In the eyes of many, 2012 could've been summed up simply as "The Year of Mike Trout." His Angels fell short of the playoffs, but Trout's play captivated a nation, forced them to take sides in a heated MVP debate and practically set a new precedent -- not just for rookies or 21-year-olds, but for players in general.
MLB.com's GIBBY Awards are very much of a reflection of that.
Heck, you might as well call them the TROUTYs.
To the surprise of no one, the Angels' five-tool center fielder is a legitimate candidate in several of the categories. He picked up a nomination for MLB MVP, a new GIBBY honoring the game's top star. Trout is up against Ryan Braun, Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen for the league's top award. He's also nominated for best hitter, rookie and defensive player, is getting love for best play -- for somehow robbing J.J. Hardy of a homer in Baltimore on June 27 -- and is paired with the even younger Bryce Harper for best storyline.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2012 GIBBYs trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, the Society for American Baseball Research and fans at MLB.com.
This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
In the past four years, fans have cast more than 40 million votes across the various GIBBYs categories, none of which were restricted to individual League affiliation.
You can vote as many times as you want until fan balloting closes Sunday, Dec. 2, at 9:59 p.m. PT.
Winners will then be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards event during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Angels ace Jered Weaver, who went 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA and an AL-low 1.02 WHIP, is nominated for best starting pitcher. So are David Price, Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Kris Medlen, Cole Hamels, R.A. Dickey, Johnny Cueto, Kyle Lohse, Matt Cain and Clayton Kershaw.
Weaver's May 2 no-hitter against the Twins, when he struck out nine and walked only one, is among those nominated for best pitching performance.
And Kendrys Morales' epic night at Rangers Ballpark on July 30, when he became the third player in history to homer from each side of the plate in the same inning, is nominated for best hitting performance.
But it's Trout who's getting most of the love.
You'd expect nothing less after a season in which he finished second in the AL in batting average (.326), first in steals (49) and runs (129), third in on-base percentage (.399) and third in slugging (.564). Only three other players -- guys named Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle -- have notched a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) higher than Trout's 10.7 at age 25 or younger. And no player -- any age, any tenure -- has ever combined at least 45 steals with 125 runs and 30 homers in one season.
Trout also robbed four home runs (only three others have done that since 2004) and saved 23 runs altogether (fifth in the Majors). He made the cover of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine. He led the Angels to the third-best record in the AL since his callup, at 83-59. He helped spawn perhaps the most heated MVP debate in history, going toe-to-toe with Miguel Cabrera and his Triple Crown.
And it's probably safe to say he'll take home a GIBBY or two.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.