The 2013 MLB baseball season is flying by as the majority of the league has already passed the first quarter mark on the season. The good news is that the baseball season is so long that if teams or players have gotten off to a slow start, there is still time to turn the season around. This article though will focus on the players who have started off with a strong season.
By looking at a couple of different factors including how many categories each player leads his team in and the overall impact they have, I have selected one MVP and one Cy Young winner for each team for their play to date this season.
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MVP- Paul Goldschmidt
The first baseman for the Diamondbacks has had a good first quarter of the year and one of the reasons the Diamondbacks are fighting for a division lead with the Giants. He has had 47 hits through 41 games with 10 home runs and 31 RBI. The Diamondbacks will need him to continue his stellar play all season to make up for the loss of Justin Upton and keep them in contention.
Cy Young- Patrick Corbin
On a staff with Trevor Cahill, Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy, the young lefty has been a pleasant surprise. In seven starts this year, Corbin is 6-0 and leads the team's starters in ERA and quality starts. The Diamondbacks could have a tough decision on who to bump out of the rotation when Daniel Hudson returns later this season.
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MVP- Justin Upton
Justin Upton is off to a great start with his new organization and the team's MVP and has put himself into contention for even the NL MVP award. He is leading the team in a number of categories including batting average, hits, home runs and RBI. With their pitching and Justin Upton playing at the level he is, the Braves are going to be a tough team all season.
Cy Young- Mike Minor
Mike Minor has been a key piece and the star of a very strong pitching rotation. Mike Minor has the lowest ERA among the starters at 2.75 and leads the team n quality starts and wins. Kris Medlen was the star entering the season among the starters but Minor has actually performed better over the first quarter of the year.
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MVP- Chris Davis
Chris Davis is following up a career year last year with another good first quarter in 2013. He already has 11 home runs and 37 RBI through 37 games but more impressive is his batting average which currently sits at .311. This is well above his career average of .260 and it will be interesting to see if he is able to maintain that average over a full season.
Cy Young- Jim Johnson
The Baltimore Orioles closer has been the team's best pitcher to date by saving 14 of the teams 23 wins. He has an ERA that is at 1.80 and 17 strikeouts in 20 innings of work. It will be an interesting battle down the stretch in the AL East and the Orioles will need to secure all the wins they can.
Boston Red Sox
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MVP- Dustin Pedroia
Over the past couple of seasons it seems like there has been a strong correlation between the team's success and how well Pedroia plays. This year is no different as the Red Sox are one of the surprise teams and in the hunt for the division lead. Pedroia is also off to a fast start with his .340 batting average and eight stolen bases but will need to stay healthy for the course of the season which remains to be seen.
Cy Young- Clay Buchholz
Clay Buchholz is not only the Cy Young winner for the team but is in the race for the AL Cy Young. He has been one of the best pitchers this season over the first quarter of the year. He has a record of 6-0 over his first eight starts with 60 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.69.
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MVP- Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo could be finally reaching the potential many have seen in the first baseman. He is currently in the Top 5 for home runs and RBI in the National League with nine and 29 respectively. If he continues to play at this level, they could have a very good hitter to pair up with Starlin Castro for years to come.
Cy Young- Travis Wood
With Matt Garza still out with an injury, Travis Wood has really stepped his game up over the first quarter of the year and been pitching at a high level. He is 4-2 with a 2.03 ERA and 26 strikeouts. He is only two wins away from matching his career high for wins in a season and fans should be excited about his future with club.
Chicago White Sox
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MVP- Alex Rios
Since he was picked up off of waivers, Alex Rios has been a key player on this team but is off to one of his best starts this year. He has already hit nine home runs and has a .289 batting average but more importantly is he is generating more walks this year. Last season in 157 games he had only 26 walks but this year he has 15 through 39 games.
Cy Young- Chris Sale
Chris Sale is following up a solid first half last year with another strong start but there is a question of if he can keep this up over the course of a whole season. He leads the team in quality starts and has the lowest ERA among the team's starters. The White Sox will need him to continue this pace if they hope to get out of the basement in the AL Central.
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MVP- Shin-Soo Choo
There has been no learning curve for this outfielder since joining the club over the offseason. He has hit nine home runs and a .322 batting average and has been a big reason the club has been able to stay close to the Cardinals. This will be a strong lineup down the stretch if Choo continues to play well with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce among others.
Cy Young- Aroldis Chapman
This selection came down to Chapman and Mat Latos with Chapman getting the nod because Latos has given up nine runs over his past two starts. Chapman on the other hand has been dominant being in the closer role registering eight saves in as many chances and giving up only five runs in 26 innings pitched.
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MVP- Carlos Santana
The catcher for the Indians is having a great start to the season and playing at a very high level. He is hitting .319 with 11 doubles and seven home runs. He has helped the Indians and manager Terry Francona get off to the fast start and has them right behind Detroit for the division lead.
