The Baseball Writers' Association of America is getting all marketing-savvy with their awards, announcing the finalists a week before the actual awards. The Rookies of the Year will be revealed on Nov. 12, Managers of the Year on Nov. 13, Cy Youngs on the 14th, and MVPs on the 15th. The buzz will be better until then, and so will the pointless arguments. The finalists for the National League are in, and we're here to sift through them with you:
Most Valuable Player
Buster Posey (.336/.408/.549, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 7.2 rWAR)
Ryan Braun (.319/.391/.595, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 6.8 rWAR)
Andrew McCutchen (.327/.400/.553, 31 HR, 96 RBI, 7.0 rWAR)
Yadier Molina (.315/.373/.501, 22 HR, 76 RBI, 6.7 rWAR)
Chase Headley (.286/.376/.498, 31 HR, 115 RBI, 6.0 rWAR)
Should win: Buster Posey. A horribly biased observer, like me, can break the statistical tie by awarding him bonus points for managing a pitching staff. Also of note: Chase Headley led the National League in RBI despite playing in Petco Park. It feels like we aren't freaking out about that enough. I know that RBI isn't a good evaluative stat. Still.
Will win: Posey, for the above, but also because of the top three (with Braun and McCutchen being the other two), only his team made the playoffs. Which shouldn't matter, but whatever.
Odd man out: David Wright looked like an early favorite, hitting .351/.441/.563 before the break. He managed just .258/.334/.416 after, though, and he fell out of the top five.
Cy Young Award
Should win: R.A. Dickey. When in doubt, go with the innings, and Dickey led the league. He also led the league in strikeouts, which was important playing in front of a Bay/Valdespin/Duda outfield at times. It's interesting to note the similarities between Kershaw's last two seasons, and the differences in how they were perceived.
Will win: Dickey. It would have been tempting to guess Kimbrel here because he's a freak, and I would have thought the voters liked those, but there ain't no Kimbrel . But Dickey is also a freak, and he has the magic 20-win marker.
Odd man out: Kimbrel. He had a great season, and if there were ever a time to honor a reliever, this was one of them. Johnny Cueto would have been a solid pick, too, especially after accounting for park, but his late-season slide cost him dearly.
Rookie of the Year
Should win: Bryce Harper. He has the buzz, and his nice September helped erase an award-threatening slump.
Will win: Harper. Am I giving the BBWAA too much credit? They're three for three so far, which rarely happens. But while Wade Miley had a fantastic season -- almost 200 innings with a 3.33 ERA in a hitter's park? -- Harper was an all-around beast who helped the team with his legs, glove, and arm even when he was slumping.
Odd man out: Wilin Rosario swung at the nomination before he let it get past him in the dirt, but he also hit 28 home runs. In another season, he could have been the winner.
Manager of the Year
Should win: Bruce Bochy. Again, bias! But he dealt with the Melky Cabrera suspension, the Lincecum immolation, and other assorted hiccups en route to a division title. He drives Giants fans insane until he turns into a brilliant super-villain for the playoffs, but he's pretty good in the regular season, too. Just don't think about Brandon Belt, and this makes a lot of sense.
Will win: Davey Johnson. The Nationals were slightly more surprising than the Reds, which gives him the edge over Baker.
Odd man out: Charlie Manuel. No, seriously, hear me out. The Phillies were hosed from the start, with Halladay hurt, Howard and Utley slow to come back, and Victorino and Pence forgetting how to hit. They still made a last-minute surge in the wild-card race, which is the sign of a team that hasn't given up. Or random variance! But probably a team that hasn't given up. Unless it was just one of those things.
This is the most I've ever thought about the Manager of the Year award in my life.
Oh, and here are the American League's BBWAA award finalists.