As we approach the All Star Break, it's time for teams to start dealing with the realities of their rosters.
Now is when the terms "buyer" and "seller" start to become real for general managers everywhere.
It's also the time of year when the young studs in the game start to stake their claim to the hallowed honor of being named Rookie of the Year.
We're now deep enough into the season that there's a body of work for many young players to use when considering candidates. Some batters, and some pitchers, have established themselves as quality major league contributors.
Just one season after the Chicago Cubs saw catcher Geovany Soto capture top rookie honors, they may have another winner on their hands.
One of these young players quickly establishing himself is Cubs' starting pitcher Randy Wells.
Wells got to Chicago late this summer, but has been nothing short of fantastic since he moved into the Cubs' rotation. Indeed, while Carlos Zambrano was serving a suspension and Rich Harden was on the disabled list, it was Wells that kept the Cubs competitive.
Though he might be the sexy, overpowering rookie that fans and the media like to fall in love with, he's been quietly consistent.
And consistently good.
The bats and the bullpen have cost Wells the record he deserves, but he's still breaking even with a 3-3 record. While the wins are where most of the attention goes, the rest of Wells' resume is outstanding.
In his 10 starts, Wells has eight quality starts (most among National League rookies). He has a sparkling 2.43 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.08, while averaging more than six innings per start.
When you consider that Wells doesn't have overpowering stuff (just 45 strikeouts in 63 innings), his WHIP becomes more impressive.
Opposing batters are hitting just .236 against him, and he has walked only 14 batters this season.
If the Cubs bullpen can get healthy and stop blowing leads (Wells has seen two leads of over four runs blown in would-be victories), Wells would certainly be in line to rack up a strong won-loss record in the second half.
And, if the Cubs can put together a push toward their division leaders in Milwaukee and St. Louis in the second half, Wells would figure to be a central piece to that puzzle.
Voters love winners, and the Cubs' success, along with the individual consistency from Wells, could earn him the hardware this fall.