Monday, July 15, 2013

First Half Awards

AL MVP--Miguel Cabrera
Chris Davis has been ridiculous, but it's Cabrera who leads most of baseball's offensive categories including runs, hits, RBI, batting average, OBP, OPS, and OPS+. He also has the most bWAR in the Junior Circuit, which was not the case when he won the award last year. If Davis gets hurt and/or endures a prolonged power outage, Miggy's going to cruise to another Triple Crown.

AL Cy Young--Felix Hernandez
Tough call between King Felix and Max Scherzer, but I'll side with Hernandez, who's pacing the Junior Circuit in ERA, innings pitched, and bWAR for pitchers. That combination of quality and quantity make him the favorite in my book.

AL Rookie of the Year--Jose Iglesias
A weak rookie class in the American League has allowed Boston's 23 year-old shortstop to jump to the front of the pack. The slick-fielding Iglesias has paired stellar defense with a .367 batting average through just under 200 plate appearances this season. Granted, that batting average is both empty (just one home run) and a mirage (a byproduct of his inflated .414 BABiP), but his ability to leg out infield hits should keep his batting average north of .300.

AL Comeback Player of the Year--Mariano Rivera
This one's a no-brainer. The 43 year-old Rivera rebounded from a torn ACL to reclaim his status as one of the game's premier closers. It's been business as usual for Rivera, who has 30 saves and a 1.83 ERA entering the All-Star Break.

NL MVP--Paul Goldschmidt
Where would the Arizona Diamondbacks be without Goldschmidt, the NL RBI leader and lone force in an otherwise mediocre lineup? Not at the top of their division, that's for sure.

NL Cy Young--Clayton Kershaw
Could easily go with Adam Wainwright or Matt Harvey here, but I'll stick with the 25 year-old southpaw shooting for his second career Cy. Kershaw's having another remarkable season as he leads the majors in ERA, ERA+, WHIP, and lowest H/9. Ignore his 8-6 record and focus on his stellar peripherals instead.

NL Rookie of the Year--Shelby Miller
Yasiel Puig has enjoyed a phenomenal first six weeks to his big league career, but let's see if he can keep producing at a high level through the rest of the summer before handing him the hardware. For now it belongs to Miller, who posted a 2.92 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 9.6 K/9 rate in the first half.

NL Comeback Player of the Year--Chase Utley
At 34, Utley isn't the elite player he was five year ago, but his age hasn't stopped him from bouncing back from three straight injury plagued campaigns. Despite missing a month of action he's already been worth three wins above replacement thanks to his steady defense and power resurgence --his .220 ISO is the highest it's been since 2009. He's been great on a per-game basis and, health permitting, should be able to finish with strong all-around numbers.

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