The midpoint of the MLB regular season has come and gone, which means it’s time to handout some midseason hardware.
Most Valuable Player – Mike Trout, CF (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
The AL MVP race will no doubt go down to the wire. What Mike Trout has been able to accomplish this year is astounding. Without any protection in the lineup he’s still slashing .324/.426/.569 with 17 HR and 54 RBI. Trout has a real chance to win his second MVP trophy. But, he may finish runner-up for the second year in a row (fourth time in his career) if Jose Altuve or David Ortiz can lead their clubs to the playoffs. For now… Trout is my trophy horse… err, trophy fish, I guess!
Cy Young Award – Chris Sale, LHP (Chicago White Sox)
Sale has been one of the most talented lefties in the AL for years, and this season he has the numbers to prove it. He’s 14-2 with a 2.93 ERA, and 118 strikeouts versus just 24 walks. Indians stud Danny Salazar may challenge Sale down the stretch, especially if he can lead the Tribe to the Promise Land.
Rookie of the Year – Michael Fulmer, RHP (Detroit Tigers)
Michael Fulmer is 8-2 with a 2.17 ERA. Those numbers would typically challenge for a Cy Young Award, but he’s pitched 50 less innings than Chris Sale.
Manager of the Year – Terry Francona (Cleveland Indians)
Sure, Francona has a talented team, but not the most talented team. Without Michael Brantley for much of the season, Francona has successfully mixed and matched lineups to produce wins. With platoons at third base and in the outfield, Francona has been very creative with Jose Ramirez playing all over the field. The bullpen has been good, but closer struggles are keeping Terry on his toes.
Comeback Player of the Year – Ian Desmond, CF (Texas Rangers)
Desmond was a defensive nightmare at shortstop in 2015 with the Washington Nationals. He’s played a pretty good center field for Texas, and is slashing .321/.374/.526. CC Sabathia will garner plenty of votes if he can continue to pitch well for the rest of the season.
Most Valuable Player – Clayton Kershaw, LHP (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Kershaw is 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA, 145 strikeouts and just nine walks. While some critics feel the MVP trophy should be reserved for position players, it’s clear Kershaw is as deserving as any player in the NL. Nolan Arenado and Matt Carpenter put up gaudy statistics so far, but the Dodgers’ ace gets the nod here since the Dodgers are 14-2 in games started by Kershaw, and just 34-35 otherwise.
Cy Young Award – Clayton Kershaw, LHP (Los Angeles Dodgers)
The case could be made here for Madison Bumgarner or Jose Fernandez, especially if the Marlins make the playoffs. But, if Kershaw wins the MVP Award, he’s an absolute lock to win the Cy Young Award.
Rookie of the Year – Corey Seager, SS (Los Angeles Dodgers)
There’s really no competition here in my opinion. The young left-handed hitter is playing good defense and putting up All-Star numbers at a premier position for a major-market team. The first-round selection in the 2012 MLB Draft has 17 HR and 41 RBI. He could stand to strikeout less, but for a young hitter he’s still really, really good.
Manager of the Year – Bruce Bochy (San Francisco Giants)
The Giants currently boast the best record in MLB despite injuries to Hunter Pence, Matt Duffy, Matt Cain, Joe Panik, and Kelby Tomlinson. Losing some of these guys (much less all of them in the same month!) would cripple other clubs – but not the Giants. Bochy continues to do more with less. Bochy’s effective management of the bullpen is well known in the baseball world. The Giants’ relievers hold an average 3.85 ERA, but the talent in the bullpen is less than impressive.
Comeback Player of the Year – Wil Myers, 1B/OF (San Diego Padres)
Wil Myers earned his first All-Star selection on Tuesday. The righty has filled up the stat sheet this season with 19 HR, 57 RBI, and 13 stolen bases as of July 5th. It’s amazing to see a great comeback from a player whose career looked very average after his stint with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com