As season winds down, it's time to hand out awards
As impressive as Angels sensation Mike Trout has been, it's a long shot at best he'll add the American League Most Valuable Player Award to the AL Rookie of the Year Award. The latter is a slam dunk.
For much of August, as Trout continued his amazing season, I was convinced he'd join Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki to become the third player to win both awards.
Now it's possible, but unlikely.
The AL MVP Award vote here -- even though I don't have an official one -- is for the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.
Through Sunday, Cabrera is second to Trout in batting average (.326 to Trout's .328), but leads the AL in runs batted in with 116. His 35 homers rank third.
Aside from leading the league in batting average, Trout is tops in runs (112) and in stolen bases (44).
Voters from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) cast their ballots after the regular season. They must be submitted before the postseason begins.
Cabrera will need a torrid final three and a half weeks, but he does have an outside shot at the AL Triple Crown (batting average, homers and RBIs).
Regardless, Trout's first season has been remarkable. The fact he isn't among the leaders in homers and RBIs will undoubtedly keep him from winning both awards.
Rangers teammates Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre are propelling the offensive machine that is the Texas Rangers to another AL West title, and each will get his share of votes. They just haven't been as dominant as Cabrera in as many categories.
There's the age-old argument that the MVP Award winner should come from a playoff-bound team, but I don't buy that as long as the winner is a clear-cut choice.
Even if the Tigers fail to make the postseason, Cabrera's credentials should easily satisfy BBWAA voters.
Tampa Bay's David Price is the choice for the AL Cy Young Award. How can he not get it?
There was a lot of buzz about Seattle's Felix Hernandez after his epic August, which included a perfect game. Since then, he's lost his last two starts and currently has a 13-7 record and a 2.67 ERA.
Price -- whose average fastball is 95.4 mph -- is a classic dominant left-hander, in the mold of Hall of Famers Steve Carlton and Sandy Koufax, as well as flame-thrower Randy Johnson.
Price, who leads the AL in wins (17) and ERA (2.54), is a big piece who makes the Rays' pitching staff one of the best in the AL.
The Angels' Jered Weaver (16-4, 2.86 ERA), who missed Friday's start because of biceps tendinitis, is in the AL Cy Young Award picture, as is the White Sox's Chris Sale (16-6, 2.88).
If Baltimore's Buck Showalter doesn't win the AL Manager of the Year Award, BBWAA voters should turn in their cards.
To say Buck is a miracle worker is an understatement. The Orioles haven't had a winning record or been to the postseason since 1997. Barring a collapse, they'll do both this year. Not only are they leading the AL Wild Card race, but winning the AL East is certainly a possibility the way they've been battling the Yankees.
When Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 15 after testing positive for testosterone, his season was over, and so was his chance of duplicating his All-Star Game MVP Award with the National League MVP Award. He still leads the league in batting average (.346), but that's just a faint memory of the season he might have had.
With Melky out of the picture, the NL MVP Award belongs to his teammate, catcher Buster Posey, who's a key reason why the Giants are leading the NL West. He's carried his team with the departure of Cabrera.
A strong case can be made for Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and even Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, the 2011 NL MVP Award winner, who leads in homers and is second in RBIs. As stated, I don't have an official vote, but I'd have problems voting for Braun considering he tested positive last year for PEDs.
Posey is batting .327, with 87 RBIs and 20 homers. McCutchen's .341 average is second only to Cabrera's. He leads the NL in runs (95), hits (173) and on-base percentage (.407). He has 25 homers and 84 RBIs.
The NL Cy Young Award is the toughest of all the awards this year.
Choosing between New York's R. A. Dickey, Washington's Gio Gonzalez and Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto may come down to the final weeks of the season.
If I were picking today, it would be Gonzalez, who's 18-7 with a 2.98 ERA. How well he pitches down the stretch -- keeping the Nationals in first place with Stephen Strasburg done for the season -- will ultimately influence voters.
Dickey has the best winning percentage, at 18-4 with a 2.64 ERA, but the Mets are headed for another losing season.
Cueto, leader for the award 10 days ago, hasn't pitched well recently. He lost his second straight game on Sunday, and now with a 2.71 ERA, he has lost his NL ERA lead to Dickey.
The NL Rookie of the Year Award is between Reds infielder Todd Frazier and Diamondbacks left-handed pitcher Wade Miley.
Frazier gets my vote for two reasons. The first is that he was important to the Reds when 2010 NL MVP Award winner Joey Votto was on the disabled list. Second, he is an everyday player with a team that is headed to the postseason. He's batting .284 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs.
That reasoning might be unfair to Miley. His 15 wins (he's lost nine) are the second most for a NL rookie since 1986. When he wins his 16th game, he'll tie the mark set by Jason Jennings for the Rockies in 2002. Plus, his 3.07 ERA is the best among rookie pitchers who've started more than 18 games.
The NL Manager of the Year Award is a no-brainer. The Nats' Davey Johnson will add his third trophy to his impressive collection. He won the AL Manager of the Year Award with the Orioles in 1997 and won the NL honor with the Mets in '86.
Before the season, the improving Nationals seemingly had a chance to make the postseason as one of the two Wild Cards. Today, they have the best record in the Major Leagues.
Johnson is a huge reason why. Enough said.
Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.