We are more than half way through this baseball season and the MLB stars will be gathering in New York to celebrate All Star midweek. It should be one of the most memorable all star games in a long time. But there is much more important business that needs to be taken care of. Here are my baseball mid season awards.
Managers of the Year:
Fredi Gonzalez and Joe Maddon both get the nod for the same reason. When you looked at your pull out section of the newspaper at the beginning of the year, I guarantee it did not have Florida and Tampa Bay both at the top of their divisions. The Marlins sit at 5 games over 500, and were looking back at the two favorites of their division for some of the season. Tampa, even more impressive have flip flopped in and out of the division lead but held it until the last game going into the break. These managers have good young talent. Both teams should continue to grow this year, and next year even more. But that is too far off to judge with Florida, you never know who could go packing.
So Close but so Far Away: Lou Pinella, Ozzie Guillen, and Charlie Manual.
Rookies of the Year:
Lets get the easy one out of the way, Evan Longoria. I don't know what to say about him that he hasn't already showed you him self. He is amazing. Evan had a great spring, then was sent down to the minors to start the year. Evan was called up April 11th, and now look what he has done. He was so good that first week, he was signed until 2016 on April 18th. By season's end, look for his name in the MVP voting. It could be there.
In the NL, it is a very close race for me. He is a cub. But is it 31 year old Fukodome, or the young catcher Geovany Soto. Fukodome lost it when he hit a wall for a couple weeks. Soto gets it because he is 25 and hasn't played pro ball is Japan for 6 years. Soto will be starting for the National league at catcher this year, which is a rarity in itself. But his rookie team mate is starting too. I can not find that ever happening in league history.
So close but so far away: Fukodome
The National league is a close race between to young pitchers. But there are so many candidates and it will really be a nice race come the end of the year. Tim Lincecum is pitching out of his mind. I can not even think of a pitcher this dominant on a team so bad. He has just under a third of his teams wins standing at 10-2 with a 2.66 era.
In the AL, the 10-5 Justin Duchscherer is having an incredible year. Although standing at 10-5, he has the leagues lowest era at 1.82. He is an Oakland pitcher that is for sure. Duchscherer is making just over a million dollars while posting these stats.
The man who is most valuable with his team? His team goes when he goes. Wins when he plays well and loses when he does not. Chase Utley started off with this award in his pocket from the first week of the season. Utley is hitting the ball really well this year. He has 25 home runs, just three off the league lead. It does not matter who surrounds him in that lineup, when Chase hits his team wins.
In the American League, they may have three MVP's down in Texas. But Josh Hamilton is an incredible story. Once addicted to drugs, now leading the league with 95 RBI's. I want 200 from him, and if he keeps this up, I think he can do it. Hamilton looks like he is going to be a candidate for years to come. Watch for Longoria later in the year in this category. With a playoff run by the Devils, I means the Rays, he could steal this award.
Lastly, some surprises from this year.
Brett Myers was one of the best closers in the league last year. This year he is so bad in the starting rotation for the phils that his is pitching for the Iron Pigs.
Barry Zito is making 126 million dollars in San Francisco, but is only 4-12.
The Seattle Mariners went out and spent alot of money, made some key moves and were thought to be a force in the AL west. Nope, they sit in last and Carlos Silva who got a 4 year 48 million dollar deal has the same amount of wins when he started the season, as he does now.
That Atlanta Braves pitching staff that was put together to win the NL East didn't make it through the year. Not even close. Injuries have been the theme of their year as they sit in 4th place in the East. Glavine, Smoltz, and Hampton are all on the DL. Actually the braves have over 40 million of pitching on the DL. A good year to test out those young arms.
Mid season Predictions (quick version)
NL Division Winners Phillies, Brewers, Diamondbacks, with a Cubs wild card.
AL Division Winners Tampa Bay (because I feel they will bring David Price up) Chicago, Los Angeles, and a Red Sox wild card. Without price it will be Boston with the division and the Rays as the Wild Card winner.