2018 MLB Mid-Season Awards

With today being the start of the Major League Baseball all-star festivities, it means that we have reached the unofficial halfway point of the MLB season. It has been an incredible first half of baseball, and it’s time to give out some awards.

* Numbers in parenthesis indicate the players ranking in their respective league

American League MVP My Pre-Season Prediction:

George Springer, OF, Houston Astros Mid-Season Prediction:

1st: Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland Indians 29 HR (2nd), 70 RBI (2nd), 20 SB (3rd), .302/.401/.628 (14th/4th/3rd) 2nd: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels 25 HR (T-3rd), 50 RBI (33rd), 15 SB (10th), .310/.454/.606 (T-9th/1st/4th) 3rd: Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox 23 HR (T-7th), 51 RBI (T-31st), 18 SB (4th), .359/.448/.691 (1st/2nd/1st)

A lot of people will simply give the MVP to the best player on the best team. I, however, am not most people. If you look at my top three finalists for this award, you will see that their team win totals rank as the 11th, 15th, and 1st most. Baseball is by and large an individual sport, and my MVP votes reflect that.

Jose Ramirez has been the best player in baseball this season. He hits home runs, drives in runs, steals bases, and hits for average. All while playing a premium defensive position. He’s not as well-known as Trout, and doesn’t play for as good of a team as Betts, but he has been the MVP up to this point of the season.

Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, but falls just short of the award this season. Trout is the perfect example of why I don’t like taking a team’s record into account when it comes to the MVP. It doesn’t matter what Trout does on the field, this Angels team just isn’t going to be as good as a team like the Red Sox or Astros. Imagine if Trout had the lineup protection that Betts, or even Ramirez has? We would be talking about an all-time great season. Wait, am I talking myself into giving Trout the MVP? Almost.

If I just showed you these players’ stat lines, without names, and told you to choose the best, there’s a good chance that you would pick Betts’. He’s had a phenomenal first half of the season, nobody is denying that. But I just don’t think his impact on his team is as great as Ramirez’s or Trout’s. Playing right field also hurts Betts’ case, which is unfortunate for him. But if this was based solely on offence, then J.D. Martinez would probably be the runaway winner right now.

Cy Young My Pre-Season Prediction:

Corey Kluber, RHP, Cleveland Indians Mid-Season Prediction:

1st: Chris Sale, LHP, Boston Red Sox 10-4 (T-8th), 129.0 IP (4th), 2.23 ERA (1st), 188 K (1st), 0.90 WHIP (2nd) 2nd: Justin Verlander, RHP, Houston Astros 9-5 (T-14th), 137.2 IP (1st), 2.29 ERA (4th), 172 K (4th), 0.84 WHIP (1st) 3rd: Blake Snell, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays 12-5 (T-2nd), 119.0 IP (15th), 2.27 ERA (3rd), 134 K (8th), 1.07 WHIP (8th)

The race for this title is going to be awesome down the stretch. I have these three pitchers as my top three, but there are about a half dozen others who have an argument to receive some votes. Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, Luis Severino, Gerrit Cole, along with a few others will all be contending for this award in the second half.

Chris Sale has been as dominant as ever this season. As you can see, he’s at or near the top of most categories. With the amount of runs that the Red Sox score, there’s a good chance that he will continue putting up similar numbers for the remainder of the season.

There must be something in the water in Houston. Since being acquired at the trade deadline last season, Verlander has gone 14-5 with a 2.04 ERA, and 215 strikeouts in 171.2 regular season innings pitched for Houston. If not for his last five starts, a 2-3 record with a 4.70 ERA, he would probably be my choice to win this award. But that slight hiccup gives Sale the edge for now.

Blake Snell hasn’t received anywhere near the amount of credit he deserves this season. Sure, people were outraged when he was snubbed from the All-Star team, but aside from that, I haven’t heard people talk about him. He’s on a mediocre team, and is still putting up top numbers in just about every category. If he gets traded to a contender before the deadline, his chances of winning his first career Cy Young will skyrocket.

Rookie of the Year * Numbers in parenthesis indicate the players ranking among qualified rookies in their respective league

My Pre-Season Prediction:

Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels Mid-Season Prediction:

1st: Gleyber Torres, 2B, New York Yankees 15 HR (1st), 42 RBI (1st), 2 SB (T-7th), .294/.350/.555 (1st/2nd/1st) 2nd: Miguel Andujar, 3B, New York Yankees 12 HR (T-2nd), 39 RBI (2nd), 2 SB (T-7th), .279/.316/.489 (3rd/9th/3rd) 3rd: Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels 4-1, 49.1 IP, 3.10 ERA, 61 K, 1.14 WHIP 7 HR, 22 RBI, 2 SB, .283/.365/.522

This is the easiest award of them all. After making his Major League debut in late April, Gleyber Torres has taken the league by storm. He leads rookies in just about every major category, and once he returns from his injury after the All-Star break, he should have no problem continuing his dominance. It’s crazy to think that this is the guy the Yankees got in return for Aroldis Chapman, only to sign Chapman back a few months later. Gleybermania has arrived, and he’s here to stay.

Miguel Andujar has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees. However, his inconsistency at the plate, coupled with his mediocre defence, makes him come up just short to his teammate for the award.

