National League Midseason Awards
MVP: Troy Tulowitzki
MVP voters like to reward players on winning teams and for good reason. While it certainly shouldn’t be the main criteria, good stats for a team that’s playing good baseball does mean a little extra. The two best players in the National League, Troy Tulowitzki and Giancarlo Stanton, play on bad teams. The Marlins were keeping their head above water for a while, but have reverted to form in the last couple weeks. The Rockies are just bad. Nevertheless, there would be no denying Tulowitzki even if his team was winless. He leads the league in batting and .OPS and before you yell “Coors Field” he’s also just about the best fielding shortstop in baseball. His Baseball Reference WAR — which takes into account park effects — is 5.1, topping all, even Mike Trout. If Tulowitzki falters (or his old injury bugaboo returns) Stanton could be the beneficiary. MVP candidates with more traditional team resumes include Carlos Gomez, Yusiel Puig and Jonathan Lucroy. Don’t count out 2013 winner Andrew McCutchen either, especially if the Pirates get back into the race.
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
If your choices for American League Cy Young are Clayton Kershaw or The Field, you would be wise to take Kershaw. Even this year, when the the field has been pretty great. Johnny Cueto, Adam Wainwright, Julio Tehran and Kershaw’s teammate Zach Grienke all have the stats befitting of a Cy Young winner. And Kershaw even spotted them all a month with an injury. Since he’s been back Kershaw been the best of a great lot, posting a 9-2 record with a 2.04 ERA. The lefty is on a 28 inning scoreless streak which includes 36 Ks and a no-hitter that rates among the best games ever pitched. Kershaw is our midseason National League Cy Young winner and the 26-year old is the heavy favorite to take his third full season Cy Young in four years.
Rookie of the year: Billy Hamilton
We have to admit, we doubted Billy Hamilton. Sure he was fast, but his profile suggest he wouldn’t be much of a big league hitter. He hasn’t squashed all of our concerns with his bat. His .283 average is OK, and his four (outside the park) homers are a surprise. But a .314 OBP is not what you want out of a lead off hitter. He also gets thrown out stealing too much, which negates some of his speed advantage. On the plus side of the ledger, he’s quite a center fielder. He’s our midseason MVP, but his lead over Chris Owings in tenuous, and we would not be surprised of Arizona’s slick fielding shortstop ends up with the hardware.
Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke
Who had the Milwaukee Brewers atop the American League central and by a 6.5 game margin? Nobody? Exactly. Ron Roenicke is the easy pick for the National League midseason Manager of the year. At this point nobody else is even close.