Posts Tagged ‘first half awards’

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2014 Baseball Awards – First Half

July 18, 2014

Since I’m following baseball closely due to numerous season long bets and because I like to rank things and think my opinion is important, I’ve decided to pretend what I would do if I had a vote in baseball’s major awards. These are my votes for the first half:


American League MVP



1. Mike Trout (.310, 22 HR, 73 RBI, 65 Runs, 10 SB)
2. Nelson Cruz (.287-28-74-56-3)
3. Jose Abreu (.292-29-73-49-1)
4. Michael Brantley (.322-15-63-63-10)
5. Edwin Encarnacion (.277-26-70-57-2)
6. Victor Martinez (.328-21-55-45-2)
7. Miguel Cabrera (.306-14-75-57-0)
8. Jose Altuve (.335-2-27-49-41)
9. Robinson Cano (.334-7-57-49-7)
10. Ian Kinsler (.303-11-51-64-10)


Comments: The legend that is Mike Trout. The last time I posted my MVP rankings (in late May), Trout was sitting just outside my top ten and now, at the All-Star break, he’s firmly #1 in both the AL MVP ranks and fantasy baseball rankings – and the Angels are arguably the hottest team in baseball. Nelson Cruz and Jose Abreu are pretty much neck and neck at #2 and #3, with Cruz getting the slight edge because the Orioles look playoff bound and he’s undoubtedly carrying that offense. In actuality, Abreu’s numbers have been more impressive considering he missed some games due to injury. If someone showed you Michael Brantley’s numbers and said they were Mike Trout’s numbers, you would believe them – until you saw that he’s only fanned 32 times in 80+ games (Trout has 95 Ks). Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, and Ian Kinsler have all put up ridiculous numbers for the Detroit Tigers. V-Mart has had a particularly amazing season hitting over .325 with 21 homers and only 23 strikeouts. Cabrera somewhat quietly leads MLB in RBI, but I expect him to separate himself from his teammates going forward. Robinson Cano’s power has disappeared, but hitting .334 playing half your games at Safeco Field is no small feat and he’s been the best hitter on a surprising Mariners team.


American League Cy Young


1. Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 154 Ks)
2. Chris Sale (8-1, 2.08, 0.84, 102)
3. Masahiro Tanaka (12-4, 2.51, 1.01, 135)
4. Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.38, 0.98, 108)
5. Garrett Richards (11-2, 2.55, 1.06, 127)


Comments: Chris Sale has been lights out since returning to the rotation, but nobody has matched King Felix in mound production this year. Tanaka was a top Cy Young contender, but appears to be out of the season now. Scott Kazmir has been an amazing story: after pitching his way out of baseball for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he returned last year to post some respectable comeback numbers, but is finally living up to the potential he flashed all the way back in 2007 when he posted 239 Ks in 206.2 innings with the Devil Rays. Garrett Richards has been another great story in the AL, seemingly coming out of nowhere to dominate the first half.


American League ROY


1. Jose Abreu (.292-29-73-49-1)
2. Masahiro Tanaka (12-4, 2.51, 1.01, 135)
3. Dellin Betances (4-0, 1.46, 0.70, 84)

Comments: Jose Abreu pretty much locked up the AL ROY as soon as Tanaka went on the DL. Abreu’s on pace to break Mark McGwire’s rookie record for homeruns in a season and also carries an RBI pace of 140+.. and he’s almost hitting .300. Pretty ridiculous. Miguel Cabrera would nod his head in approval at those offensive numbers. Betances has had an incredible season in relief with those 84 strikeouts coming in only 55.1 innings pitched.


National League MVP


1. Troy Tulowitski (.345-21-52-71-1)
2. Andrew McCutchen (.324-17-61-57-15)
3. Paul Goldschmidt (.308-16-61-66-8)
4. Giancarlo Stanton (.295-21-63-61-8)
5. Carlos Gomez (.304-14-48-58-17)
6. Todd Frazier (.290-19-53-57-14)
7. Charlie Blackmon (.306-14-52-53-18)
8. Anthony Rendon (.287-13-53-67-8)
9. Yasiel Puig (.309-12-52-53-7)
10. Billy Hamilton (.285-5-38-47-38)


Comments: The NL MVP race has become much closer since my last update when Troy Tulowitski was far and away the best candidate and Andrew McCutchen wasn’t even in the top 10. McCutchen has a tendency to heat up with the weather and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run away with his second consecutive NL MVP award. Charlie Blackmon is hitting .355 with a .996 OPS at home and .248 with a .633 OPS on the road – with such drastic splits and the Rockies out of contention, it’s hard to imagine Blackmon finishing the season in the top 10. Todd Frazier and Anthony Rendon have quietly had huge seasons have carried their offenses while their superstar teammates have been hurt (Joey Votto and Bryce Harper, respectively). Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon are having very similar seasons, but with such a close call, I have to go with the guy on my fantasy team!


