MLB Power Rankings: Top 50 Players In 2012

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Intro

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Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

It was a season to remember in 2012. This year we all got to witness things that we have never seen before including numerous no-hitters, a few 40+ home run hits and to top it all off, an American League Triple Crown winner and the tightest playoff races that made the season one of the best in a very long time. Luckily, the season is heading into the Champions Series in the playoffs, which even more drama can occur.

Now, it is time for debate. Who are the best players of the 2012 season? Who is the best player in baseball right now? I think we know who the best is but who could be behind him in that category?

This slideshow is about MLB power rankings. The rankings will not be of teams but of current players and to give you my Top 50 players of the season. Some players will shock you, some players being too high on the list could even get your irritated beyond belief. That’s OK.

The best thing about this slideshow is that it is up for opinion. These are my Top 50 but who is in your Top 50 or even your Top 10. Go through it and see what you think, I bet you are not going to agree with all of it but some of the people in their places you cannot disagree.

I hope you enjoy it!

Also, do not forget to follow Ryan Gaydos on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

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50. Bryce Harper

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Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Bryce Harper will probably win the National League Rookie of the Year award but he gets the 50th spot on the rankings list because he only appeared on one top 10 offensive list this season and that was in triples.

Overall, we all know the Washington Nationals have a special kid in Harper. He batted .270 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI.

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49. James Shields

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Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

James Shields is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball and on the Tampa Bay Rays' staff. He had another solid 2012 season.

Shields was 15-10 with 223 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.52. Another solid year next year and he could be in contention for the AL Cy Young award.

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48. Adam Dunn

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Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Another powerful year for Adam Dunn. He hit 41 home runs this season, the second most of his career. He also recorded 96 RBI.

However, the down side to Dunn is that he strikes out a TON. He led the league in strikeouts with 222 this season. Cutting his strikeouts down could lead to an MVP year.

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47. Josh Willingham

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Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham had a very quiet season in 2012. Willingham by far had his best power numbers with 35 home runs and 110 RBI.

Willingham also had 30 doubles in a very nice year for the Twins that finished in fifth place in the AL Central.

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46. Ian Kinsler

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Ian Kinsler had another average year with the Texas Rangers in 2012. However, it was a shame to see his power numbers go down, especially in the home run aspect. Kinsler only hit 19 home runs this season but still kept up in RBIs with 72.

Kinsler was still an all-star with the Rangers this season and still will continue to be productive.

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45. Zack Greinke

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Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

Zack Greinke was involved in a big trade during the season leaving the Milwaukee Brewers and heading for the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels were now even more ready and bolstered to make a run in the AL West. We all know how that ended.

Greinke finished this season with a 15-5 record and a 3.48 ERA. Greinke also struck out 200 batters. He kept pace with his normal self but did not get any help from the rest of the Angels to make the playoffs.

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44. Jordan Zimmermann

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Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The third pitcher in the Washington Nationals rotation that barely got any attention this season was Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann was 12-8 and has one of the best ERAs in baseball with a 2.94.

Zimmermann was overshadowed by the performance of his teammate Gio Gonzalez and over matched by the controversy surrounding Stephen Strasburg but still performed very well.

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43. Kyle Lohse

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Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

In a season where the St. Louis Cardinals were supposed to be off, Kyle Lohse was part of the face of the pitching rotation. Lohse put up his best numbers with a 16-3 record and a 2.86 ERA. He struck out a career-high 143 batters as well.

You can thank Lohse for where the Cardinals are this season.

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42. Curtis Granderson

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Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Curtis Granderson's power surge continued in 2012 with the New York Yankees. Granderson hit 43 home runs and recorded 113 RBI. However, Granderson struck out more and his batting average lowered to .232, a career low.

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41. Cole Hamels

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Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Cole Hamels continued to be the best pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012. Hamels was 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA this season.

If it was not for the down years of the others in the rotation, the Phillies would have made the playoffs.

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40. CC Sabathia

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Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

CC Sabathia showed us that he was the New York Yankees' best pitcher for the 2012 season. Sabathia carried the Yankees with a 15-6 record and a 3.38 ERA. Sabathia struck out 197 batters as well.

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39. Adam Jones

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Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Adam Jones had a breakout year with the upstart Baltimore Orioles in 2012. Jones hit a career-high 32 home runs and batted in 82 runs for the O's.

Jones' .287 batting average was also a career best for him.

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38. Fernando Rodney

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Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Fernando Rodney stepped up in a big closer role for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. Rodney finished in second in saves this season with 48 this season.

Rodney last year only had three.

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37. Joey Votto

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Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Joey Votto battled knee problems from the middle of the year to the end of the season and even signed a big 10-year contract at the beginning of the season. Votto had a lot less power but led the league in walks and on-base percentage.

