With All-Star break here and the festivities over, it is now the most boring time of the year. Games start back up on Friday to kick off the second half, which means it’s time for the Midseason Awards. These awards will include Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Reliever of the Year.
National League Most Valuable Player:
Kris Bryant – This came down to Bryant or Clayton Kershaw, but it’s still tough to pick the pitcher over the position player. Bryant leads the National League in Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement while slashing .286/.384/.578 and has the ability to play third base along with all outfield positions. The ability to play multiple positions is tough to quantify, but it’s exceedingly valuable. He’s played 343.1 innings in the outfield this season and 413.2 innings in the infield. In the infield he has three defensive runs saved, but five in the outfield. He’s prime Ben Zobrist, but better on offense.
American League Most Valuable Player:
The American League is filled with great players this season, but Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson have topped all of them so far. They’ve had similar seasons, but Trout receives the first place vote by a hair. He tops Donaldson in fWAR and Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement by 0.1, they both share the same wRC+ (167), both have been good defensively, but Trout has been a better base runner. Just another 8-plus-win season for Trout. He might be a Hall of Famer by the time he’s a free agent.
National League Cy Young:
Clayton Kershaw – There’s not much to say about his season, he leads the league in RA/9, ERA, fWAR, bWAR, FIP, xFIP, FIP-, K/BB ratio. There’s no competition unless he bottoms out or is injured long enough to pitch only 150 innings or so.
American League Cy Young:
This is a tougher decision, but Danny Salazar leads the league in RA/9, bWAR, ERA+, and RE24. He doesn’t have the Fielding Independent Pitching, but he has given up the least amount of hits per nine innings and has struck out more than 10 per nine.
National League Reliever of the Year:
Kenley Jansen – Leads relievers in RA/9, has 51 strikeouts and 6 walks in 38 innings pitched. His 1.34 FIP is the best among relievers and has the best fWAR among relievers.
American League Reliever of the Year:
Andrew Miller – A possible trade candidate has been the best reliever in the AL. He is second in RA/9, second in fWAR, and is the most balanced among qualified relievers. Dellin Betances has the best peripherals, but lacks in run prevention and Brad Brach is first in run prevention, but lacks in peripherals. Miller is second in run prevention and peripherals. There’s also Zach Britton to consider, as he hasn’t even really come close to blowing a save all year and has not allowed an earned run since April 30.
NL Rookie of the Year:
Corey Seager – An easy one, he leads in all rookies in fWAR, has a .370 wOBA and 135 wRC+. He’s arguably best the best shortstop in the NL and is only a rookie.
AL Rookie of the Year:
Michael Fulmer – This was an easy one too, Mazara has struggled recently and is all the way down to a .322 wOBA and 93 wRC+. Fulmer is at 2.11 ERA and is second among all AL starters in RA/9.
NL Manager of the Year:
Bruce Bochy – His bullpen management has been awful, but mediocre talent hasn’t helped and it doesn’t take away from his way of dealing with injuries. The front office brought in more depth to help the club get through injuries, but when players like Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, and Sergio Romo go down it’s tough to keep winning. The club has the best record in baseball at the break and it’s been tough to second-guess him so far sans his bullpen decisions. The bullpen has been the 21st worst run prevention pen in baseball and has the 27th worst peripherals.
AL Manager of the Year:
Buck Showalter – He is managing a club with far less talent compared to other playoff teams, but lead the AL East. With some overachievers and good bullpen management they’re in good position for the start of the second half.