Today represents the halfway mark of the baseball season for most teams. And with that, it’s time to take a look at whose been the best of the best for the first half in the American League.
Here is my first half AL MVP, Cy Young winner, Rookie of the Year (or half if you would) and best manager of the first half…
Winner: Jose Bautista
This is a two-horse race between Bautista and Gonzalez, but despite Gonzalez playing on a winning team, Bautista’s numbers are just baseball star-esque. Bautista leads the league in HR’s (24), ISO (.336), OBP (.469), SLG (.664), BB Percentage (20.4), and WAR (5.2).
Like with Andre Dawson in 1987, sometimes a player’s numbers stand out so much that it’s impossible for him not to win the MVP. If Bautista keeps this up, there is no way he can be denied the MVP award.
Winner: Justin Verlander
Weaver might have gotten off to the hot start, but Verlander has taken the AL by storm over the past couple of months. The guy has a no-hitter, two two-hitters and a 14-strikeout game to his credit this season.
Overall, he has a 2.38 ERA on the season and is second in the AL with a 3.6 WAR.
Winner: Michael Pineda
The AL is stacked with rookies this season, and recent call-ups like Ackley and Weeks have made this group even stronger.
But for me, Pineda is the AL’s top rookie for the first half.
Candidates: Manny Acta, Joe Maddon, Jim Leyland
Winner: Manny Acta
I am not one to believe that a manager has much to do with the success of a team, but I can’t deny Acta has done a heck of a job in Cleveland.
I had the Indians pegged to be one of the most irrelevant teams in baseball in 2011, but Acta has the Tribe playing amazing and inspired baseball.
The Indians are neck and neck with the Detoit Tigers in the AL Central, and if they can add a couple of parts down the stretch, they actually might pull this one out.
It would be like Major League all over again.