Nominees unveiled for 2014 GIBBY Awards

Fans can vote for annual honors, handed out in 25 categories

Nominees unveiled for 2014 GIBBY Awards

From the Opening Series in Australia to the Fall Classic's final out, the book on the 2014 big league campaign is closed.

The season was saturated with fantastic feats, unforeseen ascents and memorable moments. But which were the best? Now it's time for you to decide, as voting has opened for MLB.com's 13th Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards.

Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2014 GIBBY trophies based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.

This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 25 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, bounceback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top regular-season play, outfield throw, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment and postseason storyline, postseason walk-off and postseason play. Fans can watch these and more by accessing MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.

In the past several seasons, fans have cast millions of votes across the GIBBY categories, none of which is restricted to individual league affiliation. That's how you know the GIBBYs consider the best of the best.

All 30 clubs are represented among the award candidates, which is a testament to the competitive balance around the game.

Angels phenom Mike Trout could come out of the GIBBYs with some serious hardware, having been nominated as a candidate for the year's MLB MVP and top hitter. The 23-year-old star is also up for awards in the outfield throw and walk-off categories, making his way into the latter group as a result of his first career game-ending long ball.

Stars at completely different points in their careers are up for GIBBYs. Enter Jose Abreu, who mashed his way into contention for MLB MVP, hitter, rookie, hitting performance and walk-off trophies. Exit Yankees legend Derek Jeter, who retired after the 2014 campaign. The 14-time All-Star is eligible for GIBBYs in the storyline, moment, walk-off and Cut4 topic categories.

Who else is being considered for GIBBYs glory? Let's take a look.

Stars

Where is the best place to begin the debate about the MVP? The Tigers' Miguel Cabrera won the GIBBY in 2012 and '13, but he's not in consideration this year.

So who will be the fresh face atop this category? Trout and Andrew McCutchen finished second and third, respectively, in the GIBBYs' MLB MVP voting last year. Perhaps one of them will make the leap.

This group features quite a few first-timers, too, with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, White Sox first baseman Abreu and Tigers DH/1B Victor Martinez joining outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Bautista and Michael Brantley on the list.

The MLB MVP category also includes two pitchers this year, with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw returning with 21 wins, a 1.77 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 239 strikeouts and Madison Bumgarner entering the fold. Rounding out the field is the Giants' Buster Posey , this category's third-place finisher in 2012.

The Hitter of the Year list, as one might expect, resembles the aforementioned section in almost identical fashion. However, the Orioles' Nelson Cruz slugged his way into the conversation by leading baseball with 40 home runs.

The Starting Pitcher of the Year category saw much less continuity. Yes, Kershaw returns to defend his GIBBY from 2013, but he will be challenged by right-handers (Johnny Cueto, Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber, Adam Wainwright) and lefties (Madison Bumgarner, Chris Sale, Jon Lester) alike.

The top rookies list features a plethora of young talent that burst onto the scene in 2014. Abreu and Reds speedster Billy Hamilton will join Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka in garnering strong GIBBY consideration.

Despite the plaudits earned by that first-year triumvirate, their swift ascents preclude them from eligibility in the breakout categories. The breakout-hitter list includes a run-scoring, bag-swiping and hit-collecting machine in Altuve and an all-around stud with the stick in Brantley, to name two of a few.

In the breakout-pitcher category, Kluber appears again after posting stellar stats (2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) and finishing second in baseball with 269 strikeouts. He should face intense GIBBY competition from fellow rotation arms Garrett Richards and Dallas Keuchel, as well as reliever Zach Britton, who transformed from subpar starter to shutdown stopper.

Britton is not the only reliever eligible for a GIBBY. The closer category features vets like Jonathan Papelbon and Huston Street, as well as Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Greg Holland.

The game's greatest setup men have their own category, which features a bevy of baseball's unsung heroes. Sure, Wade Davis may not have many saves, but his importance to the Royals is practically impossible to overstate. This sentiment also applies to Dellin Betances, the Yankees' young strikeout machine.

The Majors' greatest glovemen also have a place to shine. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons was a defensive clinician once again, and he will look to win this award after finishing second last season. He will vie against an array of infielders, outfielders and pitch-framer extraordinaire Jonathan Lucroy.

Several fantastic feel-good stories, such as 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau, will look to seize the bounceback-player GIBBY. The Canadian-born batter is competing against a slew of stars with tales of injury and personal adversity.

And don't forget about the managers and executives who merit consideration following a season's worth of shrewd moves from the dugout and the general manager's office. Vote for them, as well.

Last but not least in the Stars categories: Postseason MVP. The Giants' Bumgarner certainly will garner a great deal of attention after etching his name into October lore. He will vie against five others -- from his own team and Kansas City -- for this award.

Must C

These awards date back to 2002, when there were five categories. One of them had been bloopers, which is now known as oddities. Remember when the Brewers scored three times on one wild pitch? Or when Cubs backup catcher John Baker scored the walk-off run in a game in which he also earned the win as the pitcher? There are other great choices, and part of the GIBBYs fun is watching all the clips.

If oddities are your cup of tea, you will also enjoy toggling through the Cut4 category, which celebrates many of the season's top-trending moments.

The "Must C" category also contains many of the year's most memorable performances. If you want to vote for a pitcher, there were five no-hitters from which to choose. For those who dig the long ball, we have a slew of sensational one-game feats for you. Just don't forget about Charlie Blackmon -- who posted six-hit performance -- or Yasiel Puig and his three-triple effort.

There are other categories, too, including one for the best outfield throw. This award is new for 2014, so help decide its inaugural champion.

Also new this year are Postseason Walk-Off and Postseason Play. They join Postseason Storyline, which has nominees from San Francisco, St. Louis and Kansas City.

Fans can vote as many times as they want through Nov. 21 at 11:59 p.m. ET by visiting mlb.com/gibbys, and winners will be announced live on the MLB Network and MLB.com on Dec. 6.

Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.