It wasn’t a difficult vote. Mike Trout had another terrific year. Josh Donaldson was just a little better. Twenty-two other voters for American League Most Valuable Player agreed, and Donaldson won handily.
In filling out my ballot, I talked with many people in baseball, and then the pick of Donaldson was even easier.Lorenzo Cain was my third place vote, and Manny Machado got my vote for fourth.
It’s interesting that the three most publicized players to burst onto the major league scene in 2012, Machado, Trout and Bryce Harper, have fulfilled their promise and could be in the MVP conversation annually.
The first four votes weren’t hard. For the next six players on the ballot, I seriously considered 10-15 others. The only player on the ballot I ignored was Dallas Keuchel, who finished fifth.
I would have voted for Keuchel for the Cy Young award, so I’m OK with that. Machado was an easy fourth place vote. Four voters gave him a third place vote, but I thought Cain was the best player on an impressive Royals team. Machado’s power, speed and defense have me spoiled. I watch him every day, and sometimes I thought that perhaps I was overrating him. I wasn’t.
Three voters left Machado off their ballot, and only 11 of the 30 included Davis, who finished 14th. I thought his late power surge was enough to get him a place on the 10-man ballot. There are always a couple of interesting votes. Besides leaving Keuchel off my ballot, I was one of nine who didn’t vote for Beltre. He was one of the handful, like Prince Fielder, Jason Kipnis, and J.D. Martinez, who made it to my final cut.
The most interesting votes came from Chris Assenheimer of the Chronicle-Telegram, who gave Nelson Cruz a second place vote over Trout and ignored Machado. George King of The New York Post cast the only ballot for Kendrys Morales, a fourth place vote, and Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times cast a 10th place vote for Alex Rodriguez.
With the award season nearing its end, it’s time for teams to set their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles have 37 players, and before midnight, they must add players from the organization they wish to protect. Left-handed pitcher Chris Lee looks like a good bet to be added, and recently right-hander Andrew Triggs has gotten some attention, too. There are several players on the 40-man who are expendable, but so far only Jorge Rondon was taken off the roster, and that was to make room for Vance Worley.
Players from outside the organization can be added ahead of the draft. This is just the deadline for those within the organization. The Rule 5 draft is Dec. 10.