No, we don't yet know who's going to win Major League Baseball's most prestigious awards. Well, except we know that Mike Trout's going to be the American League's Rookie of the Year. But we do have the finalists for the big prizes, and next week we'll have the winners.
This year, they're doing it differently.
Before this year, the BBWAA would simply announce their major awards in the second half of November, via press releases and with no preamble.
No more. Next week, the awards will be announced on a series of special programs on the MLB Network. But first, the BBWAA has given us a list of finalists for each of the four major awards in each league. Below, the American League finalists ...
Most Valuable Player
Should win: Trout, because he played the best and added more wins to his team's ledger than anyone else, despite not arriving for good in the majors until late April.
Will win: Cabrera, because he won the Triple Crown and BBWAA voters are attracted to shiny objects.
Odd man out: Alex Gordon. Don't laugh. He's a lot better than you think. Same as last year. Locking up Gordon was the smartest thing the Royals have done in a long time (and yes, we know the bar's pretty low).
Cy Young Award
Should win: Verlander, who pitched 27 innings -- three complete games worth -- more than Price, and also posted a significantly better strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Will win: Price, because he finished the season with the league's best record (tied with Weaver) and the league's best ERA. And to be fair, Price did pitch in a tougher division than Verlander.
Odd man out: Rays closer Fernando Rodney, whose 0.60 ERA was the lowest ever for a major leaguer with at least 50 innings. I will note, however, that when Dennis Eckersley did basically the same thing in 1990, he finished fifth in the Cy Young balloting.
Rookie of the Year
Should win: Trout
Will win: Trout
Odd men out: Oakland's Tommy Milone, but he's not alone; in other seasons, American League starting pitchers Jarrod Parker, Scott Diamond, Matt Moore, and Wei-Yin Chen would have been solid Rookie of the year candidates.
Manager of the Year
Bob Melvin (Athletics: 94-68; expected record, via RS/RA: 92-70)
Buck Showalter (Orioles: 93-69; exp. 82-80)
Robin Ventura ( : 85-77; exp. 88-74)
Will win: Showalter, because the Orioles went 29-9 in one-run games, and because a lot more people were still awake to see the last outs of the Orioles' 93 victories. It'll be his third award, as he won 18 years ago and eight years ago.
Odd man out: Bobby Valentine. In his own mind.