The Major League Baseball All-Star break is coming up, with the All-Star Game Tuesday. Most teams have already reached the halfway point of their respective seasons.
Here are my picks to win midseason awards. I stuck with the major awards: Cy Young, Manager of the Year, MVP and Rookie of the Year, and I made selections from each league. The National League selections will be posted Friday.
MVP: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
In the post-steroid era and a new era of strong pitching, Bautista leads the majors with 28 home runs and is tied for 11th with 60 runs batted in. He also has a .335 batting average, good for second in the American League.
Boston's Adrian Gonzalez is another strong challenger for the award. He rivals Bautista on the stat sheet, but he plays for a contender. Sometimes that matters when it comes time to hand out awards.
Anyone who has read my blogs here knows that I'm a Verlander fan. The reason I'm a fan is because he performs. He has 11 wins on the season, trailing only New York's CC Sabathia in the AL. But Verlander has a better ERA than Sabathia (2.26 to 2.90) and a better WHIP (0.88 to 1.20). Verlander also has 138 strikeouts on the season.
Another stat that could put Verlander on top: complete games. He has four on the season, with two CG shutouts. Sabathia only has one complete game this year.
Manager of the Year: Manny Acta, Cleveland Indians
Before the start of the season, Cleveland wasn't a team anyone thought would contend.
But Acta has the Indians atop the AL Central, leading Detroit by 1.5 games. Through 85 games, the Tribe have a 46-39 record.
It's quite an accomplishment for a team that no one had on their radar. Of course, anything can happen in baseball with good pitching and timely hitting. The Indians have had both.
My runner-up choice: Boston's Terry Francona.
Why Francona? The Red Sox were a World Series favorite for many (and still are). But they had a terrible start to their season, losing the first six games and the first seven of nine. But the Red Sox, after going 11-15 in April, are now 51-35 and trail the Yankees by a half-game.
Rookie of the Year: Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
When Kendrys Morales went down with an injury that finished his 2011 season, Trumbo stepped in. In 80 games for the Angels, Trumbo has 14 home runs and 37 runs batted in. It's tough being a rookie in the majors, but Trumbo has filled in well for Morales. He also has become a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.