10/31/2013 10:00 A.M. ET
The nominees are in: 2013 GIBBY Awards
Fans can vote for favorites to help choose winners for MVP, Top Play and more
By Zachary Finkelstein / MLB.com
Ladies and gentleman, the book on the 2013 big league season officially closed with the Boston Red Sox reveling in the glory of their franchise's eighth World Series title.
Oh, what a year it was.
From Opening Day through the season's final out, baseball enjoyed a remarkable ride replete with fantastic feats, unforeseen ascents and superb storylines.
But questions remain from the recently completed campaign. Namely, by which players and moments will the year be remembered?
Many are clamoring to know, and MLB.com has just the way to find out. Yes, that's right, voting for the Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards has commenced for the 12th year.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2013 GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
"The GIBBYs are the most comprehensive season awards in baseball," said Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper, a longtime member of the GIBBYs voting panel. "Not only can you vote on Player of the Year and Starting Pitcher of the Year, but also categories like Walk-off, Postseason Moment and even Fan Moment ... they all highlight some of the season's great moments."
This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 22 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, Regular-Season Moment and Postseason Moment, with video available via MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
In the past five years, fans have cast more than 50 million votes across the GIBBY categories, none of which was 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. In fact, every team has multiple nominees in 2013 -- a testament to the parity of talent around the game.
Retiring Yankees legend Mariano Rivera could come out of the GIBBYs with some serious hardware, having been nominated as a candidate for the year's top Closer and Comeback Player trophies. Baseball's all-time saves leader is also up for awards in the Moment, Storyline and Cut4 Topic categories, making his way into the latter group as a direct result of his successful return from season-ending knee surgery in 2012.
The Cardinals' Matt Carpenter and the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig received a great deal of GIBBYs love, too. They're up for four awards apiece.
Who else is being considered for GIBBYs glory? Let's take a look.
Where to begin the debate about the Majors' Most Valuable Player in 2013? In one corner sits Miguel Cabrera, who arguably performed better than he did during his Triple Crown campaign of 2012. In another corner stands Mike Trout, who shot down any notion of a potential sophomore slump. The aforementioned men finished first and second in MLB MVP balloting last year, with Cabrera taking the crown after all votes had been tallied.
Fans seeking fresh faces will not be disappointed, as Carpenter, the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt and the Orioles' Chris Davis all hit their way into consideration for the top GIBBYs accolade.
The MLB MVP category also includes a pitcher this year, with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw making the cut behind his 1.83 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 232 strikeouts.
There was a great deal of turnover on the starting-pitcher list, as well. A bevy of young talent stepped up to the plate -- proverbially, of course -- to fill the vacated spots. In addition to Kershaw, youngsters Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey -- his season-ending injury, notwithstanding -- overpowered hitters during most of their 2013 outings.
This category also includes the Tigers' Max Scherzer -- who won a big league-best 21 games during the regular season -- and strikeout specialist Yu Darvish.
The top rookies list features a plethora of young talent that burst onto the scene in 2013. Marlins phenom Fernandez and the precocious Puig, a true five-tool rising star, will likely garner attention from GIBBY voters.
But for all the plaudits earned by Fernandez and Puig, their speedy ascents preclude them from consideration in the GIBBYs' breakout categories. The breakout hitter list includes a run-scoring and base-hit machine in Carpenter, a record-setting slugger in Davis and an all-around stud in Josh Donaldson.
In the breakout pitcher category, Harvey appears again after starting the 2013 All-Star Game for the National League. He should face intense GIBBYs competition from fellow starters Hisashi Iwakuma and Patrick Corbin, as well as reliever Koji Uehara, who posted the lowest WHIP in baseball history among hurlers with at least 50 innings pitched (0.57).
The Red Sox stopper is not the only reliever eligible for a GIBBY. The closer category features a mix of veteran names -- Rivera and Joe Nathan come to mind -- and young flamethrowers in Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.
The game's elite setup men have their own category, which features a bevy of baseball's unsung heroes. Sure, Trevor Rosenthal may not have many saves, but his importance to the Cardinals is practically impossible to overstate. This sentiment is indubitably shared by the Yankees toward David Robertson.
The game's greatest glovemen have their own place to shine. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons was a defensive clinician all season. Outfielders are well-represented here, too, with the Brewers' Carlos Gomez and Boston's Shane Victorino up against other infielders, outfielders and catcher Yadier Molina.
Two individuals are up for the comeback player GIBBY: the aforementioned Rivera, who recovered fully from an ACL torn in 2012 to excel in 2013 and the Pirates' Francisco Liriano, who bounced back from years of mediocrity to post a career high in wins and his lowest ERA since 2006.
All 10 postseason managers are up for GIBBYs, too. Will you vote for one of the Cinderella stories (Clint Hurdle, Terry Francona) or the last skipper standing (John Farrell)? Ask yourself the same question with the general managers, who are listed under the Executives tab.
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 Evan Longoria caught Juan Uribe on a hidden-ball trick? Todd Helton did the same to an MLB MVP candidate in Carpenter. There are other great choices, and part of the GIBBYs fun is the clicking of links to watch all the clips.
If oddities are your cup of tea, you will enjoy toggling through the Cut4 category. Who could forget the famed standoff between the Cardinals' Joe Kelly and the Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke before Game 6 of the National League Championship Series?
The "Must C" category also contains many of the season's most memorable performances. If you want to vote for a pitcher, there were three 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 Alex Rios or Jean Segura -- who each posted six-hit performances -- or cyclists Trout and Brandon Barnes.
Fans can vote as many times as they want through Dec. 1 by visiting mlb.com/gibbys, and winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards during December's Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.
Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.