With the official half-way point in the MLB season upon us, I wanted to take a look at who's stuck out in the first half of the season by selecting who would win each of baseball's major awards if the season were to end today! So here we go:
AMERICAN LEAGUE AWARDS
AL MVP: Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau is on pace for a career year, and that's saying something, seeing as he's already won an AL MVP award (2006). One pace for a 40 home run, 135 RBI year, and he's hitting .312 to boot. His teammate, Joe Mauer, could also get some votes, as should Torii Hunter, Mark Teixeira, and Evan Longoria.
AL Cy Young: Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals: Greinke is having the best season out of any AL starter right now, and despite being snubbed for the AL all-star start, he shouldn't miss out on the Cy Young award if he has a second half that's close to matching his first half magic.
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics: Bailey has kind of come out of nowhere and taken reigns of the A's closer position. His 10 saves, 1.92 ERA, and 60 strikeouts lead all Major League rookie relievers. He should be a solid closer in Oakland for years to come.
Manager of the Year: Ron Washington, Texas Rangers: The former A's coach took a couple of seasons to get settled in Texas, but he's finally turning that franchise around, as they sit at 48-39, their best record they've had at an all-star break in many years. They're only 1.5 back of the Angels in what should be a tight division race down to the wire.
Comeback Player of the Year: Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays: After struggling through an injury plagued 2008 season, in which he hit just .263 with 2 HR's and 20 RBI in 240 at-bats, he's bounced back and is having a career year. He is amongst the AL leaders in home runs (20) and RBI (60), and has had his average right around .300 or better all year.
Rolaids Relief Man: Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins: Joe Nate just continues to dominate year in and year out. He's aging terrifically, as he's 34 years of age, but quite possibly putting together his best statistical season of his career. I still can't get over the trade that sent him, Liriano, and Bonser to the Twins for that POS catcher.
National League Awards
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: Forget just the mid-season award, I think it's pretty safe to say, unless he gets injured of course, that Pujols will reel in his third career NL MVP Award. The dude has put up numbers (.332 avg, 32 HR, 87 RBI, 73 R, 10 SB) that most stars, not just average players, but most all-stars, would take over course of a full season. The best-right handed hitter I've seen on my 25 years on the planet.
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants: Dan Haren is equally deserving, but Tim Lincecum has led his team atop the NL Wild Card standings and has earned himself the start for the National League in Tuesday's all-star game. Putting up even better numbers than the ones he won his first Cy Young award with last season. Again though, if Dan Haren's ERA and WHIP continue to drop, it would be hard to argue against him as well.
Rookie of the Year: Randy Wells, Chicago Cubs: Tommy Hanson and Andrew McCutchen have had nice first-halves, but Wells has been a solid cog in the Cubbies' pitching staff all season long and is sporting an impressive 2.72 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He's only been credited with 4 wins do to lack of run support, and he's only had one bad start in 12 outings.
Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants: Boch has the Giants, a team everyone thought would struggle to make it to .500, atop the NL wild card standings and has led them to the second best record in the league at the break. He's been pushing all the right buttons in order to win ballgames and squeeze runs out of an average-at-best starting lineup.
Comeback Player of the Year: Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals: After missing most of the last two seasons due to a broken down elbow, Carpenter has returned back to his ace-like ways (7-3, 2.47 ERA, 0.87 WHIP with a 64:13 strikeout/walk ratio in his 83 innings pitched this year. In fact, there are some that feel he's throwing the ball better now than he did during his last healthy season in 2006.
Rolaids Relief Man: Ryan Franklin, St. Louis Cardinals: There's a reason why the Cards are atop a very deep division in the NL Central. Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter are doing what they do best, but the Cards have developed themselves an elite closer in Ryan Franklin aka "The Beard", and I think his steadiness has really made a difference in the standings. His 0.79 ERA and WHIP are, by far, the best in the league and he's tied for third in the NL in Saves. Heath Bell and K-Rod should also get some recognition.
Published at The Bay Area Sports Journal By Trevor Cole