As the 2011 All Star Game is just under two weeks away, many baseball teams are approaching their midseason point, which means that it’s time for the 2011 midseason awards.
AL MVP – Adrian Gonzalez, Boston
An argument can be made for Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, or even Curtis Granderson, but Gonzalez is the most deserving of this award. Gonzalez has shown why the Red Sox invested so much money into him by leading the league in hits, batting average, doubles and total bases. Add the fact that the Red Sox appear to be true title contenders and Gonzalez is the total package for Boston.
AL Cy Young Award – Justin Verlander, Detroit
Outside of Angels P Jared Weaver, Verlander did not have much competition for this award. Verlander is either tied for or leads the American League in wins, strikeouts, innings, WHIP and winning percentage. Throw in the no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this year and Verlander is very deserving of the AL Cy Young Award.
AL Rookie of the Year – Michael Pineda, Seattle
This pick may have been the easiest one to make, as Pineda has been the only true dominant rookie in the American League so far this year. Despite being the seventh-youngest player in all of baseball, Pineda is fifth in the American League in ERA and ninth in strikeout to walk ratio. On top of the impressive stats is the fact that the Mariners appear to be true contenders in the AL West, and could very well be playing baseball in October.
AL Manager of the Year – Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay
Perhaps no team in the MLB has had a more impressive season than the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite losing key players such as Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, and Manny Ramirez, the Rays have a 45-35 record, which is only good for third place in the competitive AL East, but would be the best record in three other divisions. The man behind this impressive season has been manager Joe Maddon, who has been able to put all of the roster changes aside and still field a competitive team each game.
NL MVP – Matt Kemp, Los Angeles
The common pick for this award in the National League would be either Prince Fielder or Jose Reyes. However, no player has been more valuable to his respective team so far this year than Matt Kemp. At the end of last season, many fans and analysts questioned Kemp’s love and effort for the game. But through the first 81 games this season, Kemp has silenced the critics, as he his been the only true bright spot for a franchise that is in the daily headlines for all the wrong reasons. Kemp leads the National League in several major hitting stats, including home runs, slugging percentage, and OPS (22, .630, 1.047 respectively).
NL Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
Roy Halladay has been once again that he is the most dominant pitcher in baseball right now. Halladay currently has a career-best strikeout to walk ratio of 7.69. “Doc” also leads the National League in wins, complete game, innings, and walks per nine innings, which is one of the reasons why the Philadelphia Phillies have the best record in baseball at 50-30.
NL Rookie of the Year – Danny Espinosa, Washington
Nationals 2B Danny Espinosa has been flying a bit under the radar so far this season, but he deserves the attention. With 15 home runs so far this season, Espinosa is on pace to have a 30 HR season, which is unheard of for a rookie second baseman. He also has a .800 OPS, which is also above average for a second baseman. If the Nationals continue their success, Espinosa will run away with this award at the end of the season.
NL Manager of the Year – Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh
The popular pick for this award would be Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson. However, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has done the most with the least in all of baseball. Outside of center fielder Andrew McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates do not have any standout players on their team. Despite that fact, the Pirates have exceeded expectations and are currently 40-38, which puts them on pace to have a winning season for the first time since 1992.