Yes, we’ve entered the 21st century. It’s a big change from when I started and we submitted our nominations via stone tablet.
The winners will be announced at 6 p.m. EST next week on MLB Network starting Monday, Nov. 12 with the American and National Rookie of the Year Awards. Then the big ones around here, the AL and NL Manager of the Year, will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Cy Young will be announced the following night and the shows will finish on Thursday, Nov. 15 with the MVP Awards.
Also new this year is an announcement of the finalists – the top three in each league for the rookie, manager and Cy Young and Top 5 for MVP. That will be aired this Wednesday at 6 p.m. on MLB Network.
A little spoiler alert: Orioles manager Buck Showalter will be one of the finalists for AL Manager of the Year. And this is no inside knowledge; just common sense.
Showalter, who took a 69-93 team in 2011 and helped make it a playoff club that won 93 regular season games in 2012, is a no-brainer for the Top 3. He has already won the AL manager award given out by the Sporting News.
Showalter’s chief competition for the BBWAA manager award is Oakland’s Bob Melvin, who led his small-market A’s to a 94-68 record and an AL West crown.
Showalter is more of a media darling – and a better quote -- than Melvin; though both are exceptionally accessible and cordial. So there likely won’t be an obvious bias there.
The one thing that might hurt Showalter is that the vote – which is given to two BBWAA members that cover baseball in each of the 14 American League cities – is not due until after the regular season ends (but before the playoffs start). And because the A’s won the West in such dramatic fashion, Melvin could get the nod.
Of course, Showalter’s team won the Wild Card out of the always brutal AL East, reaching the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. That certainly will count for something.
Both deserve it; likely only one can win (though there could be a tie, I suppose). But both Showalter and Melvin will be named as finalists on Wednesday. The guess is that Chicago’s first-year manager Robin Ventura will be the third finalist.
As for other Orioles making the finalist list, Wei-Yin Chen has an outside (but unlikely) shot at the top 3 in rookie voting. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the expected winner and Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes should be in the mix. The third finalist isn’t as clear cut, but the best guess is that it will be Texas’ Yu Darvish, the more heralded import from Japan’s baseball league.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones could sneak in as a Top 5 vote-getter in AL MVP; he should finish in the top seven or so, anyway. Closer Jim Johnson has the best shot at Cy Young for any Orioles pitcher, but it would be a major surprise if he was one of the three finalists. Although it’s a pitching award, it usually goes to starters. And Tampa Bay’s Fernando Rodney has the best chance to crack the Top 3 among closers.