National League Cy Young


1. Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.78, 0.83, 126)
2. Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83, 0.91, 115)
3. Johnny Cueto (10-6, 2.13, 0.89, 141)
4. Julio Teheran (9-6, 2.71, 1.04, 116)
5. Zack Greinke (11-5, 2.73, 1.17, 127)


Comments: Clayton Kershaw has been unreal since coming back from the disabled list…just look at his numbers over the past month: 5 wins, 0 losses, 0.22 ERA, 55 strikeouts, 5 walks in 41 innings. Absurd. Even with 40 less innings than his contemporaries, it’s hard to argue against Kershaw at this point. Nobody has been more dominant. Wainwright quietly continues to be one of the five best pitchers in baseball; he’s kind of the new Roy Halladay. Johnny Cueto has put together a remarkable year; he’s given up more than 3 ER in only one start this year and his K rate is way up.


National League ROY


1. Billy Hamilton
2. Jacob DeGrom
3. Chris Owings


Comments: Billy Hamilton has literally run away with the NL ROY award; his current pace: .285, 85 runs, 9 HR, 68 RBI, 68 SB – he’s proven all his skeptics wrong and he’s outperformed even his optimists’ offensive expectations. The power and average has been a really nice surprise and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him top those current runs scored and stolen base projections. Jacob Degrom has been solid for the Mets since his call up in the middle of May, posting 8 quality starts in 12 turns and a solid K/9 rate. Chris Owings is currently on the DL and likely to be passed on this list by Gregory Polanco at some point in the second half.

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Mac’s MLB First Half Awards

July 10, 2012

MVP

AL – Mike Trout, Angels: Since his arrival in late April, Mike Trout has been one of the top two or three most productive players in baseball. More importantly, his impact on the Angels gives him the edge over Josh Hamilton for first half MVP. On April 27th, the Angels were scuffling to a 6-14 record and sitting in the AL West basement with super slugger Albert Pujols posting a monstrous 4 RBI so far. Enter Mike Trout. Since April 28th, Trout’s season debut, the Halos have posted a 42-24 record and have climbed into the American League Wild Card lead while Pujols has rediscovered his confidence, knocking in 47 runs since Trout arrived. Not only does Trout lead the American League with a .341 average and 26 steals, but he also sits a mere 6 runs scored behind MLB-leader Ian Kinsler despite spending almost all of April in AAA. But wait, there’s more! Trout isn’t just a speedy lead off guy… he’s also blasted 12 homers in 258 ABs, a pace that would give him 30 over a full season of 650 at bats. This dude is so sick that I can’t help but talk about him in Chuck Norris-like hyperbole: “I’m going to switch my entire wardrobe to nothing but Mike Trout jerseys.”

Honorable Mention: Josh Hamilton, Adam Jones, Miguel Cabrera

NL – Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: The only player in MLB that has rivaled Mike Trout since May 1st is the dreadlocked Pirates outfielder. After inking a multiyear deal with the Bucs prior to the season, McCutchen has rewarded the normally cheap franchise with outstanding production. McCutchen leads MLB with a .362 average, is stealing bases and hitting homers at nearly a 40/40 pace, and also ranks in the top 3 in the NL in both runs scored and RBI. After a modest April, this kid’s bat has been scorching hot, raising his average from .302 and hitting all 18 of his homers since May 1st. Thanks to McCutchen’s emergence fantasy baseball’s most valuable asset in the first half and an early MVP candidate, the Pirates are not only a surprise atop the NL Central standings, but actually look like legitimate players for a playoff berth.

