With the All-Star break now underway, it’s time to handout hardware to the best of the first half.
So far we’ve seen no-hitters, Cuban missile shows, the yearly A-ROD PED scandal and Camden Yards turn into a home run waiting to happe. Now, let’s award the best of the best before everything changes in the second half.
Note: No coaching awards yet. If I had to John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox would win for the AL over Terry Francona ironically and Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates over Mike Matheny.
AL MVP: MIguel Cabrera
How can a man hitting .315/.392/.717 with 37 home runs and 93 RBIs in just the first half of the season, not be the midseason MVP for his respective league? Yes, I am talking about Chris Davis’ unreal season so far, but no he is not the AL MVP at the season’s midpoint.
Davis is not the MVP so far as Miguel Cabrera makes it a cruel, cruel world for Davis. Cabrera is having an even better season than his Triple Crown year, the season before. His first-half slash line reads .365/.458/.674 with 30 home runs and 95 RBI for the first place Detroit Tigers. Cabrera’s monster half is also coming at the same time Prince Fielder is having a down season so far.
Comparing Cabrera and Davis
AVG: Cabrera 1st, Davis 7th
OB %: Cabrera 1st, Davis 6th
SLG %: Davis 1st, Cabrera 2nd
OPS: Cabrera 1st, Davis 2nd
Runs: Cabrera 1st, Davis 2nd
Hits: Cabrera 1st, Davis Not Top 10
Total Bases: Davis 1st, Cabrera 2nd
HR: Davis 1st, Cabrera 2nd
RBI: Cabrera 1st, Davis 2nd
Adjusted OPS: Cabrera 1st, Davis 2nd
WAR: Cabrera 1st, Davis 8th
Offensive WAR: Cabrera 1st, Davis 3rd
Cabrera and Davis are a step away from each other in multiple categories. Davis has had a phenomenal breakout season, but Cabrera is still the best player on the planet, making him the AL midseason MVP.
Honorable Mention: Davis, Robinson Cano, Manny Machado, Dustin Pedroia
NL MVP: Yadier Molina
Let’s think about this for a moment. The baseball world has turned to WAR to determine value for the sake of argument lately. Mike Trout’s crazy WAR had people wanting him to win AL MVP over Cabrera last year. This season, Yadier Molina does not rank in the top 10 in WAR for the NL and is 10th for Defensive WAR in the NL. Can we please agree that WAR is not the best tool for comparison in many cases?
Molina has been sensational both offensively and defensively for the best team in the NL. The St. Louis Cardinals are 57-36, sitting one game over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central. Molina’s numbers are great, and his impact is even larger.
On offense, Molina has a .341/.386/.489 slash and has hit seven home runs. He’s on pace to become the second catcher in 70 years to win an NL batting title. The other was of course Buster Posey last season.
Defensively, Molina is at the top of his game once again. Molina has .996 fielding percentage, has only committed three errors and has thrown out 45 percent of base-stealers. The Cardinals’ pitching staff also ranks third in the NL with a 3.40 ERA. This is with a rookie pitcher and no Chris Carpenter in the rotation.
Molina is the definition of valuable, just like Posey. Without Molina the Cardinals would not be the same, offensively, defensively or in the win column. For pure offense, Paul Goldschmidt deserves plenty of recognition, but for value the award is Molina’s.
Honorable Mention: Goldschmidt, Clayton Kershaw, Joey Votto, Buster Posey
AL Cy Young: Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer’s last start before the All-Star break gave him his first loss. That is a big accomplishment, but his season has been more than just wins and losses.
Scherzer has been at the top of his game in a season when Justin Verlander has become human again. The Tigers are 15-4 when Scherzer starts games. His 13 wins are tied for first and his 13-0 start before his first loss had him mentioned with Roger Clemens.
The Tigers ace ranks in the top 10 for AL pitching leaders.
K’s per 9: 2nd
Hits per 9: 2nd
Scherzer’s 13-1 certainly does not hurt, but his season is more than wins. Wins are much overrated, but not meaningless and if Scherzer keeps winning, while being at the top of multiple categories, the award is his.
Honorable Mention: Felix Hernandez, Matt Moore, Yu Darvish, Bartolo Colon
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
I absolutely want to give this award to Matt Harvey. Simple enough, Kershaw is still the best pitcher on the planet and the Los Angeles Dodgers would not be close to the top of the NL West without him.
Kershaw leads all of baseball in ERA (1.98) and WHIP (.908), but should that really be a surprise? No. Kershaw is all about consistency. In the NL, Kershaw ranks at the top of most pitching categories.
Games Started: 1st
HR per 9: 3rd
Adjusted ERA+: 1st
Hits per 9: 1st
Walks & Hits per 9: 1st
Simply put, he is the best. That’s all there is to it.
Honorable Mention: Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Adam Wainwright, Jordan Zimmerman
NL Rookie of the Year: Shelby Miller
The National League rookie class has been solid so far. Throughout the year, the head of the class has been St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller.
At midseason, Miller is 9-6 with a 2.92 ERA on the best team in the NL. He has struck out 112 in 104.2 innings and strikes out 9.6 batters per 9 while only walking 2.5 batters per 9.
Miller has been the best rookie in the NL so far, but will Yasiel Puig pass him by the time the season is over?
Honorable Mention: Jose Fernandez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Evan Gattis, Yasiel Puig
AL Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias
The American League rookie class has been a little more difficult to judge than the NL. The front-runner so far for the award is the Boston Red Sox’s Jose Iglesias.
Iglesias came into the season as a defensive wizard at shortstop that couldn’t hit. Now, he’s a sweet- swinging third baseman, thanks to the struggles and injuries of Will Middlebrooks.
In 52 games played, Iglesias has shined at the plate. He is hitting .367/.417/.461 with 66 hits. On defense he has only committed three errors between third base and shortstop. With Xander Bogaerts and Middlebrooks in the organization, it will be interesting to see what happens with Iglesias.
Honorable Mention: Nick Franklin, Dan Straily, Nick Tepesch, Oswaldo Arcia