09 Jul MLB: Mid Season American League Awards
By: Lou Landers (@RealSportsCrew)
It’s almost time for the mid summer classic. This seasons all-star festivities are taking place in the nations capital and it should be a star studded affair as always. Today we are going to take a look at the mid season awards in the American League, starting with rookie of the year, followed by Cy Young and wrapping it up with the MVP. The top 3 candidates for these awards are my personal top choices, and as you will see when you get to the Cy Young award section, picking just 3 is impossible. I will be coming out with an NL version of the mid season awards later in the week.
Rookie Of The Year:
Top 3 Candidates:
SP/DH Shohei Ohtani:
The Japanese phenom got off to an incredible start to his big league career. He’s impressed as both a starter and a hitter, and he still would be if not for an injury to his pitching elbow. He spent some time on the DL because of it, and although he is back in the Angels lineup, it is as just a hitter. He has shown that he can produce with the bat, however I don’t think he will do enough offensively to beat out either of the next 2 contenders. If he does hit every day, he will definitely put up a big fight for this award though. Through is first 131 AB’s Ohtani is hitting .275 with 7 homers, 21 RBI, 21 runs and a .354 OBP
2B Gleyber Torres:
Since the Yankees called up Torres, the team has been one of, if not the best teams in MLB. Everyone around the baseball world has known that he was a top prospect, ever since he was acquired from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade back in 2016, but I don’t think anyone knew he would be THIS good so soon. In 218 AB’s this season, Torres is hitting .294 with 15 homers, 30 runs, 42 RBI and a .350 OBP. He has also been selected to his first all-star game. Torres has also hit towards the bottom of the Yankees lineup for most of this season, making his runs and RBI totals that much more impressive.
3B Miguel Andujar:
Andujar got the call to the big leagues for a brief stint last season, and once the Yankees traded for Brandon Drury, we were unsure if he would get to play much in the big leagues in 2018 either. Drury was placed on the DL in mid April, prompting the Yankees to promote Andujar and he has been a main fixture in the lineup ever since. The biggest fault in Andujar’s game is his lack of walks, which has led to just a .305 OBP, despite hitting .276 with with 12 homers, 39 RBI and 37 runs through 293 AB’s in 2018. What is most impressive though is that he leads the Yankees not only in multi hit games, but also in doubles. The rookie has 39 XBH in those 293 AB’s.
My Pick: Gleyber Torres
This will be the tightest award race in MLB this season. There are 7 players who are deserving of strong consideration; of course just one man will win it and for the sake of this article, I’m picking my top 3 candidates. Chris Sale, Blake Snell, Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole all missed the cut which should indicate just how many elite SP there are in the American League.
Top 3 Candidates:
JV has been as good as it gets since joining the Astros at the end of August last season. The team rode him into the post season and all the way to a World Series championship. His success has continued in 2018; Verlander has been one of the most dominant pitchers around despite being 35 years old, he is showing no signs of slowing down. In 125 IP, he’s posted a 2.15 ERA, 9-4 record, 154 K’s a 0.84 WHIP and opposing hitters are batting just .182 vs him. He is the leader of a staff that arguably has 4-5 aces on it.
Perhaps there is some bias here, I mean I am a Yankees fan, but Severino doesn’t need my help to get the notoriety he deserves. He has been one of baseballs best SP since the start of 2017, and this season he has only gotten better. He is the MLB leader in wins with 14, and he has been beaten just twice. Through 123 IP, Sevy as a 2.12 ERA, 143 K’s, 0.96 WHIP and a .198 BAA. These numbers are more impressive when you consider the fact that he pitches in the hitters haven that is Yankee stadium and in the hitter friendly American League East division.
The man they can “Klubot” has been a model of consistency for a few years now. He is the reigning Cy Young award winner and is putting together yet again another award winning season. The one knock I have on Kluber is his level of competition. He pitches in the AL Central; the worst division in MLB and is putting up similar numbers as the 2 men above him who face far superior teams and lineups. In his 126 IP this season, Kluber has a 12-4 record, 123 K’s, a 2.49 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a .208 BAA.
My Pick: Luis Severino
Top 3 Candidates:
OF/DH: JD Martinez:
The biggest fish offensively on the open market this offseason was expected to land in Boston, and although it took 2 months longer than expected, it finally happened. So far so good for both JD and the Red Sox. Martinez is having one of, if not the best first halves to a season in Red Sox history and currently leads in 2 of the 3 (HR/RBI) triple crown categories. He isn’t too far off the lead in batting average either. All together, in 328 AB’s, JD is hitting .329 with 27 homers, 74 RBI, 64 Runs and a .392 OBP. If he maintains his pace, it will be very tough for anyone to beat him out for MVP.
OF: Mike Trout:
He has already won the award multiple times and if not for Miguel Cabrera, he would already be a 4 or 5 time winner by now. He is the best all around player in MLB, however, that doesn’t mean that he is the best player every single season. This year he is having arguably the best season of his career and will certainly get a ton of votes for MVP. If he doesn’t win, it wont be for a lack of trying. In 314 AB’s, Trout is hitting .312 with 25 homers, 50 RBI, 68 runs, an incredible .455 OBP and 13 SB. Trout is a true 5-tool player.
OF: Mookie Betts:
Mookie was easily the best player in baseball in the month of April a May. In both months combined he hit for a .370 average, with 17 homers, 52 runs, 37 RBI and 13 SB. The numbers to date are still very impressive, top 3 in the league, but he has come back down to earth, especially after June when he only had 3 homers, 4 RBI and hit .290 with 12 runs scored. His OBP has been steady all season long though. In 275 AB’s, Betts has a .432 OBP and a .342 average. If he were in the NL, he would likely be the front runner for the MVP award, however in the AL, he has stiff competition.
My Pick: JD Martinez