Well, a disappointing 2009 for me as a Cubs fan so far. I'm hoping to see the Cubs turn it around, get a few games above .500 and win the division. Anyway, my point wasn't to gripe about how poorly the Cubs are playing, this is the mid-season edition, looking at who's doing well, and who's not... Without further ado, let's start with the MVP awards:
Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
.305 BA, 17 HR, 65 RBI, .380 OBP, .938 OPS
Surprise surprise, I decide to go with my favorite non-Cub player. Here's why Torii deserves this award though, for the first half at least. He's hitting for power, he's driving runners in. What the Angels need him to do, he's done it. And guess what? The Angels are in first place in the AL West, in what was supposed to be a down year for this team (some thinking (including myself) it was the A's year). The pitching has helped a little, but Torii Hunter is making a huge impact for this team.
Others Considered: Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
Can Torii keep it up after returning from injury?
Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
.332 BA, 32 HR, 87 RBI, .456 OBP, 1.179 OPS
Honestly, was there really any other choice? So what, he didn't win the home run derby. He's the reason, the only reason, the Cardinals are in first place. Pujols is just unstoppable. A ridiculous OPS of 1.179, .456 OBP, pitchers so scared of him that they're thinking about giving him the Barry Bonds treatment. Hint pitchers: It's still not working. If it were up to me, I'd be as cautious as ever with this guy, probably still allowing him to hit 20 more home runs. This was the biggest no-brainer since, well, the NBA Draft and choosing Blake Griffin as the #1 pick.
Others Considered (sort of): Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins, Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies, Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
A Real No-Brainer.
AL Cy Young
Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals
10-5, 2.12 ERA, 129 SO, 21 BB, 1.08 WHIP, .245 BAA, 127.1 IP
This kid, as you may know, got off to one of the best starts for a starting pitcher. He's not been terrible since then, maintaining an ERA in the low 2's and still having a nice K/BB ratio. Only Justin Verlander and Jon Lester has more K's in the American League right now and Kevin Millwood, James Shields, and CC Sabathia are the only other pitchers to have pitched more innings than Greinke. Also, Greinke hasn't missed a start (Halladay) and hasn't really been plagued by inconsistencies (Hernandez). The Royals may be well out of contention, but this kid is about the only bright spot on the team and he's keeping the Royals shining, um, dimly..
Others Considered: Roy Halladay - Toronto Blue Jays, Felix Hernadez - Seattle Mariners, Edwin Jackson - Detroit Tigers, Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels, Nick Blackburn - Minnesota Twins
Greinke continues pitching well.
NL Cy Young
Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks
9-5, 2.01 ERA, 129 SO, 16 BB, .81 WHIP, .189 BAA, 130 IP
The D-Backs ace says "HI" to NL manager Charlie Manuel. I'm not implying anything, but something says to me that Tim Lincecum shouldn't have been starting the All-Star game for the NL (though he's pitched admirably). The only thing plaguing Haren is well, the lack of run support and the lack of a good team around him in Arizona. Haren is like the random oasis in a desert. OK, bad analogy, but, no matter what you say, Haren is second in IP to Adam Wainwright, third in K's to Tim Lincecum and Javier Vazquez, and has had a couple of unfair losses because of the lack of run support. I know, if he were playing for the Cubs, it wouldn't be much better, but if he were playing for, I don't know, maybe the Brewers or the Dodgers, well, let's just say he could very well have 1 or 2 losses. Weird, I picked two Cy Youngs from two losing teams. Oh well.
Others Considered: Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants, Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants, Josh Johnson - Florida Marlins, Javier Vazquez - Atlanta Braves
Whether it be in Oakland or Arizona, Haren seems to go unnoticed.
AL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Ricky Romero - Toronto Blue Jays
7-3, 3.00 ERA, 69 SO, 30 BB, 1.26 WHIP, .252 BAA, 87 IP
So, who is this guy? Well, despite an injury around April (sneezing while listening to rap (blech)), Romero has been an outstanding pitcher. Yeah, you have Bailey for the A's, and Bergesen for the O's, but the "J's" (I just had to) have a guy who's stepped up when the injured birds had fallen. Not only is he winning, but he's pitching well, not giving up many runs, not walk a WHOLE BUNCH, and keeping nice control. Plus, he's helped my fantasy baseball team in the Omnipotent League a whole lot.
Others Considered: Andrew Bailey - Oakland Athletics, Brad Bergesen - Baltimore Orioles, Scott Richmond - Toronto Blue Jays, Jeff Niemann - Tampa Bay Rays
Romero has had a great rookie year so far.
