MIGUEL CABRERA, DETROIT TIGERS
Individually, Cabrera did it all in 2012, becoming the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown after leading the American League (AL) in batting average, home runs and runs batted in (RBI).
It also marked third consecutive year the 29-year-old scored more than 100 runs in a season, earning him the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and raising expectations he could add a second World Series title after winning one with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and helping the Tigers land last year's AL championship.
BUSTER POSEY, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Posey seems to have the Midas touch. He won a World Series and was named National League (NL) Rookie of the Year in 2010 and reached even greater heights last year after his 2011 season was cut short by a leg injury suffered during a violent collision on a play at home plate.
He became the first catcher to land the NL batting title in 70 years after hitting an MLB-leading .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBI last season. Posey also won a second World Series, leading the Giants to a four-game sweep of the Tigers.
MIKE TROUT, LOS ANGELES ANGELS
The 21-year-old outfielder had an unforgettable debut season in 2012, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award and finishing second to Cabrera in MVP voting.
He hit .
BRYCE HARPER, WASHINGTON NATIONALS
The expectations were high for Harper before he even made his MLB debut last season at the age of 19, but he lived up to all the hype by winning the NL Rookie of the Year award.
A versatile talent who played all three outfield positions, Harper had a .270 batting average with 22 home runs, 59 RBI, 56 walks and 18 stolen bases in 139 games for a Nationals team that won the NL East division.
MARIANO RIVERA, NEW YORK YANKEES
The greatest closer in MLB history will be looking to cap his distinguished career on the perfect note. The 43-year-old may have lost some of his zip but remains a potent force and the 2013 season will be the last chance for baseball fans to see him in action before he retires.