Handing out First-Half Awards to the Cincinnati Reds

Alexander York@myoldclothesContributor IJuly 3, 2013

Handing out First-Half Awards to the Cincinnati Reds

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    It’s halfway through the season, and the Cincinnati Reds hold a presentable 48-36 record. The club is only four games out of first place, and there’s a plethora of reasons why they’re not leading the NL Central.

    However, there are just as many reasons why the Reds have had a successful first half. Some attributes are due to Brandon Phillips’ flashy defense or Mike Leake’s stellar year on the mound.

    Let’s go ahead and give out the first-half awards to the Cincinnati Reds players that got them this far in 2013.

    All statistics are courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted

Rookie of the Year: Tony Cingrani

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    So far there hasn’t been much competition between Reds’ rookies in 2013.

    Derrick Robinson has been great defensively and has shown his ability to get on base with a .344 OBP.

    But, the Reds rookie who has shined the most is Tony Cingrani.

    The left-hander has gotten extended playing time due to Johnny Cueto’s reoccurring injuries and is likely filling the rotation for awhile.

    Cingrani is 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA and 57 strikeouts in just seven starts. He has filled in as an emergency reliever while the Reds’ bullpen continues to heal.

    However, Cingrani’s ability to get out of tough jams has proven well at the MLB level.

    Cingrani is also great at striking out batters at the start of the game. He has 21 strikeouts within his first 25 pitches (per Baseball-Reference.com).

    It could be a problem down the road, and the young lefty still needs to work on his off-speed pitches. But through the first-half, Cingrani has made a mark on the rotation—earning him ROY status.

Gold Glove: Brandon Phillips

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    There’s not much debate on the Reds’ top defensive player this year. Brandon Phillips continues to showcase jaw-dropping plays at second base.

    Although Phillips has six errors already this season (tied for fourth most in the NL), he easily has the best glove on the team.

    Phillips has a 24.7 UZR over the last three years, which simply puts him on a Gold Glove caliber level (per Fangraphs.com).

    Phillips is also seeing a lot more action so far this season with 209 balls in the zone (BIZ) and 175 made plays. His defensive presence is on average to be higher as he had only 363 BIZ and 305 plays in 2012.

    If Phillips can keep his errors to a minimum in the second half, he’ll certainly be in discussion for his fourth Gold Glove.

Least Valuable Player: Cesar Izturis

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    Sadly, this award could go to a handful of Reds players. There are currently four non-pitching players on the 25-man roster who are batting less than .200 in the first-half of the season.

    However, Izturis has the weakest offensive numbers on the team. He currently has a .187/.256/.227 slash line with three RBI and three runs (both are worst on the Reds roster).

    His defense has been respectable, and Izturis has shown the club he can play second base.

    He currently has zero errors on the season. But, if Izturis wants to stay on the roster, he needs to contribute with his bat.

Most Valuable Player: Joey Votto

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    Luckily, there are a few candidates that truly give Joey Votto a run for his money at MVP.

    But, the numbers don’t lie. Votto leads the Reds with 58 runs, 102 hits and 60 BB. He holds a dominate .325/.435/.513 slash line with 14 HR.

    There was a lot of worry on Votto’s knee and power coming into 2013, but he’s easily made those issues a thing of the past.

    Votto’s ridiculous .948 OPS is a great indicator that Votto’s power still exists and he’s getting on base.

    Votto is the driving force of the Reds offense, and I highly doubt the club could do as well as last year if they lost him again.

    If Votto stays healthy, he’ll surely be in the NL MVP talks again.

Cy Young: Mat Latos

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    Since Johnny Cueto is on his third trip to the DL, the Reds haven’t necessarily had a true ace of the rotation.

    However, there’s quite a battle between top of the rotation pitchers in 2013. The one Reds' hurler that stands out the most is Mat Latos.

    Latos is currently tied for most wins with a 7-2 record. He holds a 3.03 ERA with 109 strikeouts in 110 IP.

    While Mike Leake might have the better ERA, there’s no doubt Latos is the power pitcher. Latos has a 8.9 K/9IP with a 1.20 WHIP.

    Latos is on pace to strikeout out 200 with over 210 IP in about the same amount of games he started last year (33).

    C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer recently pointed out that Bovada had Mat Latos at 33/1 odds to win the NL Cy Young in 2013. 

    If Latos can continue like his first half, his odds should certainly move up.

Comeback Player: Mike Leake

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    Mike Leake is quietly shocking everyone with his 2013 season.

    Leake has 5-2 record with a 1.70 ERA over the past 10 games. He's easily on pace to have a career-year and lead Reds’ starters in ERA.

    It’s easiest to understand Mike Leake’s turnaround success by comparing them to his decent 2012 season. 

                W-L    GS        ERA    IP        ER       HR      BB       SO

    2012:    8-9      30        4.58    179        91        26        41       116

    2013:    7-3      16        2.52    103.2     29         8         21        67

    While most of the baseball world gawks over high strikeouts and 97 mph fastballs, Leake is finding ways to get the job done.

    So far this seaon, Leake has been the Reds best kept secret.

Best Moment: Homer Bailey’s Second Career No-Hitter

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    On Tuesday night, Homer Bailey became the first pitcher to have back-to-back no-hitters since fellow-Texan Nolan Ryan threw two on September 28, 1974 and June 1, 1975.

    He also became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in 2013.

    It took Bailey nine strikeouts and only 109 pitches against the San Francisco Giants to get the Cincinnati Reds 16 overall no-hitter.

    Along with Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander—Homer Bailey became the fourth active pitcher with two no-hitters.

    With the Reds sitting in third place in the NL Central, things were beginning to look a little dismal. But, Bailey's no-hitter has to increase the morale of Reds’ fans.

    It’s not just a great moment for the organization and Homer Bailey—it’s also a bit satisfying coming against the Giants after the 2012 NLDS.

    Follow me on Twitter or comment below if you have an award to give.