A week from today, Major League Baseball will be holding its annual All-Star Game. Even though a little bit more than half of the year's games have been played, the All-Star Game is used as a halfway point in baseball.
At this halfway point, there are many deserving candidates for the Cy Young and MVP in baseball, and here are my picks for the MVP and Cy Young in the AL and NL.
A few weeks into the season, there was one person who impressed me more than any other. Jose Bautista, the slugging outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, was hitting home runs just as he did the season before, yet he pulled up almost every other part of his game to make him a better all-around player.
In the past month or two though, a unanimous first-half MVP has appeared. Adrian Gonzalez, of the Boston Red Sox, is that man.
Even though Bautista leads the league in home runs, Gonzalez leads the AL in batting average with .348. What's more impressive is that Gonzalez has 75 RBI already, an incredible number. Along with his AL-leading batting average and RBI, Gonzalez has also hit 16 home runs and is the main reason the Red Sox lineup has been so deadly this year.
Bautista has had a very good first half, but it's got nothing on Adrian Gonzalez who is my first-half AL MVP.
Runner-up: Jose Bautista
AL Cy Young
Through the first half of the MLB season, there has been solid pitching throughout the AL. Jered Weaver, Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia are among some of these pitchers who have put on great performances but there is one clear Cy Young winner for the first half of the season.
My first-half Cy Young winner is Justin Verlander.
At the front of the Tigers pitching rotation, Verlander has the most wins in the AL, along with Sabathia. Verlander has also hurled four complete games including a no-hitter on May 7th against the Toronto Blue Jays. Verlander has dominated hitters this year and will most likely continue this dominance for the second half.
Runner-up: Jered Weaver
The NL MVP was the hardest decision for me. There are three guys who have all had great first halves and I don't think one of them has separated himself from the rest like the AL MVP. A first-half MVP has to be chosen though, and my first-half NL MVP is Jose Reyes.
Reyes leads all of baseball in batting average and leads the NL in hits and triples. What separates Reyes from the other MVP contenders is his all-around game. Reyes has the speed to go along with his hitting and makes him such a threat.
In the second half of the season, though, his MVP candidacy may be cut off due to a hamstring injury suffered against the Yankees.
Runner-up: Prince Fielder
NL Cy Young
In the NL Cy Young race, I see two front-runners right now: Roy Halladay and Jair Jurrjens. It may be boring, but my first-half Cy Young winner is Roy Halladay.
Jurrjens may hold the league lead for ERA, which is a very impressive 1.89, but Halladay has dominated hitters which is something we're all too used to.
Halladay is tied for the league lead with 11 wins, leads the league with six complete games and has struck out 131 batters this season.
Runner-up: Jair Jurrjens