If Shohei Ohtani didn’t get injured, he would be the favourite to win this award. I stated in the pre-season that Ohtani is the most important player to come to the MLB in a long time, and he proved me right in the first two months. However, he suffered an injury to his throwing arm and will be limited to just hitting for the remainder of his rookie campaign. He still has a shot at winning this award, but without the duel threat of pitching and hitting, his odds have taken a substantial hit.

National League MVP My Pre-Season Prediction:

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

Mid-Season Prediction:

1st: Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies 23 HR (T-2nd), 68 RBI (T-4th), 2 SB (T-85th), .312/.395/.586 (T-5th/5th/2nd) 2nd: Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers 24 HR (1st), 70 RBI (3rd), 0 SB (NA), .298/.373/.621 (9th/T-14th/1st) 3rd: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves 16 HR (T-18th), 61 RBI (T-7th), 6 SB (T-30th), .315/.405/.533 (4th/2nd/7th)

Nolan Arenado is a top five all-around player in the sport of baseball today. From 2015-2017, he averaged 40 homeruns, 131 RBI with a .297/.353/.577 slash line. Pair that with five straight Gold Gloves at third base, and you have an all-time great talent. This year, Arenado is once again having a great season. He’s on pace to hit around 40 home runs again, with over 110 RBI and a batting average over .300, all while being one of the best defensive players in the game. These are some of the reasons why I think this is finally the year that Arenado takes home the most coveted individual hardware.

Aguilar has been the biggest surprise of the season, by far. At the beginning of the year, the Brewers weren’t too sure of who was going to be in their everyday lineup, with players like Ryan Brain, Eric Thames and Domingo Santana all vying for starting jobs. Then Eric Thames got hurt, and Aguilar’s, and the Brewers’, season changed. Since Thames was hurt on April 24th, Aguilar has hit 23 home runs, and drove in 63 runs. Not bad for your team’s back-up plan. It’s tough to see Aguilar keeping up this pace, but if he does, he just may pass Arenado for this award.

If Freddie Freeman didn’t suffer a significant injury last season, there’s a strong chance that he would’ve won the MVP. Unfortunately for him, he missed around 40 games, and his MVP hopes vanished. Now, in 2018, a healthy Freeman is on a mission. He’s on pace to have close to a 30-100 season, coupled with his strong average and insane OBP. All while being in the midst of a month long cold streak. In 25 games since June 16th, Freeman has hit only 1 homerun, and is only slashing .242/.324/.364. The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for him, as he now has a chance to regroup, and get himself prepared for a serious MVP run in the second half.

Cy Young My Pre-Season Prediction:

Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Washington Nationals Mid-Season Prediction:

1st: Max Scherzer, RHP, Washington Nationals 12-5 (T-1st), 134.2 IP (1st), 2.41 ERA (3rd), 182 K (1st), 0.90 WHIP (1st) 2nd: Jacob deGrom, RHP, New York Mets 5-4 (T-39th), 123.1 IP (4th), 1.68 ERA (1st), 149 K (T-2nd), 0.97 WHIP (2nd) 3rd: Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies 12-3 (T-1st), 129.0 IP (2nd), 2.30 ERA (2nd), 131 K (4th), 0.98 WHIP (3rd)

Max Scherzer is well on his way to becoming the third National League pitcher in history to win three consecutive Cy Young awards. He has been the model of consistency and dominance, which should lead him to winning the award for the fourth time in his career.

There is no MLB player that I feel worse for than Jacob deGrom. He leads the MLB in ERA, yet he only has 5 wins to his name. Here’s how embarrassing the New York Mets are as a team; in deGrom’s last ten starts, he has an ERA of 1.63, with 80 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched, allowing one run or fewer in seven of those games. The Mets are 3-7 in those games, deGrom is 1-4. There have been rumours of his being traded at the deadline, but the chances of that seem slim. However, imagine if he was traded to a team with an actual offence, like the Mets’ cross-town rivals, the Yankees? That would be fun to watch.

Nola doesn’t have the same name recognition as a Scherzer, deGrom or Kershaw has, but he has the numbers. In the five stat categories I have listed above, he is top four in all five. We are seeing a future Cy Young winner at his absolute best. But, unfortunately for him, he’ll have to surpass a future Hall of Famer to get his hands on the award.

Rookie of the Year * Numbers in parenthesis indicate the players ranking among qualified rookies in their respective league

My Pre-Season Prediction:

Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves

Mid-Season Prediction:

1st: Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals 9 HR (3rd), 28 RBI (6th), 2 SB (T-6th), .301/.411/.517 (1st/1st/1st) 2nd: Brian Anderson, 3B, Miami Marlins 8 HR (T-4th), 49 RBI (1st), 2 SB (T-6th), .288/.363/.429 (4th/3rd/T-6th) 3rd: Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds 7 HR (T-5th), 42 RBI (3rd), 0 SB (NA), .293/.404/.429 (3rd/2nd/T-6th)

This race is much tighter than it is in the AL. Soto is the shiny new toy for the Washington Nationals. He’s only played in 51 games, and is already putting up top notch numbers. The Nationals have made a point to start Soto as much as possible, even placing Adam Eaton on the bench in favour of Soto occasionally. As long as he gets the at-bats, he’ll run away with this award.

Anderson has been one of the few bright spots for a terrible Marlins team. None of his numbers are eye-popping, but he’s solid across the board.

Winker is much like Anderson. You’re not going to go crazy looking at his stat line, but you would do a lot to get him on your team. The most impressive thing about Winker is that he’s played 85 games, and has more walks (48) than strikeouts (44).

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