With a 47-38 record at the All-Star break, The Chicago White Sox have surprised most of the baseball world so far this season.
The Sox are three games up on the Cleveland Indians as they get set to begin a grueling stretch where they play 16 out of their next 19 games on the road, and they are winning by playing fundamental team baseball.
Now, even though the Sox are winning as a team, certain players are standing out for their contributions; and if MLB’s individual awards were handed out to the White Sox players today, your winners would be:
Most Valuable Player:
Team captain Paul Konerko takes home the first-half White Sox MVP award. Not only is Konerko batting .329 with 14 home runs, 42 RBIs and an OPS of .932, but he provides the leadership that drives this team.
Not only is Sale the Cy Young of the White Sox staff, he may well be the league's Cy Young favorite at this point.
His 2.19 ERA is second in the AL among qualifying pitchers, he owns a 10-2 record and his incredible WHIP of .955 leads the Sox starters.
Is it time to stop calling the Sox a surprise?
Peavy and rookie Jose Quintana are having fine seasons to be sure, but there is no doubt about this one.
Sale takes this home in a landslide.
Rookie of the Year:
Is there any question that Quintana is the White Sox’ ROY? No.
Clocking in at 4-1 with an ERA of 2.04, a .977 WHIP and the mound presence of former Sox starter Mark Buehrle, Quintana is arguably the ROY in the AL.
Addison Reed has taken on a greater role as the season has progressed and should be brought up; but without Quintana, the Sox are in serious trouble. The way he stepped in when John Danks went down was an absolute blessing for the Sox.
Comeback Player of the Year:
This is a tough one. Is it Adam Dunn who has 25 dingers and 61 RBI’s or Alex Rios who is batting .318 with 12 long balls and 49 knocked in?
What about Gordon Beckham, who has come alive lately to raise his average .243 and already has nearly as many RBIs this season (37) as all of last (44)?
Nope. The award goes to Peavy. He has been dominating at times this year, and his slider is just plain nasty. As important as his 7-5 record and 2.85 ERA are, Peavy has brought intensity and a sense of leadership to the pitching staff that at one point this season had nine rookies on it.
There you go. The first-half is done, and the awards have been handed out, Sox fans.
The rest of July is going to be brutal, so let’s get after it!