For Votto go create runs for the Cincinnati Reds really helped the team win the NL Central division this season.

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36. Adrian Gonzalez

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Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Adrian Gonzalez was involved in a huge trade this year that sent him, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox. Before Gonzalez was with the Dodgers he was batting .300 with 15 home runs. After being traded, he only hit three home runs and his averaged dropped by three points.

In total, Gonzalez hit 18 home runs but drove in 108 runs during the season. A great year even though he did not hit the long ball.

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35. Jay Bruce

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Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Jay Bruce was another big carrier for the Cincinnati Reds this season. Bruce continued to improve hitting 34 home runs and 99 RBI. Bruce brought his runs scored numbers up and his strikeouts down making him another big bat in this Reds organization.

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34. Lance Lynn

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Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Lance Lynn really came on strong in his second year with the St. Louis Cardinals. In his 29 starts he was 18-7 with a 3.78.

Lynn's season gives hope for the future of the Cardinals rotation.

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33. Edwin Encarnacion

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Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Edwin Encarnacion really came out of nowhere to have an extremely large power trip. He hit 42 home runs and batted in 110 RBI, his best season of his career.

If it was not for Miguel Cabrera, Encarnacion would be getting some attention for the MVP award.

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32. Jake Peavy

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David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Jake Peavy got right back on track with one of his best seasons in a long while. Although he was 11-12, Peavy had an ERA of 3.37, his lowest in three years.

Peavy's resurgence helped some other members of the rotation get back on track as well.

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31. Chris Sale

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Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago White Sox moved Chris Sale from the bullpen to the rotation full time this year and they did it at the perfect time. The 23-year-old was 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA striking out 192 batters this season.

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30. Ben Zobrist

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Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Rays did not finish exactly where they expected to but Ben Zobrist had another good year with the club. He hit 20 home runs and drove in 74 RBI. Another constructive, quiet year for him as the Rays try to make the playoffs in 2013.

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29. Matt Harrison

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Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Headlines for the Texas Rangers were taken over by the signing of Yu Darvish but it was Matt Harrison who quietly had a good year for them. Harrison was 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA and a career-high 133 strikeouts.

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28. Chase Headley

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Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

A career year for Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres. Headley hit .286 this year with 31 home runs and a league-leading 115 RBI. A solid year for someone that plays for the Padres.

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27. Yu Darvish

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Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Yu Darvish arrived here from Japan in 2012 and automatically began to strike fear into hitters. Darvish was 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA for the Texas Rangers in his first season.

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26. Giancarlo Stanton

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Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Marlins were awful in 2012 but Giancarlo Stanton had another great year. Stanton hit the tops in the league in slugging percentage with a .608 mark. He also belted 37 home runs and 86 RBI.

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25. Prince Fielder

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Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Miguel Cabrera has Prince Fielder to thank for his success at the plate. The Detroit Tigers signed Fielder as soon as Victor Martinez went down with a season-ending injury. Pitchers has to choose whether to pitch to Fielder or Cabrera. Most chose Cabrera.

However, Fielder put on a good year in his first year with the Tigers. He hit 30 home runs and drove in 108 RBI and played all 162 games for a second-straight year.

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24. Josh Hamilton

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Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Josh Hamilton had another monster year hitting 43 home runs and recording 128 RBI. However, all of those numbers were overshadowed by how he played in the last week of the season, without any heart or desire.

Hamilton is going to be a big free agent commodity this season. We'll see how many teams aggressively pursue him.

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23. Max Scherzer

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Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Max Scherzer was a great No.2 behind Justin Verlander in the Detroit Tigers rotation this season. Scherzer really came into his own winning 16 games and barely allowing more than three runs per game.

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22. Gio Gonzalez

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Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

When Stephen Strasburg was shut down for the season, the other Washington Nationals pitcher had to come up big. Gio Gonzalez came up so big that he could win an NL Cy Young because of it.

Gonzalez won 21 games for the Nats with a 2.89 ERA. Outstanding numbers could get him some hardware, but its not enough to crack the Top 20 on this list.

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21. Johnny Cueto

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Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Johnny Cueto has had some shaky seasons but he really stepped it up for the Cincinnati Reds in 2012. Cueto started 33 games for the Reds and picked up 19 wins. The fire baller struck out 170 batters as well and if it was not for him getting injured in the NLDS in the first inning, the Reds would still be in the playoffs.

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20. Derek Jeter

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The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Derek Jeter is 38-year-old and is expected to be winding down in his career. However, Jeter did not take off for the New York Yankees this year and ended up leading baseball with 216 hits and batting .316

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19. Alex Gordon

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Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Another under the radar season was taking place in the Kansas City Royals organization. Alex Gordon led the league with 51 doubles as he drove in 72 runs while batting .294. Not the best season but he certainly was a great player for the Royals this year.

