With the 2015 season approaching the final quarter of the season, the Chicago Cubs are not only contending for a playoff spot in the National League, but they are also contending for several individual awards in the process. Of the four major individual awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year,) the Cubs have a legitimate contender for each piece of hardware this season. It has been seven years since a member of the Cubs won an individual award, but could Chicago potentially sweep the awards season this year?
For the MVP Award, Anthony Rizzo has put the Cubs on his back and is the leader of the resurgence. Rizzo is the face of the Cubs, shows no fear of high leverage situations, and has turned himself into a premier hitter in the National League. Rizzo is a two-time All-Star, and his one-time weakness — hitting left-handed pitching — has now become a strength.
Kris Bryant has seemingly won every award imaginable going back to his college days. The All-Star slugger is now a contender for the NL Rookie of the Year Award this season. Bryant continues to supply power, and is certainly enjoying the summer jet stream that passes above Wrigley Field. However, with the way Kyle Schwarber has been crushing the ball and providing a spark for this Cubs team, Bryant may have some friendly competition come award time. Schwarber would be a more viable contender had he spent the entire season with the big club.
Lately, the NL Cy Young has been dominated by Clayton Kershaw. In 2015, a fresh face may be able to pry the award away. Jake Arrieta continues to turn in quality start after quality start, and has become the ace and stopper of the Cubs’ staff. As the season closes, Arrieta will be setting personal bests in every major category, and is certainly Cy Young caliber.
Finally, the Manager of the Year discussion has to include Joe Maddon. The beautiful mind has been working his magic both literally and figuratively since day one. Maddon has this young team winning ahead of schedule and the results are adding up to a possible playoff bid in year one.
Chicago has had 10 MVP winners in their history with the last being Sammy Sosa in 1998. There have been five career Rookie of the Years for the Cubs with the last being Geovany Soto in 2008. Chicago has seen four career Cy Young winners with the last being Greg Maddux in 1992. Finally, of the three career Managers of the Year, the last was Sweet Lou Piniella in 2008. Each of those lists are in need of some updating, and the Cubs may very well do that at the end of this season.