July 4th is just around the corner, marking the unofficial halfway point in the Major League Baseball season. This one, just like almost every other, has proven the adage that you can’t script baseball.
As we hit the midway point, I hand out some mid-season awards.
AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
The rules of nature prevent me from believing Mike Trout is only 22.
While we’ve seen great seasons from Jose Altuve, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, Trout reigns over everyone with his combination of power, speed and fielding ability. And for the first time in his career, he finds himself on a team in great position to make the playoffs.
Trout is in the AL’s top 10 in home runs, RBIs, walks, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage — a feat no other player can claim. Combine that with his great play in center field, and Trout becomes a weapon baseball scouts can only dream of.
There’s still another half left to the season, but if Trout keeps slugging and the Angels keep winning, the choice for MVP is obvious.
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
This was the toughest decision I had to make. Apologies to Masahiro Tanaka and Yankees fans everywhere.
Tanaka and Hernandez’s stats are almost identical, with both posting an ERA of 2.10 and Hernandez having the edge in WHIP by .003. While Tanaka has one more win than Hernandez, the Mariners ace has pitched more innings and started more games.
I hate to do this, but my tie-breaker comes down to which of these player’s team has succeeded more, Surprisingly, that’s Hernandez’s Seattle right now.
NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Another really tough choice in this race. Tulowitzki and Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton are neck and neck, but Tulo gets the upper hand.
Tulowitzki has been one of the lone bright spots for Colorado this season, hitting 18 home runs and leading the NL in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Stanton has been almost as impressive, leading the league in home runs, RBIs and total bases.
The difference between the two comes down to fielding. While Tulowitzki leads all NL shortstops in fielding percentage, Stanton ranks ninth among NL left fielders.
NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, Reds
After Cueto suffered multiple injuries in 2013, many wondered how he would do returning to the mound. He’s delivered quite a message.
Cueto has been lethal, posting a 1.88 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and going 124.1 innings for the Reds this season. His run support has been subpar, creating a very deceiving 8-5 record that may mislead some Cy Young voters.
If there’s anything the sabermetric revolution has taught us, it’s that stats like wins are far less important compared to ERA and WHIP. I hope for Cueto’s sake that voters consider that before making their decision.
But the best thing about the midseason awards is that they’re only midseason. We still have three more months of baseball before the playoffs begin, and I can’t wait to see what changes are made.