We are now just starting the second half of this insane baseball season and it’s just about that time to start guessing who will take home some end of season hardware. I’ll be talking about just the 3 big ones for each league, those being the MVPs,Cy Youngs, and Rookie of the Year.
The All-Star Break is now over and there have been some absurd numbers put up by hitters this year in both leagues, here are my 5 picks for AL and NL MVPs.
- Mike Trout
- Joey Gallo
- Alex Bregman
- Xander Bogaerts
- Charlie Morton
The Favorite: Listen Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and is arguably just entering his prime. He is my pick for MVP simply for the fact that he is the single most valuable player to step between the white lines day in and day out. He plays one of the most demanding positions in center and lead all players in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with a 6.2. The next best is a 5.7 by Rangers hurler Mike Minor. He leads the AL in almost all major offensive categories. On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, On-Base Plus Slugging, Total Bases, Homeruns, Runs batted in, Walks, and a couple others. Simply put the guy is the clear frontrunner for the award and he looks to try to shoulder more of the load for the angels.
The Dark Horse: Alex Bregman. I know crazy right? Maybe not. Most guys would have Gallo second because of the breakout year he has been having but bregman arguably is just as good. Though Gallo does have him in OBP, Slugging, and OPS, Bregman is not very far behind. Bregman beats him in Home Runs and Walks, also in runs created and overall WAR. Bregman plays better defense and is more versatile in the field. He is the best player on one of the best teams in the league that are looking like real World Series contenders.
The Odd Ball: Charlie Morton is an interesting one to me. He has the best Earned Run Average with a 2.35 is second in wins with 11 and is top 5 in the AL in Walks & Hits, and Strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. He is one guy that gives me a 2016 Zach britton feel. He is absolutely on fire and dominant but the offensive talent this year kinda overshadows him. But if he can help carry the Rays to a first round bye you never know what could happen.
- Christian Yelich
- Cody Bellinger
- Max Scherzer
- Josh Bell
- Hyun-Jin Ryu
The Favorite: Truthfully it’s a toss up to me between Belli Bombs and Yelich but in the end I have to give it to Yelich. He has been unreal this season so far and last night clobbered Homerun number 32. His 32nd Homerun last year came in september, it’s only mid-July. He and Bellinger are neck and neck in almost every offensive category. Yelich bests Bellinger in OPS and Slugging and is barely behind in OBP. One reason i’m giving Yelich the edge, Stolen Bases. Yes I said it, stolen bases. Yelich has 21 stolen bases, Bellinger has 8. Yelich overall is a more complete player, a more dangerous overall player.
The Dark Horse: Hyun-Jin Ryu to me is the dark horse candidate. He has been lights out for the Dodgers this year with 10 wins and a 1.73 ERA. He leads the league in a combined Hits & Walks per nine and Base on Balls per nine. He is 4th in Home Runs per nine and has the 7th best WAR for all players in the NL.
The Odd Ball: The player that has quite a possibility if a bunch of strange stuff happens is Josh Bell. By strange I mean like Bellinger and Yelich can’t hit water if they fell out of a boat and Bell suddenly hits like 5 homers a game for the rest of the year and the Pirates somehow make the playoffs. Now will this happen, unlikely but anything is possible in baseball.
Pitching is so important in today’s game, let’s take a look at my top 5 Cy young award winners from each league.
AL Cy Young:
- Justin Verlander
- Charlie Morton
- Gerrit Cole
- Lance Lynn
- Jake Odorizzi
The Favorite: Justin Verlander has been one of the most consistently elite starters for the past 13 years. This year he has been his best form since his CY Young/MVP 2011 season. He leads the league in Hits per nine, Walks & Hits per nine, and is top 7 in ERA, Wins, Base on Balls per nine, Strikeouts per nine, Innings Pitched, Strikeouts, and is 9th in overall WAR. He has been an absolute anchor for that Houston Rotation.