NL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Randy Wells - Chicago Cubs
4-4, 2.72 ERA, 53 SO, 17 BB, 1.12 WHIP, .243 BAA, 76 IP
I apologize for the random act of biasness, but Pablo Sandoval doesn't qualify as a rookie (how sad for Kung Fu Panda). Really, it came down to two rival players, Colby Rasmus of the Cardinals and Wells for the Cubs and I went true to my heart, yes I went there. OK, if the Cubs had half the offense they did last year, I guarantee Wells would be 8-1 or 9-1 in his first 12 starts instead of the horrendous 4-4 he really is. He's got great control, not walking a whole lot of hitters, and he also trusts his defense. He's kept his ERA low, he's progressively pitching more innings for each start he takes. Besides Ted Lilly, Wells has been the most valuable to this Cubs team (jury still out on Am-Ram).
Others Considered: Colby Rasmus - St. Louis Cardinals, Casey McGehee - Milwaukee Brewers, Ramon Troncoso - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Hanson - Atlanta Braves
Wells has gotten little help from the Cubs' offense.
AL Manager of the Year
Don Wakamatsu - Seattle Mariners
46-42, 4 GB in AL West
What a job Wakamatsu has done with this Mariners team. It helps that he has Ichiro hitting all over the place, but this is a team many expected to finish dead last in the AL West and possibly be the worst team in the AL. Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Jarrod Washburn has helped prevent that, but Wakamatsu has stepped up as the Mariners manager. Look at what Russell Branyan has done, how Felix Hernandez has turned his season around, and how Ichiro came back from injury. Watch out for the M's.
Other(s) Considered: Ron Washington - Texas Rangers
NL Manager of the Year
Jim Tracy - Colorado Rockies
47-41, 9 GB in NL West
Yes I went there. It may be a little unfair to use the entire season's record for Jim Tracy, since Clint Hurdle kinda messed it up at the beginning of the year, but honestly, it's the Rockies, who cares? I'm just messing with you all, but seriously, Tracy has turned around a team heading into the cellar of that the NL West. Tracy is 29-13 since taking over for Hurdle, has helped turn around Aaron Cook and has helped make Ubaldo Jimenez a consistent pitcher. Will "Rocktober" return?
Other(s) Considered: Joe Torre - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tony La Russa - St. Louis Cardinals
AL Silver Slugger Awards
C Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
1B Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
2B Aaron Hill - Toronto Blue Jays
3B Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays
SS Jason Bartlett - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
OF Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
OF Jermaine Dye - Chicago White Sox
DH Adam Lind - Toronto Blue Jays
Wild Card: Ben Zobrist - Tampa Bay Rays (Didn't know where to honestly put him)
Others Considered: Victor Martinez - Cleveland Indians, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Paul Konerko - Chicago White Sox, Robinson Cano - New York Yankees, Scott Rolen - Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Young - Texas Rangers, Derek Jeter - New York Yankees, Juan Rivera - Los Angeles Angels, Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles, Shin-Soo Choo - Cleveland Indians, Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays, Bobby Abreu - Los Angeles Angels, Jason Kubel - Minnesota Twins
NL Silver Slugger Awards
C Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves
1B Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
2B Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
3B Pablo Sandoval - San Francisco Giants
SS Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
OF Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies
OF Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
OF Brad Hawpe - Colorado Rockies
P Micah Owings - Cincinnati Reds
Others Considered: Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Todd Helton - Colorado Rockies, Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds, Ryan Zimmerman - Washington Nationals, Mark Reynolds - Arizona Diamondbacks, Miguel Tejada - Houston Astros, Adam Dunn - Washington Nationals, Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks, Hunter Pence - Houston Astros, Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Ross - Florida Marlins, Yovani Gallardo - Milwaukee Brewers, Carlos Zambrano - Chicago Cubs
Rest of 2009 Predictions (not including records)
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
NL Wild Card
San Francisco Giants
New York Mets
Red Sox over Tigers in 4
Angels over Yankees in 4
Red Sox over Angels in 6
Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
Giants over Phillies in 5
Dodgers over Giants in 7
Dodgers over Red Sox in 7
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Any disagreements you may comment on, but no "BLAH BLAH BLAH I HAVE A LOUD COMPLAINING VOICE," OK? I have rights to be homer and will be at any cost. :) Have a good rest of the season, good luck to your team, and enjoy baseball fans.