Thursday, October 11, 2012

BBA Awards, Part 2: Willie Mays

In part two of this series, I'm presenting my choices for the BBA's Willie Mays Award, our group's equivalent of the Rookie of the Year.

The American League award isn't even a contest. In fact, if it's unanimous—which it better be—I'm going to propose to BBA leadership that we change the name of this honor to the Mike Trout Award.

Texas's Yu Darvish and Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes had years that normally would place them in the discussion, but to their misfortune, they happened to debut in the same year as the second coming of...well, Willie Mays.

Willie Mays Award - AL
  1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  2. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
  3. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics

Early in the year, all the hype surrounded a National League rookie 14 months younger than Trout. Maybe that's the reason Trout's star shone as brightly as it did, because the spotlight was elsewhere.

Despite there being no comparison between the two, the only rookie in all of baseball who clearly had a better year than Washington's Bryce Harper was Trout. Sure, you could argue Arizona's Wade Miley—who receives my second-place vote—or that Darvish and/or Cespedes was better, but Harper put together a Rookie of the Year caliber season, and he gets my vote.

Third place was up for grabs, but I chose St. Louis' 18-game winner Lance Lynn ahead of a long list of solid candidates that included Cincinnati's Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart, Milwaukee's Norichika Aoki, and Houston's Lucas Harrell.

Willie Mays Award - NL
  1. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
  2. Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals

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