AL Rookie of the Year: Game of Votes

If the commercials on the television, radio and internet are any indication, election season is in full swing. Members of our state and federal governments are out there fighting hard for your vote and just as one voting race is picking up steam, another has come to an end. The Sporting News MLB Rookie of the Year voting has concluded and to the surprise of no one, Mike Trout is the AL Rookie of the Year. This isn't the official RoY award, but it is still a great honor nonetheless.

With a grand total of 88 out of the 92 votes, Trout was far ahead of the two runners-up Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes. It is unreasonable to expect a unanimous vote from even a small pool of judges, yet many people have expressed surprise that Mike Trout did not receive 100% of the votes. Darvish and Cespedes are fine players and would have made a much stronger showing if it were any other season than the year of the Trout. That said, one must question the logic in voting for either one of them given Mike Trout’s incredible season.

A total of four votes did not go to Mike Trout. It’s obvious he won’t miss them, but seeing those four outliers does raise some questions. What were the voters basing their choice on? It is true that Yu Darvish has recorded more wins than Trout, and wins are what count the most in this sport. Two of the four far-off votes can be written off to the importance of the W column. Although, it is worth noting that Mike Trout ended the season with a 0.00 ERA and 0 losses, which is more impressive than Darvish’s 3.90 ERA and 9 losses.

Whether those numbers cancel each other out to make each man equal is ultimately a matter of opinion. Two votes to Darvish is understandable, two votes to Yoenis Cespedes is a bit more vexing. The Athletics record with Cespedes is better than without, but does this warrant RoY consideration? Cespedes finished behind Trout in almost every measured regular season statistic, but Cespedes’s value to his team could be measured in wins and as was the case with Darvish voters, wins matter.

Statistically, four votes can be explained, if not outright agreed upon. However, there is the possibility that the case of the outlying votes goes deeper. Simply because the statistics show a “how” does not mean they show a “why”. Why would someone vote for Cespedes or Darvish off of wins alone? Perhaps it was not a matter of statistics at all. Rather, it may have been a matter of revenge. Mike Trout did rob several home runs this season, and those players who were swindled of their home run accolades during the regular season may have seized the chance to exact a modicum of revenge against Trout. At least one anomoly vote may have been cast form the supernatural. A voting player may have been haunted by the ghost of Walt Disney, angry that the team hasn’t won a world series since The Mouse was in charge. Cold and bitter, Disney possessed a player and forced his vote away from Trout. Discounting the spiritual realm, a simple counting error in the votes could be to blame. Though with Bud Selig’s fondness for ignoring instant replay, a recount seems unlikely.

Whatever the case, the record books are almost closed for the 2012 season. Mike Trout has securely anchored his name in MLB history and with a Rookie of the Year foundation, Trout is in position to build a hell of a monumental career. Rather than dwell on a few minority opinions, we should congratulate the runners up on a great season and all of the award candidates should look towards their very bright futures.

And we should all hope and pray that Walt Disney’s ghost doesn’t try anything funny with the MVP voting.

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