But that duty was reserved for Mike Trout, whose historic rookie campaign earned him American League Rookie of the Year honors, as expected. Cespedes, who finished second behind Trout in nearly every rookie offensive category, placed second in the voting, done by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
A's right-hander Jarrod Parker, who compiled a 13-8 record and 3.47 ERA in 29 starts in his first full Major League season, placed fifth in the voting.
While Trout posted one of the greatest rookie seasons, Cespedes managed to churn out an impressive one himself, all the while adjusting to a new country.
2012 AL ROOKIE OF YEAR VOTING
The 27-year-old Cuban defector, signed by the A's to a four-year, $36 million contract in February, hit .292 with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs in 129 games, with an .861 OPS. He also helped Oakland secure its first postseason appearance since 2006.
"All the way around, for a guy that had to adjust and deal with many things that nobody else had to deal with, pretty amazing what he accomplished," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The sky is literally the limit for him. He has a chance to be an elite player in the game."
Cespedes not only provided consistency in the middle of the lineup as a true power threat that had been missing in Oakland for several years but shifted from center field to left field with ease, making a handful of spectacular plays.
"Just amazing," general manager Billy Beane said. "You saw him get better day by day to the point where you could see teams fearing him. He had never played left field and struggled right out of the gate, and by the last month of the season he was outstanding out there. Really a remarkable talent, and you couple that with the fact he's making a cultural adjustment, it is really amazing."