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18. Jim Johnson

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Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The best closer in baseball was certainly Jim Johnson. Johnson led the league with 51 saves for the upstart Baltimore Orioles and had an impressive 2.49 ERA in his first year in the closer role.

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17. Jered Weaver

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Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Another fantastic year for Jered Weaver as he won an AL leading 20 games and had a 2.81 ERA. Weaver's strikeouts decreased to 142 this season.

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16. Felix Hernandez

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Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Felix Hernandez had the average King Felix kind of year. He won 13 games for the lowly Seattle Mariners and struck out over 200 batters for the fourth straight season. You can't really get any more dangerous than that.

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15. Stephen Strasburg

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Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

I keep Stephen Strasburg in the Top 15 because in only 159 1/3 innings, he managed to strike out 197 batters and win 15 games. If the Washington Nationals kept him in for the entire season, Strasburg may have been in the Top 5 of the list.

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14. Matt Cain

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Matt Cain really surprised everyone as the top San Francisco Giants pitcher this season. Cain was 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA. An even better season than 2011.

Cain pitched the Giants into the NLCS

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13. Adrian Beltre

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Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

For a few weeks in the season, Adrian Beltre was a complete monster. He had a very productive season batting .312 with 36 home runs and 102 RBI. Beltre gets overlooked on the Texas Rangers because of Josh Hamilton but we did not overlook him here.

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12. Yadier Molina

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Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Every season it seems like Yadier Molina gets better and better. Molina posted career highs in batting average (.315), home runs (22), RBI (76), hits (159) and runs (65). He was definitely one of the biggest factos in the St. Louis Cardinals run to the playoffs this season.

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11. David Wright

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Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

David Wright really wants an extension with the New York Mets. And I mean, really, really wants it.

Why else would he have the season that he had with the Mets? Wright hit 21 home runs and recorded 93 RBI all while batting .306, his highest since 2009.

Without Wright, the Mets' offense is even worse.

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10. Andrew McCutchen

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Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

If it was not for the Pittsburgh Pirates' demise, Andrew McCutchen could be receiving the NL MVP award this year. McCutchen came into his own batting .327 and hitting 31 home runs. He was the Pirate do-it-all man but he could not lead them to a playoff spot.

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9. Clayton Kershaw

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Los Angeles Dodgers had an up and down year but Clayton Kershaw continued to be dominant. Kershaw led the NL for the second straight time in earned run average bolstering a 2.53. Kershaw only won 14 games but struck out an impressive 229 batters.

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8. R.A. Dickey

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Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Nobody knew who R.A. Dickey was before this season except if you were a New York Mets fanatic. Dickey came onto the scene winning 20 games and pitching five complete games. Dickey also had an ERA of 2.73.

I think he gets the nod for NL Cy Young.

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7. David Price

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Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

David Price shared the AL lead in wins with 20 but led the league with an impressive 2.56 ERA. The Tampa Bay Rays rotation is nasty one but the offense could not jumpstart the club into the playoffs.

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6. Ryan Braun

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Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Braun was part of the reason why the Milwaukee Brewers still had a chance to win the NL Central this season. Braun hit 41 home runs and drove in 112 RBI. Better numbers than he had last season when he won the MVP award.

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5. Buster Posey

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Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Buster Posey has a strong case to make for the NL MVP. He will have to defeat Ryan Braun but in this ranking, I believe Posey should be higher.

Posey came back from a season-ending injury in 2011 to hit 24 home runs and drive in 103 runs. He led the National League with a .336 batting average and helped his team advance to the NLCS.

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4. Robinson Cano

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The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

During the last week of the season, Robinson Cano became the most feared hitter in baseball batting over .600. That is why he shot up to No. 4 in the power rankings.

Overall, Cano was the best hitter on the New York Yankees team. Cano provided 33 home runs, 94 RBI anda .313 batting average.

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3. Justin Verlander

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Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The best pitcher in baseball was, again, Justin Verlander. Verlander was 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA in 2012 and led the league in complete games with six.

If there wasn't a Miguel Cabrera, he could make a case for AL MVP, again.

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2. Mike Trout

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Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Mike Trout is arguably the second best player in baseball. He did it all for the Los Angeles Angels this season offensively and defensively. Oh and by the way he is just a rookie. A 20-year-old kid nonetheless.

Trout hit 30 home runs, drove in 83 RBI and stole a league-leading 49 bases. This is kid is going to be something special during the prime of his career.

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1. Miguel Cabrera

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Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Miguel Cabrera is the best player in baseball regardless to what the sabermetricians have to say. There is not defense for Mike Trout to win the AL MVP award because Cabrera captured an American League Triple Crown.

Cabrera led the league with 44 home runs, 119 RBI and in batting average for the season straight season with a .330 mark.

Need I say more?

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