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SportsColumnistsDavid Lennon

And the winners are: Newsday's picks for postseason awards

R.A. Dickey celebrates the final out of the

R.A. Dickey celebrates the final out of the seventh inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. (Sept. 27, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America choose the winners of the game’s prestigious awards at the conclusion of the regular season.

This year, it is David Lennon’s turn to submit a ballot for National League Manager of the Year. He’s prohibited from making his selection public until after the award is announced in early November, but here’s his thinking on the other major awards.



I've been voting on these awards since 1995, and I really can't remember a more polarizing MVP race than the one between Cabrera and Mike Trout.

There was the pitcher vs. position player debate in 1999, when Pudge Rodriguez narrowly edged Pedro Martinez, who went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA to win the Cy Young.

There was the New York bias argument in 2006, when Justin Morneau beat Derek Jeter, whose 5.4 WAR dwarfed Morneau's 4.0.

Which brings us to Cabrera vs. Trout, Triple Crown vs. WAR, Old School vs. New School. Well, in this case, beauty -- or value -- really is in the eye of the beholder. And Cabrera gets the MVP here in a tight race not only for becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 but also accelerating his production in the second half to help push Detroit into the postseason, whereas the Angels fell just short.


A quick glance shows that David Price led in both wins (20) and ERA (2.56) but Verlander is close behind in both categories (17, 2.64) and earned the top spots in two other significant columns with 238 1/3 innings and 239 strikeouts. Verlander also was second in opponents' batting average and his .217 was a bit better than Price's .226. Unlike the MVP, this award simply goes to the pitcher who had the best performance, and Verlander deserves to be the first one from the AL to win back-to-back Cys since Pedro Martinez (1999-2000).



Unfortunately, this is going to feel like a consolation prize for Trout, who was a real threat to join Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Fred Lynn (1975) as the only players to win both this award and the MVP in the same season. It's just a case of bad timing for Yoenis Cespedes, whose 23 homers, 82 RBIs and .292/.356/.505 slash line would be award-worthy most years.


BUCK SHOWALTER I ORIOLESAll of the Bob Melvin loyalists -- are there any out there? -- might have a problem with this pick, but anyone familiar with "Moneyball" knows how much the manager is valued in Billy Beane's universe. Other than answering the phone and making sure everyone gets on the plane, not much. Showalter is the pick because he has prodded, cajoled and manipulated the roster, as Buck does, to get Baltimore into the playoffs for the first time since 1997.


Like the AL, another close race, but with more qualified candidates bunched together. Posey put up impressive numbers from a high-impact position -- his .987 OPS was even better than Ryan Braun's .957 -- and he had to help cushion the blow when Melky Cabrera was lost to a PED suspension. Posey also slugged .624 with 18 RBIs in the final month as the Giants finished eight games ahead of the Dodgers for the division title. As for the others, I still have doubts about Braun, who dodged an alleged positive for testosterone last year after earning the MVP. Andrew McCutchen also was MVP-worthy, but the Pirates took him down when they went in the tank the final month.


Dickey is the obvious feel-good candidate here: knuckleball pitcher, inspiring story, overcame an early-season abdominal tear. But he's much more than that. Dickey had the numbers, too, narrowly beating Clayton Kershaw in innings (233 2/3) and strikeouts (230). His 2.73 ERA was second only to Kershaw's 2.53. For those discounting wins, you have to make an exception with Dickey, who somehow got to 20 victories for a team that had only 74 wins. He also led in complete games (five) and shutouts (three).


Harper, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, arrived in D.C. with ridiculous expectations and pretty much delivered with 22 homers, 98 runs scored and 144 hits in 139 games for the NL East champs. Putting up numbers is one thing, but the brash Harper, still a teenager until next week, didn't wilt under the spotlight and got better as the season went on. In the last month, Harper batted .340/.411/.680 with seven homers and 14 RBIs.

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