Cy Young- Justin Masterson
Justin Masterson developed into the workhorse of the Indians pitching staff over the first quarter of the season. He is 6-2 with a 3.14 ERA but more important is the fact that he already has two complete games shutouts, which is a career high. With players like Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers continuing to struggle, the Indians will rely more heavily on Masterson as the season progresses.
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MVP- Troy Tulowitzki
The Rockies shortstop is one of the best in the game and over the first quarter is playing like that. The biggest knock against Tulowitzki has been his injury history and if he can stay healthy over a full season. The Rockies are sure hoping he can and hope he can continue to hit over .300 and add to his season total of eight home runs and 32 RBI.
Cy Young- Jorge De La Rosa
This was one of the tougher selections because De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin have played at nearly the same level all season. De La Rosa was the pick because he has one more win than Chacin as well as few more innings pitched and four more strikeouts. A case could be made for either but the first quarter goes to De La Rosa.
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MVP- Miguel Cabrera
It does not look like Miguel Cabrera will be slowing down anytime soon as he has followed up his Triple Crown with a .369 batting average, seven home runs and 40 RBI over the first quarter of 2013. In a lineup with Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter, Cabrera should continue to have plenty of opportunities to produce.
Cy Young- Justin Verlander
This was not a sure thing as some may think. Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander have the same record, nearly the same number of innings pitched and Sanchez actually has more strikeouts than Verlander. However, Verlander has the lower ERA and given up less hits and that is why he gets the nod here.
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MVP- Jose Altuve
It seems like the Astros second baseman continues to develop and get better every game. He was the lone All-Star representative from Houston last season and looks like he could be back again this year. He is currently hitting .333 and has nine doubles.
Cy Young- Bud Norris
The Astros starting rotation has been in disarray for the majority of the season and they have already had seven pitchers start a game. Bud Norris currently has a record of 4-4 with a 4.32 ERA but the reason he beat out Lucas Harrell is he is much better at Minute Maid Park. He has a record of 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA when he pitches at home, which is impressive considering how small the park is.
Kansas City Royals
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MVP- Alex Gordon
Alex Gordon is starting to develop a reputation of a player who can hit for a good average and over 20 home runs a season. This year is no different as he is hitting .322 and on pace for 24 home runs with six already through the first quarter. If Eric Hosmer is able to turn things around, the Royals should be right there with Cleveland and Detroit all season.
Cy Young- Jeremy Guthrie
Many would of predicted at the start of the season this award would of went to one of the team's big pitching acquisitions in James Shields, Wade Davis or even Ervin Santana. While James Shields has pitched well, Jeremy Guthrie has been the team's best pitcher this season. He is currently 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA and one complete game shutout.
Los Angeles Angels
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MVP- Mike Trout
This pick came down to Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo and even though Trout has seen his numbers drop from last year, he is still the team's best player. The drop in stats was expected though because he played at such a high level it would be nearly impossible to repeat them. With that said, he still has six home runs, 25 RBI and six stolen bases to go with his .283 batting average, which are all solid numbers.
Cy Young- Ernesto Frieri
It is hard to believe that Ernesto Frieri would be the best team's pitcher over the first part of the season with a rotation including Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson but that is exactly what has happened. With Ryan Madson not being ready for the start of the season, Frieri has taken the closer role and given some stability to the position. The Angels only have 14 wins and Frieri has saved half of them which is one of the reasons he won the award.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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MVP- Carl Crawford
There was some concern at the beginning of Spring Training that Carl Crawford would not be ready for the start of the season. He ended up being ready and has shown no rust after playing only 31 games last year due to Tommy John surgery. He is currently hitting .311 with five home runs and 10 RBI but more importantly shown he still has speed on the base paths with eight stolen bases.
Cy Young- Clayton Kershaw
This was a no brainer as Kershaw has to be one of the favorites for the NL Cy Young award. His record isn't impressive at 4-2 but he has an ERA of only 1.40 and 67 strikeouts through his first nine starts. With the return of Zack Greinke and Kershaw playing at a high level, the Dodgers should make a push over the final three quarters of the season.
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MVP- Justin Ruggiano
With the injury to Giancarlo Stanton, Ruggiano has been the team's best player through the first quarter of the season. He is only hitting .216 but has seven home runs, 16 RBI and .418 slugging percentage, which are good enough to lead the team's starters in those categories. If Ruggiano continues to develop the way he has, the Marlins could have a couple of pieces to rebuild this organization around.
Cy Young- Kevin Slowey
Kevin Slowey did not pitch in the majors at all last season and joined the Marlins this winter with a minor league deal. The 1-3 record would not impress anyone but the 2.55 ERA and 1.14 WHIP are very respectable numbers. If he is able to keep the ERA and WHIP down, he could potentially be moved at the trade deadline or in line for a new contract at the end of the season.
