One of the more popular topics around the blogosphere would be the mid-season award list.
It doesn’t matter what sport or league it is, people love to read who would win MVP or Rookie of the Year if the season ended today. So without further adieu, here are my mid-season awards.
(All stats are through June 30, 2013.)
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers (25 HR, .373/.461/.680, .477 wOBA, 5.4 fWAR)
If we thought last year’s MVP race was great (*holds tongue about the result*), wait until this year’s comes down to the wire.
Cabrera has had an unbelievable first half of the season, and is on pace to shatter his Triple Crown numbers from a season ago. Looking to become a two-time winner with Ted Williams (1942 & 1947) and Rogers Hornsby (1922 & 1925), the biggest thing in his way is the emergence, or rather, overall ridiculousness of Oriole slugger Chris Davis.
Davis (31 HR, .332/.406/.728, .467 wOBA, 4.6 fWAR) is two bombs away from tying last season’s total, and could challenge Roger Maris if he can stay healthy.
And of course, that Mike Trout (13 HR, .315/.392/.545, .399 wOBA, 4.7 fWAR) fella will make his case as the schedule heads into its second half. He might not have the argument that he had last year, but putting together one of the best age 21 seasons isn’t anything to scoff at.
NL MVP: Carlos Gonzalez, LF, Colorado Rockies (22 HR, .296/.363/.604, .408 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR)
The Colorado Rockies have a very strong claim to possessing the best duo in the league – if either of them could stay healthy for an entire year. Gonzalez has done so through 2013 (Troy Tulowitzki, however, is out for a few more weeks with a broken rib), and is the catalyst to a Rockies team that will be in the NL West race all season. He’s even hitting better away from Coors Field (.280 avg. home to .312 avg. away), something that has plagued Colorado MVP candidates in the past.
Paul Goldschmidt (19 HR, .306/.386/.555, .400 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR) also plays in a hitters heaven, and like Gonzalez, he’s actually hit better away from home (.287 avg. home to .320 avg. away). Joey Votto (who I consider the game’s best pure hitter after Cabrera) said that Goldschmidt has been the NL’s best hitter – high praise for a player who is currently in their second full-time season.
I hate to mention unmeasurable data, but the things Yadier Molina (6 HR, .345/.387./.497, .381 wOBA, 3.4 fWAR) does for the Cardinals’ pitchers are unmatched. Molina currently leads the NL in batting average, an unreal improvement for a player who hit .216 in 2006.
AL Cy Young: Bartolo Colon, RHP, Oakland Athletics (11-2, 2.79 ERA, 106.1 IP, 5.16 K/9, 4.69 K/BB)
This is a homer pick, and I don’t care. Last year Bartolo Colon came out of nowhere (10-9, 3.43 ERA, 152.1 IP, 1.082 WHIP, 5.4 K/9, 3.96 K/BB) to steady the Oakland Athletics’ rotation, and my fantasy team thanked him despite a PED suspension that knocked out the rest of his season in August. The 40-year-old former Cy Young winner (2005) is putting up better numbers this time around, and is doing this while throwing fastballs 84% of the time. His career resurrection has once again stabilized the Athletics’ starting five, and it’s one of the coolest things baseball has seen.
Another former Cy Young winner (2010), Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.70 ERA, 116.2 IP, 1.097 WHIP, 9.49 K/9, 5.59 K/BB), should be ahead of Colon, but I said I’m a homer when it comes to the Oakland right-hander. Nevertheless, King Felix is having a fantastic season with the highest K/9 and K/BB of his career. He’s my pick to start his first All-Star Game on the 16th.
Right-handers Clay Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA, 84.1 IP, 1.020 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.79 K/BB) and Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 2.76 ERA, 81.2 IP, 1.151 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 4.39 K/BB) would garner more consideration if they weren’t riddled by the injury bug.
NL Cy Young: Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets (7-1, 2.00 ERA, 117.0 IP, 0.855 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 5.50 K/BB) and Adam Wainwright, RHP, Cardinals (11-5, 2.22 ERA, 125.2 IP, 0.995 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 9.50 K/BB)
What a year for National League pitchers if someone like Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (11-3, 2.28 ERA, 114.2 IP, 0.916 WHIP, 6.3 K/9, 4.71 K/BB) and Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.22 ERA, 109.2 IP, 1.003 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 2.93 K/BB) can’t get anything more than this passing mention.
