Friday, July 20, 2012

Belated First Half Awards

The second half of the baseball season is now a week old, but here are my belated midseason awards.  Better late than never!

AL MVP-Josh Hamilton
Still riding the wave that crested in May, because it bears mentioning that since June 1st he's hitting just /.207/.303/.422.  He had to fall back to Earth at some point, though, and despite the funk he leads the majors in home runs and RBI.

Honorable Mentions: Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Miguel Cabrera, Adam Jones

AL Cy Young-Justin Verlander
There has been no drop off in performance for the 2011 AL MVP/Cy Young.  Check this out:
2011  2.40 ERA  172 ERA+  0.92 WHIP  6.2 H/9  0.9 HR/9  2.0 BB/9  9.0 K/9  4.39 K/BB
2012  2.43 ERA  170 ERA+  0.93 WHIP  6.3 H/9  0.7 HR/9  2.0 BB/9  8.7 K/9  4.25 K/BB
While he hasn't been receiving the same fanfare/hype/attention/whatever you want to call it as he did last year, he's been every bit as dominant this season.

Honorable Mentions: Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, David Price, Chris SaleFelix Hernandez

AL Rookie of the Year-Mike Trout
The 20 year old phenom leads all of baseball in runs scored and stolen bases with 66 and 30, respectively.  But that's not all; he ranks second to David Wright in bWAR, is running away with the AL batting title (his .352 mark leads Joe Mauer by 23 points) and has the best OPS+ (177) in the Junior Circuit.  He has to cool off at some point, but it's safe to say that when the dust clears his rookie campaign will rate as one of the best of all time.  This piece of hardware is all but guaranteed.

Honorable Mentions: Yu Darvish, Ryan Cook, Will Middlebrooks, Yoenis Cespedes

AL Comeback Player of the Year-Adam Dunn
Dunn isn't done, after all. He remains on pace to obliterate Mark Reynolds' single season strikeout record, but he's tied with Hamilton for the major league lead in home runs with 28.  His .863 OPS has bounced back nearly 300 points from last season's woeful .569 low water mark, and he just stole his first base since 2008!  His return to form has played a citical role in Chicago' ascendance to the top of the American League Central

Honorable Mentions: Jake Peavy, Jason Hammel, Joe Mauer, Alex Rios, Jonathan Broxton, Joe Nathan

NL MVP-Joey Votto
A torn meniscus derailed what was shaping up to be a Ted Williams-esque season from Votto-matic, who was tripe-slashing .342/.465/.604 at the time of the injury.  With 36 doubles in mid-July he was also poised to make a serious run at the single season record of 67 two-baggers, set by Boston's Earl Webb in 1931.  The 2010 NL MVP is due back sometime in August, at which point he should resume terrorizing National League pitching.   Alas, Webb's place as a footnote in the rich annals of baseball history is secure.  For now.

Honorable Mentions: Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Carlos Gonzalez,

NL Cy Young-R.A. Dickey
The 37 year-old knuckleballer boasts a remarkable 13-1 record this season with his lone loss coming at the hands of the division rival Braves all the way back on April 18th.  Another cool stat: the Mets are 15-4 when he starts, and 32-41 when he doesn't.  By surrendering five earned runs in three of his past five starts he's struggled since firing back-to-back one-hitters in June, so he might pull a Ubaldo Jimenez circa 2010 and fade after dominating the first half. 

Honorable Mentions: Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain,  Lance Lynn, Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Dempster, Tim Lincecum (kidding)

NL Rookie of the Year-Bryce Harper
The 19 year-old is having the best season by a teenager since Tony Conigliaro's 1964 debut.  Nothing in his stat line jumps off the page; but he's enjoying a well-rounded season and has performed well in every aspect of the game.  Could go 20/20 and score 100 runs.

Honorable Mentions: Wade Miley, Wilin Rosario, Todd Frazier

NL Comeback Player of the Year-David Wright
What a turnaround for Wright, who hasn't played this well since 2008.  Wright was a major disappointment/missed 60 games last season but is leading the Show in bWAR and playing like an MVP in 2012.  
2011  .254/.345/.427
2012  .353/.443/.586

Honorable Mentions-Johan Santana, Adam LaRoche, Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainwright,

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