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MVP- Jean Segura
This is a three person race between Segura, Carlos Gomez, and Ryan Braun with Segura just a little bit better than the other two. Braun has higher home run and RBI totals but those are the only categories he leads the team in. Jean Segura on the other hand leads or is tied for the lead on the team in hits, triples, batting average, and OBP and wins the award for the first quarter.
Cy Young- Kyle Lohse
It looks like the Brewers made a good choice offering Lohse a contract right before the start of the season as he has been the team's best pitcher at this point in the season. He doesn't have a great record at 1-4 but leads the team's starters in ERA and WHIP.
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MVP- Joe Mauer
Another surprise of the season has to be the fact that the Twins find themselves above .500 after the first quarter of the season. Joe Mauer has been one of the big reasons for the organization success and looks to build on a bounce back year last season. He is continuing to hit at a high average but looks like he is running the bases much better. Through 35 games he has 15 doubles and is on pace to beat last year's total of 31.
Cy Young- Kevin Correia
Kevin Correia is off to a great start to 2013 as he leads the teams' starters in quality starts, wins, ERA, and WHIP. He is currently pitching well above his career marks so it will be interesting to watch over the course of the season if he can continue pitching at this high level.
New York Mets
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MVP- David Wright
David Wright's performance over the first quarter of the year is all too familiar to Mets' fans but that does not mean it should go unrecognized. For some time now, Wright has been the Mets' best player and this year is no different. The one stat that should be mentioned is the fact that he has seven stolen bases this year. This puts him on pace to have his best season in that category since 2007 when he stole 34 bases.
Cy Young- Matt Harvey
It is not an easy feat to get fans to forget about the fact that their team traded the reigning NL Cy Young winner but that is exactly what Matt Harvey has done. He is currently 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched. He is not eligible for Rookie of the Year this season, even though he would be the clear favorite, because he pitched over 50 innings in 2012. However, he should be a favorite for the NL Cy Young award if he continues to pitch like he has been.
New York Yankees
MVP- Robinson Cano
This award came down to Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells who have put up very similar numbers through the first quarter of the year. They are tied or within one of each other in home runs, RBI, walks, and batting average. The only reason Cano was the choice was because he has 10 doubles to only four for Wells.
Cy Young- Hiroki Kuroda
Hiroki Kuroda has been the team's best pitcher this season even though they have CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on their staff. Kuroda leads the teams in quality starts, wins, ERA and WHIP but more important is the fact that three of his wins came in the game after a Yankees' loss. Sabathia still holds the title as ace of the staff but Kuroda has been making a strong case for the title this year.
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MVP- Jed Lowrie
The trade for Jed Lowrie with Houston this past winter has already paid dividends for Oakland. Lowrie leads the teams in hits, doubles, walks, batting average and OBP. With the injury to Yoenis Cespedes, Lowrie has been the team's best player over the first quarter of the season and helped them stay in the race for the division.
Cy Young- A.J. Griffin
A.J. Griffin went 7-1 last year in limited action and is out to prove that last year was no fluke. He currently has a record of 4-3 with six quality starts, a 3.48 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Griffin leads the team in all these categories and will be a key piece in a very good rotation the rest of the season.
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MVP- Chase Utley
Chase Utley has been the MVP for the Phillies through the first quarter of the season and if he is able to continue to produce, he should be a favorite for Comeback Player of the Year. He already has seven home runs and 24 RBI which are both on pace to surpass his totals from 2011 and 2012.
Cy Young- Kyle Kendrick
With Roy Halladay going down with an injury and Cole Hamels struggling so far this season, this pick came down to Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick. In the end, Kendrick got it because he is tied or has better numbers in quality starts, wins, ERA, WHIP and hits given up. The team will need to get some help from the rest of the staff though if they hope to make a run at a playoff spot.
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MVP- Starling Marte
Starling Marte has stepped up his game over the first quarter of the season but the Pirates will need it to continue if they hope to fight for a playoff spot. Marte has been hitting over .300 and has five home runs, which matches his total from last season.
Cy Young- A.J. Burnett
Since leaving the Yankees and the American League, Burnett has rejuvenated his career in Pittsburgh. He has been the team's most consistent pitcher this year, even though he has a record of 3-4. He has kept his ERA below 3 at 2.73 and has 72 strikeouts through 56 innings pitched.
San Diego Padres
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MVP- Chase Headley
Chase Headley missed the start of the season due to injury and only played in 24 games but still has been the Padres best player. He has 25 hits over that span, four home runs and 12 RBI. He may not finish the year in a Padres uniform but for the time being he is their best player.
