It’s amazing the ebbs and flows I go through with baseball season, and it’s pretty consistent nearly every year. For the first month and a half I can’t get enough, I watch every pitch I can even for games that I don’t really care about (like NL games), and then I’ll realize how many games they still have to play, and only check box scores for a month or so. Now that Lebronapalooza is over, and we’ve hit the All-Star break, I’m back to full force on baseball. Now it’s about time to break down who the first half award winners are, well, the award winners in my book that is.
Not a tough choice at the midpoint. Miggy has come out focused from his alcohol rehab program this offseason, and leads in two of the three triple crown categories. If you can make a case for Morneau, Cano, Hamilton, or Youkilis there might be some room for debate, but in my eyes this isn’t really a close vote if there was a vote held now.
NL MVP- Albert Pujols, by default (.308/.416/.576, 21 HR, 64 RBI)
I can’t really say I’m even sold on my selection, but Albert has to win by default. He’s in the running every year, and has finished in the top five 11 times. I’m sure he’s going to go through a stretch where teams will opt to not pitch to him because he’s on fire. I’ve seen a few lists that have David Wright as the next in line under Albert, but I think that’s the New York hype machine pumping up their golden boy even though he’s having a good year, I don’t think it’s an MVP season. Adrian Gonzalez has put up some big numbers despite having nobody around him for protection. Joey Votto and Scott Rolen are also nice choices, and are surprisingly keeping Cincy relevant. I also really like Carlos Gonzalez to make a push for MVP, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in the discussions at seasons end.
AL Cy Young – Jon Lester (11-3, 120 IP, 2.78 ERA, 124K, 1.09 WHIP)
David Price had the lead for much of the year, but Lester now leads him in K’s, innings pitched, and has a lower WHIP which I always find more impressive than win totals, so I gave Lester the nod. Cliff Lee’s six complete games is amazing for this point in the season, so he has to be thrown into the top three as well. Pettite is an intreguing candidate, but I like a Cy Young to have lots of K’s…
Most people have been picking Ubaldo Jimenez, but I actually have Halladay and Wainwright ahead of Ubaldo at the moment. I’ve never been an advocate of looking at a pitchers record and weighing it like some do with the award. Josh is tops in the league in ERA and WHIP, and opponents BA is a ridiculous .203. This is a WIDE open race, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone that I didn’t even mention winning this award.
AL Rookie of the half – Brennan Boesch (12 HR’s, 48 RBI, .345 BA)
Austin Jackson (Brennan’s teammate) and Neftali Feliz have been subperb rookies this year, but Brennan has been that much better than them. I didn’t really even know who he was before the year started, but have a feeling we will be hearing about him a lot in years to come as he’s a 6’6” 25 year old with tons of potential.
It was a tough call between Jaime and Heyward. I was pretty close to picking Heyward, but since he hasn’t played over the last month I DQ’d him for the moment. It’s going to be a tight race at the end of the season, but if Jason puts up the same numbers he did in the first half, I’m sure he’ll get the award. Tyler Colvin, Gaby Sanchez, and Mike Leake are also playing good enough to garner some attention as well.
Comeback player – Alex Rios (.305/.361/.518, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 23 SB)
As recently as last year I ripped Rios and his former teammate Vernon Wells for having two of the worst contracts in all of baseball. They must’ve read my post and gotten pissed because both are having big seasons. Rios has reformed himself into that potential we always knew he always had, and is on the hottest team in the league right now. If he can keep it up, the Sox could be a lot to deal with in the playoffs, and has made the AL Central more interesting than most would’ve thought a couple months into the season.