– Cruz Serrano
With the All Star break upon us, the assumed halfway point in the MLB season, we find ourselves at a good point to reflect and see which players have made the biggest impact on the league. Although there are many ways to go about this, I suppose the easiest way is to use the postseason awards, and see which players are deserving of these honors up to this point. For me, being the MVP doesn’t assume that a player’s team is in playoff contention, rather I look at the players individual performance independent of his team, mostly because it is an individual award. Without further ado, I present to you Cruz Serrano’s Midseason Postseason awards.
Rookie of the Year: Carlos Correa SS Astros
Although he hasn’t been up very long, Carlos Correa has made a big impact for Houston. He currently ranks second in the AL in WAR among rookie position players despite only playing in 30 games. Correa started out hot after his promotion to Houston, however he has recently fallen on hard times as the league begins to adjust to him. However with his stellar defense, he shouldn’t have to hit a ton with the weak rookie class in the AL.
Comeback Player of the Year: Manny Machado 3B Orioles
After playing in only 82 games last year and not progressing after a promising 2013 campaign, Machado has taken a giant leap forward this year. He has begun to show more power that he promised with his ridiculous doubles totals in 2013. Going forward it looks like the Orioles have a promising corner stone at the hot corner, and Machado has definitely distanced himself from his injury plagued 2014 season.
Cy Young: Chris Sale SP White Sox
Although Corey Kluber is close here, outperforming his traditional stats with a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, or what a pitchers ERA is independent of the defense that plays behind him) currently sitting pretty at 2.51. He also ranks third in the Majors in WAR among pitchers with a total of 3.9. One of the pitchers he trails is Sale, who has continued to dominate and remain consistent (and healthy) despite his funky delivery. Sale had a stretch of 8 consecutive starts with double digit strike outs, and currently leads the American League in strikeouts. His incredible 157/23 K/BB ratio shows how dominant he really is, and has been the best AL starter to this point in the season.
MVP: Mike Trout CF Angels
If you would have asked me a couple weeks ago, I might have leaned towards Jason Kipnis for this award. He, like Machado, has bounced back from a down season and is currently third in the entire MLB in WAR among position players. However, Trout has flown by him and continues to be the best player in the world, with Bryce Harper on his heels. Trout easily could have 3 MVP awards by now, and the baseball writers might screw it up again, but as far as I’m concerned he deserves his second straight MVP honors.
Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant 3B Cubs
Bryant was a sexy pick to win this award before the season, and despite the best efforts of the king of the three true outcomes Joc Pederson, Bryant has lived up to the billing. Bryant has been better defensively and on the basepaths, and quite simply has been a more consistent producer on the offensive side. There is plenty of baseball left for these two to go back and forth, and this award is really 1a and 1b at this point. However I think Bryant will begin to show more of that power he has and will continue to outperform Pederson down the stretch.
Comeback Player of the Year: Joey Votto 1B Reds
Although Votto isn’t performing at the MVP level he was a few years ago, he has done a nice job of bouncing back from a lost 2014 campaign. Votto was worth an abysmal 1 WAR last year, as he struggled through an injury plagued season. Although he might not get back to the 6.1 WAR MVP level he was at in 2013, Votto’s offensive output has gotten him back to a respectable 2.7 WAR, and he continues to be an on base machine.
Cy Young: Max Scherzer SP Nationals
Zack Greinke has had an amazing first half, posting the lowest first half ERA since the pitching mounds were lowered thanks in large part to the exploits of mean Bob Gibson in 1968. However, Scherzer has quite simply been better. Scherzer has walked less batters, struck out more batters, and oh yeah he had what might be the best back to back starts in the history of baseball. Scherzer also has a better FIP than Greinke, and his better peripherals show that he is less likely to see a major amount of regression. This is very much like the ROY where you can’t go wrong with either guy, but I think Scherzer is having the better season.
MVP: Bryce Harper RF Nationals
Please bear in mind how hard this is for me. I really dislike the Nationals. And dislike is an understatement, and saying that it is an understatement actually may be an understatement as well. And of all the Nationals I dislike, Bryce is at the top of the list, mostly because it’s natural to hate greatness on a rival team. Add in his antics and arrogance over the first couple years in the league and it’s easy to see why Braves fans boo him every time he steps up to the plate at Turner Field. So it pains me to say that Bryce is finally tapping into that potential that has been raved about since he was a high school student hitting bombs at Tropicana Field. Harper is currently leading the entire MLB in WAR, and he is putting up the power numbers baseball fans have been longing to see from him. His 216 wRC+* also leads the entire league. Although it’s only been a half season, Harper is finally showing his potential, which makes hating him that much easier.
*wRC+, or weighted runs created plus is an improvement on the runs created stat that was developed by Bill James. wRC+ attempts to quantify a players offensive value in terms of runs. It is a rate stat with a mean of 100 with totals >100 being above league average and <100 being below league average. wRC+ is adjusted for park league and era as to create a level ground when comparing players from different eras. All stats used are courtesy of fangraphs.com. For more on any advanced stat please visit fangraphs stat glossary here.
– Cruz Serrano (@Cruzin_USA)