The 2010 This Year in Baseball Awards feature nominees in 18 categories. Individual honors will go to the top Player, Starter, Rookie, Closer, Setup Man, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive, Breakout Player, X-Factor and Dependable Player.
Fans can also vote on the year's top Play, Moment, Performance, Oddity, Game, Fan Moment and, when the final out of the World Series is in the books, Postseason Moment from MLB.com's Must C highlight vault.
The TYIB Awards are a compilation of the traditional honors bestowed by the Baseball Writers Association of America (Rookie, Manager), specialized versions of those Awards (Player, Starter) and the season's zany moments that are often just as memorable as the sterling defensive plays and big home runs (Fan Moment, Oddity). Adding to the fun is the opportunity for fans to vote as often as they like.
Here are a few categories in which the voting figures to be tight:
Player of the Year: Often, there's a clear standout in this department, but several players are deserving this time around. Should the award go to Joey Votto for powering the Reds into the playoffs? Or to the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez for his outstanding breakout year? Or how about Miguel Cabrera, who steadily pounded out huge numbers all season long for the Tigers?
Rookie of the Year: This was one of those seasons in which talented newcomers seemingly popped up everywhere. Jason Heyward impressed from Day 1 with the Braves and Buster Posey quickly proved to be a formidable offensive weapon for the Giants, while the Rangers' Neftali Feliz set a rookie record for saves and the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia ranked among the NL's ERA leaders for the entire season.
X-Factor of the Year: Which surprising player served as a key component behind his team's success? Was it Omar Infante, the Braves' utility man who emerged as an All-Star? Was it Danny Valencia, a hard-hitting rookie who helped the Twins make up for the loss of slugger Justin Morneau? Or Pat Burrell, who rebounded from a tough start with the Rays to give the Giants a much-needed power bat?
Performance of the Year: Once again, the honor for greatest single-game performance is up for grabs. Oakland's Dallas Braden threw a perfect game on May 9, a feat matched by Philly's Roy Halladay on May 29. The offensive nominees are headed by Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo, who blasted a grand slam among his three homers on Sept. 17, and Colorado's Gonzalez, who memorably completed his bid for a cycle with a walk-off home run on July 31.
Play of the Year: There are no numbers to use as reference for this one, just the wow factor. White Sox starter Mark Buehrle turned in a dazzling between-the-legs scoop on April 5, but Dodgers third baseman Ronnie Belliard also made waves with his impressive catch-turned-double play on May 2, and Pirates starter Paul Maholm showed no shortage of effort in his pursuit of a ground ball on April 13.
Of course, all nominees in these and the remaining 13 categories have made a pretty strong case for TYIB hardware, which will be awarded to the winners at the start of the 2011 season.
So start casting your ballots now and let your voice be heard. When the votes are all counted, we'll find out just who the fans named as the best of the best of another storybook season.