Now that the season is “half” finished (the All-Star break came a bit beyond the actual half-way point this year – most teams have played 95-96 games), let’s take a look at who is deserving of recognition.
ROY: Jose Iglesias (BOS) – there isn’t much to get terribly excited about at this point among the AL rookies. So, I give the award to Boston’s infielder. He’s only been in 52 games at this point, but that was because he was injured after the first week of the season, and missed a little over 6 weeks. He has been starting nearly every game since coming back, and has been playing both SS & 3B, as needed. He has only committed 3 errors in the field, and is batting an impressive .367. He leads all AL rookies with an .878 OPS, and a 141 wRC+.
Cy Young: Max Scherzer (DET) – and not just because he won his first 13 decisions of the season (leading the league in wins). Scherzer is also 2nd in the AL in K’s (152 – just 5 behind Yu Darvish), 2nd in WHIP (0.98 – just .04 behind Iwakuma), 2nd in batting avg. against (.206), 4th in quality starts (14 – just 2 behind Felix Hernandez for 1st), 9th in ERA (3.19), and is only .01 behind the league leader in defense-independant ERA (2.79). Overall, Scherzer has had the most impressive first half.
MVP: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – yes, Chris Davis is having a spectacular season, and may approach 60 home runs by the end. But, I hope people don’t become so overwhelmed with this guy that they lose sight of the fact that Cabrera might be having an even better year than his Triple Crown/MVP season of a year ago. Other than HR and SLG, Cabrera leads Davis (and the rest of the league, for that matter) in every significant offensive stat. And, Cabrera is 2nd only to Davis in those two categories. Just look at these numbers: .365/.458/.674/1.132, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 204 wRC+. If Davis tapers off in the slightest with his home run rate, we could easily be looking at back-to-back Triple Crowns and MVP’s for Cabrera.
ROY: Shelby Miller (STL) – that’s right, it’s not Yasiel Puig. For the same reasons I didn’t think Puig belonged in the All-Star game, he doesn’t get my first-half ROY award: he played in barely 40% of his team’s games in the first half, and despite an amazing start through his first 20 games, he has hit just 1 home run in his last 18, his OPS has dropped by almost 400 points, and his strikeout rate has increased by about 20%. Too many people jumped too quickly on that bandwagon. Meanwhile, Shelby Miller has posted a 9-6 record with a very impressive 2.92 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and leads all rookies with 112 K’s.
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – Matt Harvey might be the better story, but Kershaw is the better pitcher. Kershaw leads the league in ERA (1.98), WHIP (0.91), batting avg. against (.188), is second only to Harvey in K’s (139), and second only to Travis Wood (huh??) in quality starts (16). He’s only 8-6, but that’s primarily because he ranks 44th out of 47 qualified pitchers in the NL in run support.
MVP: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – so, who’s been hearing about how great of a season Goldschmidt has been having? Anyone? Anyone? He’s leading the way for a first-place team, and doing so with some great numbers: .313 avg. (9th), .395 OBP (5th), .557 SLG (3rd), .952 OPS (3rd), 21 HR (4th), 77 RBI (1st), 157 wRC+ (2nd). No one else in the NL appears in the top 10 in every one of those categories. Right now, Goldschmidt’s closest competition is coming from Colorado (Tulowitzki, Gonzalez & Cuddyer are all having very good years), but it’s tough to pick an MVP from a below-.500 team.