Take your pick between Harvey and Wainwright at this point, there isn’t a wrong choice. Harvey has the better ERA, WHIP, and K/9; Wainwright has a K/BB ratio four points higher than second place (5.94, Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners), currently is in sixth place all-time in that department for a single season, and leads the league in complete games (4) and shutouts (2).
Like I said, there’s not a wrong choice. But if you do want to argue against those two, there are two former Cy Young winning left-handers that provide a good argument.
Cliff Lee (9-2, 2.59 ERA, 125.1 IP, 0.965 WHIP, 8.3 K/9, 5.48 K/BB) of the Phillies actually leads all pitchers in fWAR (3.6) and is the only ace standing from their Big 3. (Cole Hamels is technically still standing, but he’s been so bad that it should be a crime to put him the same sentence as Lee right now.) The game’s best pitcher in my opinion, Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 2.08 ERA, 121.1 IP, 0.964 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 3.58 K/BB), has somehow gone under the radar this season. His numbers are on pace to be similar to his award-winning year (2011), yet Puigmania (more on him later) is the main attraction at Dodger Stadium.
AL Rookie of the Year: Leonys Martin, CF, Texas Rangers (5 HR, .293/.343/.452, .345 wOBA, 1.4 fWAR)
Yuck, what a terrible selection of players. Martin’s teammate with the Rangers, Jurickson Profar, has been ordinary in his time with the big club (although Ron Washington can partly be to blame there), and other pre-season favorites like Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Wil Myers have either struggled or haven’t spent enough time in the majors. I do think Myers eventually wins this if he sticks, but for the time being this is Martin’s award.
Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin (4 HR, .295/.363/.482, .368 wOBA, 1.0 fWAR) has had a great first 31 games, while Angels right-handed reliever Dane De La Rosa (3-1, 3.16 ERA, 37.0 IP, 1.162 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 2.92 K/BB) qualifies as a rookie at 30 years old.
NL Rookie of the Year: Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals (8-6, 2.79 ERA, 93.2 IP, 1.068 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 4.59 K/BB)
Despite his recent struggles, Miller gets the nod here over the hard-charging Yaisel Puig. Miller won the fifth starter’s job in the spring and hasn’t looked back, starting the season with a 1.91 ERA and an opponent’s batting average of .209. Those numbers have jumped after the right-hander has given up four runs in three of his last four starts, but he still possesses the most complete resume.
What can’t I say about Yaisel Puig (7 HR, .436/.467/.713, .503 wOBA, 1.8 fWAR)? I was set on rooting against the Dodgers because of their free-spending ways, but I can’t help but be amazed by the soon-to-be 23-year-old Cuban. Obviously, he’s due for regression, and I’m doubtful that he is the same kind of player his Los Angeles neighbor Mike Trout is. But if he can keep his numbers respectable and Miller continues his struggles, then the city will have its second Rookie of the Year in a row.
It’s not a shame that people aren’t watching the Miami Marlins, but it is a shame that some people don’t know who Jose Fernandez (4-4, 2.98 ERA, 84.2 IP, 1.122 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, 2.63 K/BB) is. The 20-year-old right-hander was a controversial call-up after spring training, but he’s proven that he belongs in the majors. I got to personally watch him on a dreary day last year in low-A ball, and knew he’d be special when he struck out the side with his power fastball and a slider that can be regarded as one of the best in the league today.
I’ll give Cardinals right-handed set-up man Trevor Rosenthal (1-1, 2.08 ERA, 39.0 IP, 1.077 WHIP, 12.9 K/9, 7.00 K/BB) here as well. It’s hard to believe he still has his rookie eligibility after he mowed down batters with triple-digit heat in last year’s post-season, but after an unlucky start to the year, he’s done the same thing in a new role.
Feel free to let me know what you think by posting a comment on here, or tweeting at me @WoyRMU15.