With the first half of the 2008 season at a close, there have been many standout performances from some and disappointing year's from others. Let's get straight to it, here are my Midseason Awards for 2008:
Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox
I am going with the surprise pick here. Quentin has lead the resurgent Chicago White Sox all season long by blasting 21 HRs and driving in 68 runs.
He is a major reason why the White Sox currently reside atop the AL Central division. After a disappointing season last year in Arizona, Quentin arrived in the south side of the Windy City with a bang.
Josh Hamilton, Texas; Kevin Youkilis, Boston; Ian Kinsler, Texas
Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
Utley has played great for the NL East-leading Phillies. He leads the team with a .291 batting average, and is only second to Ryan Howard with 25 HRs and 69 RBI. He is the face of the Phillies and just keeps on getting better. His bat, along with his defense, has kept Philadelphia atop the standings all season long.
Aramis Ramirez, Chicago; Dan Uggla, Florida; Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis
AL Cy Young
Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians
In my mind, there is no doubt who deserves this award. Lee has been spectacular for the Tribe and their run-starved team. His 12 wins put him tied in first in the AL and his ERA is only second in the league behind Justin Duchscherer.
Also, his K/BB ratio is better than 5:1. Even after cooling off from his out-of-this-world start to the year, he continues to baffle AL lineups.
Roy Halladay, Toronto; Justin Duchscherer, Oakland; Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders, Los Angeles
NL Cy Young
Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks
Webb leads all of baseball with 13 wins and has dominated hitters as everyone expects. His statistics have been somewhat quiet because of the other two dominating young hurlers in the league, Tim Lincecum and Edinson Volquez.
Although he has fallen off a bit since mid-June, he is still leading the sub-par Arizona Diamondbacks to first place in the NL West.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco; Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati; Dan Haren, Arizona
AL Rookie of the Year:
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Longoria wins this one in a close race over Joba Chamberlain. Since being called up, he has shown why he was so highly touted as a minor leaguer. He has blasted 16 homers to go along with 53 RBI and an .861 OPS. He has been selected to the All-Star Game in his rookie season, and will participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday.
Joba Chamberlain, New York; Armando Galarraga, Detroit; Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston
Geovanny Soto, Chicago Cubs
This was a much tougher race to call because there are so many impact rookies in the NL this year. However, it became a battle of Cubs, with Soto beating out OF Kosuke Fukudome.
Soto has excelled in the starting lineup, hitting .288 with 16 blasts and 56 RBI. He has played pretty much everyday even though he is a catcher. He has just destroyed lefthanded pitching while still playing well against RHPs.
Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago; Joey Votto, Cincinnati; Jay Bruce, Cincinnati
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays
To have a roster filled with youngsters on a franchise that has never won more than 70 games and still sit near the AL East lead is phenomenal. He has done a great job keeping his team from falling apart thus far and it always helps when you finally get a bullpen.
As the skipper of the biggest surprise of the season, Maddon runs away with this one.
Terry Francona, Boston; Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota; Ozzie Guillen, Chicago
Lou Piniella, Chicago Cubs
Could this be the year? After a century of defeat, will the baseball Gods finally grant Cubs fans their wish?
Well, so far Piniella has done his part, as he currently holds the best record in baseball. With a team featuring Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez it's hard not to. Piniella will and should win this award at season's end, as long as the Cubs hold on as the best team in the NL.
Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia; Tony La Russa, St. Louis; Fredi Gonzalez, Florida