Saturday was the midway point of the season so I figured now would be as good a time as any to give out my midseason awards.
1. Torii Hunter, Angels: Hunter, always known more for his defensive skill (as evidenced by the eight Gold Gloves he’s won) then his offensive prowess, is enjoying a career year. Hunter, who has never hit above .287, is hitting .304 with a team leading 17 home runs and 63 RBI. His numbers may not be the best in the league, but without the career year from Hunter, there is now way the Angels sit tied for first.
2. Joe Mauer, Twins: Never in history has a catcher put up the offensive numbers that Joe Mauer has attained so far this season. The slugging catcher was hitting as high as .429 on June 16th, and .400 on June 21st. He’s the only catcher to ever win the AL batting title, and this year looks like it’ll be number three. The praise he has received for handling the Twins pitching staff has been even greater.
3. Jason Bay, Red Sox: How good is the Manny trade looking for Theo Epstien now? Bay has hit 16 of his 19 home runs with men on base which has led to his league leading 70 RBI. He’s learned to play the treacherous Green Monster like a magician, but the .260 batting average could be a tad higher.
AL Cy Young
1. Zack Grienke, Royals: He’s tied for the league lead in wins with 10. He held a 0.84 era through ten starts, a level not seen since 1968 when Bob Gibson’s era hovered around 1.00 the whole season. He also leads the league in complete games with 5, shutouts with 2, and his K/BB ratio is an astounding 6.33/1.
2. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays: Seen by many as the best right-handed pitcher in baseball, Doc has failed to disappoint. Despite missing nearly two weeks with a groin injury, Halladay is still tied for the AL lead in wins with 10. He’s also on pace to pitch more then 225 innings for the fourth straight year.
3. Mark Buerhle, White Sox: The dependent work horse is enjoying what looks like it could be a career year at 30. He’s 8-2 with a 3.09 ERA and has kept the inconsistent White Sox in the thick of a tight AL Central race.
AL Rookie of the Year
1. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays: He had a 24-inning scoreless streak snapped today, but picked up the victory over the Yankees anyway. With the win, Romero improved to 7-3 and has been the only other consistent starter in the Blue Jays rotation. This was once the guy the Blue Jays were ripped for taking ahead of Troy Tulowitzki, now he looks like the next Johan Santana.
2. Elvis Andrus, Rangers: We knew the 20-year-old shortstop could get it done defensively, but the offensive numbers have been a nice surprise. He’s hitting .267 with 16 stolen bases, and rounds out a powerful Rangers lineup.
3. Rick Porcello, Tigers: The Tigers clearly got the steal of the 2007 draft when they drafted Porcello with the 26th pick. The 20-year-old is 8-6 with a 4.14 ERA but has yet to top seven innings pitched in any of his starts.
AL Manager of the Year
Ron Washington, Rangers: The Rangers are currently tied for first in the tight AL West no thanks to the management of Washington. The Rangers have not made the playoffs since 1999, but could be on their way their this season.
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals: A no brainer here. Pujols is flatout the best hitter in baseball as evidenced by his pursuit of the triple crown this year. He’s third in the NL in average (.336), first in home runs (31), and first in RBI (82)
2. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: The star shortstop has made the transition to the three-hole seamlessly, and recently put together a 10-game RBI streak. No thanks to Ramirez, the Marlins find themselves in the thick of the NL East race.
3. Raul Ibanez, Phillies: Arguably the best free-agent signing, Ibanez was tearing the cover off the ball before hitting the sidelines the last few weeks with a groin injury. Despite missing time, he still leads the Phillies in home runs with 22 and average at .312, and is second in rbi’s with 59.
NL Cy Young
1. Tim Lincecum, Giants: Another no brainer. Lincecum is currently carrying a 23 inning scoreless streak and has gone at least 6 innings in every start since April 18th. He leads the NL in innings pitched (121), strikeouts (141), and strikeouts per nine innings (10.5). Why the Giants haven’t locked this guy up long term is a mystery to many.
2. Josh Johnson, Marlins: An absolute workhorse with arguably the best stuff in the NL. Has recorded decisions in just 8 of 17 starts but is 7-1 in those 8 decisions. 2.76 ERA is sparkling and has routinely hit 95+ mph in the seventh inning on.
3. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks: The 8-5 record is very misleading. Haren has been rock solid for the last place D’backs and leads the NL with a 2.16 ERA.
NL Rookie of the Year
1. Colby Rasmus, Cardinals: The former Little League World Series participant is getting it done at the big league level. After a slow start he has started to pick up the slack in centerfield for Tony la Russa hitting .282 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI.
2. Tommy Hanson, Braves: Since getting the call-up in early June, Hanson has been dominant to the tune of a 4-0 record. In the tight four-team race in the NL East, Hanson could wind up making the difference.
3. Casey McGhee: Brewers: As we saw last week when we faced the Brew Crew, McGhee can absolutely rake. Plugged in at second base after Rickie Weeks went down for the season, McGhee has responded by hitting .343 with 6 home runs and 27 RBI.
Manager of the Year
Joe Torre, Dodgers: shouldn’t the manager of the team with the best record in baseball get some recognition? Well here it is. Torre is continuing to prove that those years in New York weren’t always a product of great players. Someone had to manage them.