This year, I'm sticking with that formula, but with a couple minor adjustments:
- To place a slight emphasis on this year's performance, I made a short list of the candidates at each position (based on statistics from mid-2011 to present), then basically chose the player who is having a better 2012 so far. That way, I ensured I was picking someone who was worthy based on an entire year's results and not based on a hot start that might fizzle out.
- I chose players only at their primary 2012 positions, which is probably where their names appear on the actual ballot (although, admittedly I didn't actually look at the official ballot).
AL - Matt Wieters (Baltimore)
NL - Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia)
Wieters wins out over Mike Napoli because, while Napoli had a better second half of 2011, Wieters is clearly better so far this year. Ruiz and Yadier Molina are pretty even based on last-calendar-year numbers, but Ruiz's other-worldy offensive first half of 2012 makes him an easy choice.
AL - Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto)
NL - Joey Votto (Cincinnati)
Nobody even comes close to Votto, in either league. Albert Pujols has slightly better numbers than Encarnacion since mid-2011, but the latter's 2012 is far superior.
AL - Robinson Cano (New York)
NL - Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati)
Cano is another easy pick. The NL is a virtual tossup between Dan Uggla and Phillips. I'm going with Phillips because Uggla's offensive advantage is negligible, while Phillips's defensive edge is quite significant.
AL - Elvis Andrus (Texas)
NL - Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)
Andrus is another pretty obvious choice here. Tulowitzki's not off to a great start, partly due to injury, but based on the calendar year formula, no one else can really compete.
AL - Adrian Beltre (Texas)
NL - David Wright (New York)
The AL is a three-way battle between Beltre, Miguel Cabrera and Brett Lawrie. Beltre's having a better 2012 than Cabrera and is better since mid-2011 than Lawrie.
AL - Alex Gordon (Kansas City), Mike Trout (Los Angeles), Josh Hamilton (Texas)
NL - Ryan Braun (Milwaukee), Michael Bourn (Atlanta), Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh)
My philosophy has always been that at least one outfielder has to be a center fielder. It's somewhat unusual this year that there are two in each league who fit the bill (Trout and Hamilton in the AL, Bourn and McCutchen in the NL). Trout and Bourn get the nods to handle center field duties in the actual game.
AL - David Ortiz (Boston)
NL - Matt Kemp (Los Angeles)
In the AL, we have an actual DH for this spot. Since there are no DHs in the NL, I'll go with the most deserving hitter who didn't earn a starting role elsewhere.
AL - Justin Verlander (Detroit)
NL - Zack Greinke (Milwaukee)
These choices were both surprisingly easy.