2012 BBA Awards: Connie Mack (MOY) and Willie Mays (ROY)

As card carrying members of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance, we are honored to be able to participate in their year-end awards voting.  We'll be separating our year-end awards posts into three posts.  Today, we're looking at the Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year) and the Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year).  Last year's post can be seen here.

Like last year, we ranked our ballots.  Today, we're presenting you with our top three in each league in order.  We hope you'll chime in.

Connie Mack Award - American League

1. Buck Showalter - Baltimore Orioles
2. Bob Melvin - Oakland A's
3. Robin Ventura - Chicago White Sox

Showalter probably wins this one going away - no one predicted them to emerge out of the vaunted AL East - but no one here would argue if Melvin was picked.  Showalter defied all odds; despite his gruff personality and demanding ways, he managed to rally the Orioles behind his leadership and there's a buzz in Baltimore for the first time in a long time.  Melvin took an A's team that ranks second to last in payroll from a written-off 74 win ball club to a division winner overnight.  Raise your hand if you could name five Oakland A's starters heading into this season... ok, you in the back, put your hand down because you're lying.  Both managers deserve a lot of credit - unfortunately, there is only one award so we went with Buck.  Ventura did a fantastic job in his first year replacing Ozzie Guillen; in any other year, he gets a lot of consideration for this award but this year, there are two really strong candidates so Robin gets lumped in with a host of other managers, here.  Had he been able to seal the deal and win the divison, he would have gotten a lot more consideration.  Joe Girardi deserves a lot of credit, too.  The Yankees dealt with a host of injuries this year and that ball club is one of the oldest in baseball but Girardi has managed to keep that squad together and they're playing well.

Connie Mack Award - National League

1. Davey Johnson - Washington Nationals
2. Dusty Baker - Cincinnati Reds
3. Bruce Bochy - SF Giants

We all agreed that Davey Johnson was the right guy here.  He has the Nationals playing with... wait for it... Natitude and managed a team that was "one or two years away," by most accounts, to the best record in baseball.  Dusty Baker was on all three of our lists so I made him our second choice... he loses his closer (Ryan Madson) in the spring for the season and then loses his all-world first baseman (Joey Votto) for a long stretch in the middle of the pennant race and somehow, Dusty still found a way to piece together a division title.  Bruce Bochy's story is similar to Baker's... we have come to expect his teams to compete and be successful but when your ace is ineffective for a good chunk of the season and when you lose your closer (Brian Wilson) and the NL Batting Champ* (Melky Cabrera), you're not supposed to win.  Fredi Gonzalez also deserves some credit for righting the ship after last year's epic meltdown.

Willie Mays Award - American League

1. Mike Trout - OF, LA Angels
2. Yu Darvish - SP, Texas Rangers
3. Yoenis Cespedes - OF, Oakland A's

Trout wins this one in a landslide.  He nearly went 30HR/50SB which has only been done twice before and he seemed to make a nightly appearance on ESPN's Web Gems segment.  Darvish anchored the Rangers staff this season while amassing 221 strikeouts.  With the numbers he put up, Cespedes would have likely won the Rookie of the Year award in the NL - 82 RBI and 79 R in 129 games for the Cuban defector.

Willie Mays Award - National League

1. Bryce Harper - OF, Washington Nationals
2a. Norichika Aoki - OF, Milwaukee Brewers
2b Willin Rosario - C, Colorado Rockies

Bryce Harper wins this award partially because he's Bryce Harper and mainly because of what he meant to the Nationals.  When Jayson Werth went down, the Nationals needed a spark and he provided.  The 19 year-old phenom was under a microscope like no other and he produced.  Harper scored 98 runs (5th in the NL) in 139 games and made the all-star team in his first season - his 5 WAR was best among rookies in the NL.  That being said, the other guys on this list have great arguments for this award.  Rosario, a catcher, led all rookies in OPS (.843) and HR (28).  Aoki's 150 hits are more than Rosario and Harper and he scored 81 runs while playing Gold Glove caliber defense (Harper led all NL outfielders this season with 7 errors so Aoki has him there).  We also considered Todd Frazier of the Reds - what he did to buoy that team is nothing short of remarkable.


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