Honorable Mention: David Wright, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun

Cy Young

AL – Jered Weaver, Angels: The Halos righty might not be as dominant as Justin Verlander (6.8 K/9 vs 8.7 K/9), but one would be remiss to suggest Weaver hasn’t been as effective. Weaver is the only starting pitcher with at least 90 innings pitched to post an ERA under 2.00 and also leads all starters with a 0.90 WHIP. Weaver has also posted a 10-1 record for a team that has climbed its way into playoff contention. Oh, and he threw a no hitter.

Honorable Mention: Justin Verlander, Chris Sale

NL – R.A. Dickey, Mets: Who is this guy? Where did he come from? At age 37, Dickey is having an unprecedented breakout season, taking a career 4.15 ERA and 1.34 WHIP and turning those numbers into 2.40 and 0.93, while posting a career high in wins (12)… in 17 first half starts. More improbably, Dickey and his ridiculous knuckleball are striking out batters at unfathomable rate, fanning more first half batters than notable strikeout artists Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Matt Cain.

Honorable Mention: Matt Cain, James McDonald, Stephen Strasburg

Rookie Of The Year

AL – Mike Trout, Angels: No explanation needed here.

Honorable Mention: Yu Darvish, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Cook

NL – Bryce Harper, Nationals: The most highly touted prospect since Alex Rodriguez has been Mike Trout-lite for the NL East leading Nationals. Harper has burst into the nation’s capital by flashing all five tools and posting an .826 OPS at age 19. Harper could easily score 100 runs this season despite spending April in the minors and will probably post a 30/30 season as early as 2013 if his health holds up.

Honorable Mention: Norichika Aoki, Wade Miley

Comeback Player

AL – Adam Dunn, White Sox: It’s a close call between Dunn and teammate Jake Peavy and I’d say that Peavy’s resurrection has been more valuable to his team, but Dunn has come back from depths of suckdom that few sluggers have ever reached. In 2011, Dunn posted an inexcusable .159 average and 177 strikeouts in 415 ABs while hitting a career low 11 homers. While his inability to get base hits hasn’t improved much (.208 average) and he’s on pace to shatter the all-time strikeout record, he’s at least helping his team score runs in bunches and win games by smacking 25 homers in 84 games and getting on base at a .357 clip.

Honorable Mention: Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Joe Nathan

NL – David Wright, Mets: To put this comeback in perspective all you have to do is compare Wright’s first half numbers to his totals from all of 2011: he’s posted more hits and doubles and almost as many runs, homers, RBI, and steals in 87 less at bats. While Wright may never again approach 30/30 status like he did in 2007, it seems as if he’s become more selective at the plate, drastically increasing his average while bumping his walk rate to a career high and his strikeout rate to a career low.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Hill, Chris Capuano, Jason Heyward

Biggest Disappointment (Injured players ineligible)

AL – Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: Expecting Gonzalez to hit .338 again is probably unfair and his current .283 average isn’t too far off his career number, but the complete lack of power is quite shocking, especially in a favorable park like Fenway. Gonzo is on pace for a career low in homers–by a long shot–and could post his lowest runs scored and RBI since his breakout season in 2006 despite holding down a premium spot in Boston’s potent line-up. Most alarmingly, Gonzalez has walked at least 74 times in each of the last four seasons, but has a mere 23 free passes through 86 games this year.

NL – Tim Lincecum, Giants: For whatever reason, The Freak has been tossing beach balls on the mound and opposing hitters have been teeing off on him. With a 3-10 record, 6.42 ERA, and 1.58 WHIP through 18 starts, it’s difficult to blame his results on bad luck. While Lincecum is still striking out his fair share of batters, he’s on pace to obliterate his career highs in both hits and walks allowed. With his funky delivery and so many teams doubting his sustainability before he started his professional career, there could be some reason to be concerned for his long term productivity.

Silver Sluggers

C – A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox (.285-16-49)
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies (.350-13-46)

1B – Paul Konerko, White Sox (.329-14-49)
Joey Votto, Red (.348-14-48-5)

2B – Robinson Cano, Yankees (.313-20-51)
Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks (.300-11-40-7)

3B – Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (.324-18-71)
David Wright, Mets (.351-11-59-9)

SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees (.308-7-25-7)
Ian Desmond, Nationals (.285-17-51-11)

LF – Mark Trumbo, Angels (.306-22-57)
Ryan Braun, Brewers (.306-24-61-15)

CF – Josh Hamilton, Rangers (.308-27-75-6)
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (.362-18-60-14)

RF – Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (.244-27-65)
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals (.296-20-65-8)