitches to throw.

AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Some will support Trout for MVP based on an exceptional season offensively, which saw the rookie hit .326 and lead the league in runs scored and stolen bases. He also hit 30 home runs and played some of the best center field all year. Keep in mind, Trout outplayed teammate Albert Pujols, and Trout is only 21 years old.

NL Rookie of the Year: Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks

This is wide open, as there are several candidates who could take the award home, including Washington’s Bryce Harper. Miley gets the nod after posting a good rookie season with 16 wins, 144 punch outs and an impressive 1.18 WHIP.

AL Villain of the Year: Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox

Technically Valentine was just a manager, but he was certainly quite responsible for much of the Sox failure. In just one season, Valentine called out his top players and undermined his coaching staff during the year. The result: a last-place finish, the worst record for the Red Sox since 1965 and Boston looking for a new manager.

NL Villain of the Year: Melky Cabrera, San Francisco

For most of his career, Cabrera was an above-average outfielder. In 2012, he hit for an NL-leading .346 average and won the All-Star Game MVP. Turns out Cabrera, who will be a free agent, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. An associate of his tried to cover up the positive test through a fake website, and then Cabrera finally withdrew his name from the conversation for the NL batting title.

esaltzman@theeagleonline.com