Throughout much of the season it was pretty clear that one of two players in the American League had a realistic shot at winning the 2012 MVP Award, those two ofcourse being Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. The battle between the two sparked a serious philosophical debate between those who supported Mike Trout and his edge in some advanced statistics, and Miguel Cabrera and his historic Triple Crown (based on more mainstream statistics). But buried deep beneath the battle to the death over the winner of the MVP Award (Miguel Cabrera), were a couple new faces to the discussion.
Cespedes, who placed 5th in the MVP voting had already made an appearance on a postseason ballot earlier this week when the Rookie of the Year Awards were handed out, but his play this season obviously made an impression on baseball writers throughout the country. Seeing Cespedes develop as the season carried on was quite a sight, and his at bats quickly became appointment viewing. His tremendous power potential in the coming years will make his 2013 at bats every bit as intriguing as his 2012 ones were. Perhaps next season he will make that jump from solid major leaguer with potential, to the superstar he can hopefully become.
Josh Reddick certainly outhit any and all expectations in 2012, he wasn’t even considered an everyday player by the Boston Red Sox let alone a slugger like he turned out to be. But Reddick’s presence in the lineup not only proved valuable at the plate, it did so even more in the field. Reddick’s Gold Glove defense was a weapon for the Athletics, as he ran down fly balls and threw out would-be baserunners at will. He also developed as quite the leader in the A’s dugout with his brash personality and constant homages to the wrestling world as they made their run towards the playoffs. Of course Reddick has some flaws in his game, his numbers with RISP were not particularly impressive, and his strikeout rate was rather high. But the power he displayed seems to be legitimate.
The A’s have built themselves a foundation for future success with Cespedes and Reddick right in the middle of the lineup. While they may have finished just 5th and 16th in the MVP voting this year, the chances of both of them moving up that leader board are pretty high. And with their rise to the top of the leader board, the Oakland Athletics will rise to further heights as well.