Mike Trout will surely steal the spotlight Monday, when the Angels outfielder is expected to take home American League Rookie of the Year honors. But on Wednesday, Trout shared it with one of Oakland’s own.
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was named one of three finalists for the prestigious award, joining Trout and Rangers hurler Yu Darvish, as voted by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Moments after, on MLB Network, A’s manager Bob Melvin was announced as one of three finalists for AL Manager of the Year, joining Orioles skipper Buck Showalter and the White Sox’s Robin Ventura. The winner will be announced Tuesday.
Cespedes, 27, collected 23 home runs and 82 RBIs in his first Major League season, both of which ranked second among AL rookies, while helping the A’s reach the playoffs for the first time in six years. His 25 doubles and 53 extra-base hits also ranked second.
“The sky is literally the limit,” Melvin said of Cespedes at end of the season. “He has a chance to be an elite player in the game. All the way around, for a guy that had to adjust and deal with many things that nobody else had to deal with, pretty amazing what he accomplished. Hopefully he’ll do even better next year.”
“Just amazing,” general manager Billy Beane added. “You saw him get better day by day to the point where you could see teams fearing him. He had never played left field and struggled right out of the gate, and by the last month of the season he was outstanding out there. Really a remarkable talent, and you couple that with the fact he’s making a cultural adjustment, it is really amazing.”
Cespedes will be one of five outfielders — the A’s also have Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Chris Young and Seth Smith — to be utilized in 2013 by Melvin, whose work in 2012 proved equally commendable. Melvin guided the misfit A’s to a 94-win season that culminated in an AL West championship and Division Series appearance, all with an unassuming and ever-changing roster that featured mostly rookies.
“Obviously I’m biased, but all due respect, I think Buck Showalter has done a phenomenal job, but I can’t imagine anyone other than Bob Melvin being Manager of the Year,” Beane said. “I would be baffled if it wasn’t him. When a manager takes a club with the expectations that the team is supposed to lose 100 games and, in some cases, people thought 100-plus-plus games, and then that team wins the toughest division in baseball — and it was — and was able to arguably be the best team in baseball for 161 games, in my opinion, I don’t know what somebody would have to do if they weren’t Manager of the Year.”