Cy Young- Andrew Cashner
The 26-year-old started the season in the bullpen but has really excelled since being moved to the starter role. He has given up two or less runs in four out of his five starts and reached the seventh inning in his last two starts giving up a combined one run over that stretch.
San Francisco Giants
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MVP- Buster Posey
After winning a number of awards last year, including the NL MVP, Buster Posey is continuing to play at a high level. Posey continues to show he is an all-around player with a .285 batting average, ten doubles, five home runs and with his play behind the plate at catcher. This team doesn't look like there is going to be any kind of championship hangover during the 2013 season.
Cy Young- Madison Bumgarner
There is always a concern for young pitchers who play late in the postseason to have some fatigue entering the following season. Madison Bumgarner has been the exception to that rule as he continues to pitch at a high level. He currently leads the Giants in wins, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts and has been the team's best pitcher.
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MVP- Kyle Seager
The Mariners have quietly compiled an impressive group of young hitters including Dustin Ackley, Michael Morse and Justin Smoak but Kyle Seager has been the best player through the first quarter of the season. Seager leads the teams in batting average, doubles and RBI and shown noticeable improvement over last season.
Cy Young- Felix Hernandez
This was pretty much a no-brainer and Felix Hernandez's dominance is sometimes forgotten pitching up in the Northwest. King Felix is currently in the top 10 in MLB in wins, ERA and strikeouts and should finally see his win total reflect his dominance with an improved offense backing him up.
St. Louis Cardinals
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MVP- Carlos Beltran
Many wrote off Carlos Beltran towards the end of his time with the Mets but he seems to get better every year since being traded to the Giants in 2011. This year, he has raised his batting average to .301 through 36 games but seen his power numbers increase with 10 home runs already this season. The big question mark is if he can stay healthy over the course of a season but through the first quarter he has been the team's best player.
Cy Young- Adam Wainwright
With the injury to Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals could not be happier to see Wainwright return to his dominant self. He is 5-2 with a 2.30 ERA and a WHIP of 0.99. The Cardinals have a number of talented young pitchers and Wainwright can provide a veteran presence to the rest of the rotation that will only make them stronger.
Tampa Bay Rays
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MVP- Evan Longoria
After missing half the season last year, Longoria is starting off this season very strong and has been the Rays best player. He is hitting .327 with nine home runs and 26 RBI and Tampa will need him to continue to produce at a high level to support one of the best pitching rotations in the game today.
Cy Young- Matt Moore
David Price is still the team's best pitcher but Matt Moore has pitched the best over the first quarter of the season. He already has seven wins, 51 strikeouts, a 2.44 ERA but has struggled a little bit over the past three starts, giving up nine earned runs over that stretch. Hopefully he can return to the way he pitched in the month of April when he gave up four earned runs over five starts.
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MVP- Ian Kinsler
Ian Kinsler is doing his best to make up for the production lost when Josh Hamilton left for the Angels. He has seen an increase in his power with seven home runs through 37 games and is on pace to break his total from last year of 19. The stat that is more impressive is his batting average has increased almost 50 points over last year from .256 to .301 and will be something to watch if he can continue to hit at this rate.
Cy Young- Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish looks like he will be avoiding a sophomore slump in his second season in MLB and is off to a fast start. He was one out away from a perfect game in his first start of the year against Houston and currently has a record of 6-1. He has lowered his ERA and WHIP from last year and continues to demonstrate an ability to strikeout batters. He has made a strong case to be viewed as the team's ace and it is hard to argue against that.
Toronto Blue Jays
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MVP- Jose Bautista
The Blue Jays did not expect this season to go the way it has and there has not been many bright spots. One player who looks to be getting back to form though is Jose Bautista, who has been the team's MVP through the first quarter of the season. He has nine home runs and 22 RBI through the first quarter and his RBI total should increase when the team returns to full strength when Jose Reyes returns.
Cy Young- Casey Janssen
Many thought this award would have gone to one of the big name pitchers acquired this off-season like R.A. Dickey. However, they have struggled transitioning to the American League and the closer has actually been their best pitcher to date. Casey Janssen has saved 10 of the team's 16 total wins and yet to blow a save. This selection will most likely change by the end of the year but Janssen has been the team's best pitcher over the first quarter of the year.
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MVP- Bryce Harper
It seems like the only thing that has been able to slow down Bryce Harper this year is the outfield wall. He is hitting over .300 with ten home runs and 21 RBI and has been able to keep the Nationals within a game of the Braves. He had a good rookie year last year but looks to be taking the next step in 2013.
Cy Young- Jordan Zimmermann
Even though Stephen Strasburg is the best pitcher on this club, Zimmermann has been lights out over the first quarter of the season. He is 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA and two complete games in his eight starts. Strasburg's numbers will eventually come around and when they do, this will be a tough duo to face during the playoffs.