All Star break marks the “halfway” point of the season, even though the actual halfway mark is usually the previous week. The season has already been very exciting. We have a surprisingly dominant Twins team (23 games above .500; 5.5 game lead in their division), more top prospect call ups than any year I can recall (Tatís Jr, Guerrero Jr, Alonso, plus many more), and tons of homeruns being hit (3 guys with at least 30, Yelich leading with 31). So, it’s only right we start talking early awards predictions. Make sure to follow me on twitter (@mpflores90) and let me know how wrong I am and tell me who you would pick instead at this point.
Cody Bellinger (LAD)
Bellinger takes home NL MVP this year. Slashing .336/.432/.692 with 30 HR, 71 RBI, 107 hits. That’s good enough for a 6.6 WAR. I know Yelich (MIL) has very similar numbers; .329/.433/.707 with 31 HR, 67 RBI, 100 hits, and a 4.9 WAR. For me, Bellinger’s defense is what give him the edge here. Fangraphs has their Defensive Runs Saved in Bellinger’s favor 24-4. Yelich is on his tail and it should be an exciting finish. Don’t sleep on Josh Bell (PIT). He is making sure his name is getting some mentions in the race as well. He has been on fire as of late, slashing .302/.376/.648 with 27 HR and 102 hits. He is leading the league with 84 (!) RBI already, his career high is 90.
Max Scherzer (WSH)
Max Scherzer is just dominant. In the past 6 years he has finished top 5 in Cy Young voting, including winning it 3 times. He is 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA and is flirting with another season of 200+ innings pitched and 300+ strikeouts, currently at 129.1 IP and 181 SO. He looks to run away with the award, while Ryu (LAD) and Castillo (CIN) look to try to keep up. They are both having great years, 1.73 ERA and 2.29 ERA respectively, but can they maintain it for the rest of the season? Scherzer has already proved many times he can maintain this success throughout an entire season.
Rookie of the Year
Pete Alonso (NYM)
Alonso is currently batting .280/.372/.634 with 30 HR, 68 RBI, and 91 hits. He is having a phenomenal rookie season. If season were to end now, he is the clear winner. While writing this, he even won the Home Run Derby against AL Rookie of the Year contender Vladimir Guerrero Jr (TOR). Fernando Tatís Jr (SD) is going to give him a run for his money in the second half. He is currently batting .327/.393/.620 with 14 HR and 33 RBI. Unfortunately, he missed the entire month of May with a Hamstring injury. Which gives Alonso an extra 34 game advantage. If Tatís Jr can stay healthy, I look forward to this to come down to the final week.
Manager of the Year
Brian Snitker (ATL)
Looks like Snitker is going back to back to win his second Manager of the Year award. He is looking to take a young team back to the playoffs, despite having a bullpen that has been struggling. By the end of the year, this can be a complete toss up between Snitker and Dave Roberts (LAD). For now, I give Snitker the slight advantage with how he has managed a younger team.
Mike Trout (LAA)
Mike Trout is one of the best to ever play the game. His “worst” year (2017), not including his 2011 season where he only played 40 games, he finished fourth in MVP voting while only playing 114 games. There almost needs to be an award in the AL that’s given to Most Valuable Player not named Mike Trout. I think he runs away with it this year. He’s batting .301/.453/.646 with 28 HR and 67 RBI. He’s leading AL in HR, RBI, OBP, and SLG.
Justin Verlander (HOU)
Somebody needs to tell this guy that he is getting older. I am not sure he knows how to slow down. This is his age 36 season and he is still out there pitching like prime Verlander. With a 10-4 record and a 2.98 ERA in 126.2 innings and 153 SO, he is looking to take the Astros back to the playoffs to make another run. Don’t get me wrong, he will probably win Cy Young, but he is not running away with it. Charlie Morton (TB) and Mike Minor (TEX), 2.32 and 2.34 ERA respectively, are looking to take the award from right underneath him
Rookie of the Year
Brandon Lowe (TB)
This is another hard one for me. Brandon Lowe is having a real good rookie season, batting .276/.339/.523 with 16 HR and 49 RBI. He is currently the front runner to take home Rookie of the Year, but it could be because his competition just has not played as much as he has. He got his first taste of the big leagues last year with 148 PA and has 307 this year. Vladimir Guerrero Jr (TOR) is creeping up on him with 253 PA, slugging .249/.328/.413 with 8 HR and 25 RBI. He started off very slow but has started to heat up as of late and will go off in the second half. Yordan Alvarez (HOU) is a name to keep watch. He already has 7 HR and 25 RBI in only 73 AB!
Manager of the Year
Rocco Baldelli (MIN)
I think Baldelli will run away with this one, barring a second half collapse. He has made these Twins look like a team to beat with a 56-33 record. Offensively they lead the AL in HR, RBI, and OPS. And tied for first in AVG and Runs scored. They are also nearly top 5 in every major pitching category. Aaron Boone (NYY) will also get some looks with how well his team is doing with all the injuries hitting the team, but Rocco looks to be running away with this one.
Don’t forget to follow me on twitter (@mpflores90) and let me know why (fill in the blank here) should win instead.