Sunday, July 2, 2017

2017 MLB Midseason Awards

Goldschmidt is having an MVP-caliber season for the D-backs (
With many teams at or near the midway point of their season, it's time to hand out some hardware!

AL MVP: Aaron Judge
An easy call, as Judge is leading all position players in WAR (and pretty much everything else).

AL Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge
Only two players have ever won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season; Fred Lynn in 1975 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Judge is on track to become the third.

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale
The preseason favorite is now the midseason frontrunner, as Sale leads all of baseball (pitchers and position players) in WAR after twirling seven shutout innings and striking out 11 in Toronto yesterday. He's currently on pace for 22 wins and 332 strikeouts, which would be the most since Randy Johnson's 334 in 2002. NESN notes that he has 56 more K's than baserunners allowed, putting him on pace eclipse Pedro Martinez's record differential of 110 from 2000 -- regarded by many as the best season a pitcher ever had.

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Cobb
I'm never sure how to choose this award, but I feel like it's more geared towards players coming back from injury rather than substandard seasons. As such, Cobb is the choice here after making five starts last year in an abbreviated comeback from Tommy John surgery. He's rounded into form after struggling in his first handful of outings, posting a 3.38 ERA while holding opponents to a ,255 average over his past 12 starts. He's also on track for over 200 innings, which would be a career high, while providing stability for Tampa Bay's rotation beyond Chris Archer.

NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt
Close call here between him and Joey Votto, who's been a slightly better hitter (and the best in the NL), but Goldschmidt makes up the difference on the bases and with superior glovework at first. He's leading the Majors in runs (70) and RBIs (66) as a driving force for Arizona's 51-31 start. Voters love RBI guys on winning teams, but more analytically-inclined writers should have no problem getting behind his 1.029 OPS.

NL Rookie of the Year: Cody Bellinger
The NL's answer to Aaron Judge is going to run away with the award, if not hit 50 homers (he currently leads the NL with 24).

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer
If you've been on the internet lately, then you've heard that Scherzer has unofficially surpassed Clayton Kershaw as the NL's top hurler, as even Kershaw has fallen victim to the home run epidemic sweeping across baseball. Surprisingly Scherzer, who has been homer-prone at times throughout the career, has not. That's pretty much the difference between them right now, so if Kershaw can keep the ball in the yard and/or Scherzer endures another bout of gopheritis, then order will be restored and King Clayton will reclaim his throne.

NL Comeback Player of the Year: Brandon McCarthy
McCarthy has already surpassed his innings total from the past two seasons combined and is pitching like he was in his prime at the start of the decade. Injuries sabotaged his first two seasons with the Dodgers, but now that he's healthy he's pitching like the guy they thought they were getting when they signed him to a four-year, $48 million deal following his lone 200-inning campaign in 2014.

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