The Dark Horse: Charlie Morton has taken over the Rays rotation for Blake Snell who is having a down year coming off his own Cy Young. Morton was also my oddball choice for AL MVP and as I stated there if he can shoulder the load of this rotation and get this team to a deep playoff run he may snag the gold away from Verlander.
The Odd Ball: Here is a guy who is the ace of a rotation, having a career year, and is not being talked about anywhere. This guy is Jake Odorizzi, who happens to be top 5 in ERA, Wins, and Hits per nine. He has been a breakout star for one of the surprise teams in the league, the Twins. He looks really ready to carry the twins to a playoff berth and a deep October run.
NL CY Young:
- Max Scherzer
- Hyun-Jin Ryu
- Zach Greinke
- Kirby Yates
- Luis Castillo
The Favorite: Mad Max has been one of the best pitchers of the past 8 years and has acquired 3 Cy Young awards in his career. This year is no different for Max as he is top 6 in War in both all players in the NL and pitchers in the NL, ERA, Wins, Base on Balls per 9, Strikeouts per 9, hits per 9, Home Runs per 9, Strikeouts, innings pitched, and games started. He fills up his stat sheet better than anyone else on the mound. He looks poised to take his 4th Cy young award of his career.
The Dark Horse: Zach Greinke may be traded or he may not be, truthfully you never know with baseball. The facts are that Greinke has been as advertised this season being top 5 in ERA, Wins, Hits per nine, and Walks per nine. Whoever Greinke goes to will get a bonafide top of the rotation piece.
The Odd Ball: I think Kirby Yates is a fun one, at least for me it is anyway. I as an Orioles fan was blessed with Zach Brittons ridiculous 2016 season where he was robbed of a Cy Young (Yes I am still salty), but Yates has been just as good. He leads the league in saves with 30 and sports a 1.10 ERA. To me it’s just a cool player to throw in the mix and you never know, he may just become even more lights out and break K-Rods single season Save record.
We have a fantastic rookie class this year so let’s take a closer look at my top 5 Rookies of the year for both leagues.
- Eloy Jimenez
- Yordan Alvarez
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- Nate Lowe
- Michael Chavis
The Favorite: Well as much hype as Vladdy Jr. has gotten Eloy Jimenez has just been better to be honest. Eloy and Vladdy have played 65 and 64 games respectively and Eloy has out hit Vlad in every category. He is better than Vlad in Homers, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and RBI. So we have to be honest with ourselves and say together that Eloy deserves to be the ROY.
The Dark Horse: Nate Lowe is my dark horse ROY pick. He has been exceptional for the Rays in his rookie year. He has been a key piece in their quest for a postseason berth this year. He has been among the top of rookies in Homers, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. If he continues excelling at this level he may even steal the ROY from Eloy.
The Odd Ball: Though Yordan Alvarez was called up extremely late he was been absolutely historic, crushing everything in his sight. Through his first 23 games he has a .344 Avg, .422 OBP, .733 SLG, and a 1.155 OPS. Along with his 9 moonshots and 29 RBI he has been sensational for the Astros who have been dealing with injuries of late.
- Pete Alonso
- Austin Riley
- Fernando Tatis
- Christian Walker
- Alex Verdugo
The Favorite: Is it even close? No, no it’s not at all. Pete Alonso has 30 Home Runs and is possibly making an MVP case. He has been the best rookie since Aaron Judge and is on pace for over 50 bombs this season. He is blowing away all his competition and truthfully he has no competition, like at all.
The Dark Horse: I guess you could say Alex Verdugo has a chance if Alonso gets hurt or just falls off completely but Verdugo is kinda-sorta the only one close to Pistol Pete but even then Pete has this award in his pocket.
The Odd Ball: Christian Walker is a strange one here for me. With 18 bombs the former Orioles prospect is shining in his new role post Goldschmidt. He has been the fill in the D-Backs needed. He actually has been better than Goldschmidt this year which to me is crazy. But still Pete is just so much better.
The awards race season is now officially underway with the start of the second half. We could see potential candidates emerge or see any of these guys dominate the races. It is going to be a really fun remainder of the season so let’s buckle up because its gonna be a bumpy ride.