MLB 2013 First-Half Awards

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera
Jun 30 2013 St Petersburg FL USA Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera 24 at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Detroit Tigers 3 1 Mandatory Credit Kim Klement USA TODAY Sports

With the first half in the books, the SJN MLB crew have submitted their ballots and are ready to give away the most prestigious prize that can be awarded to any athlete – an SJN First-Half Award.

Let’s take a look at who has impressed the acute eyes of the SJN crew enough over the first 80-some games to walk away with a Halfie.

American League MVP:

Miguel Cabrera: Like the Cabrera-Mike Trout debate last year, this is only a two-person race. This time, it’s with Chris Davis. I’m inclined to go with Davis because he’s on pace for 60 home runs and he means so much to the Orioles. But it’s so hard to vote against Cabrera. He’s having an even better season than last year when he won the Triple Crown. These two will be fun to watch the rest of the season. — Tony Consiglio

Miguel Cabrera: Cabrera gets by Chris Davis for now based on the fact that he could win his second straight Triple Crown and is on pace for an even bigger season than last year. — Anson Whaley

Miguel Cabrera: Mike Trout might supplant him by season’s end because of some weird sportswriters’ politics but Miggy has the better plate discipline, higher OPS, and batting average.  He is literally the best pure hitter in all of baseball right now and he should be rewarded for it. — Felipe Melecio

Miguel Cabrera: There’s no getting around it, Miggy has this baseball thing figured out. He ranks first in the AL in RBI (82), runs (64), hits (118), batting (.369), on-base (.456), and offensive WAR (5.7). He’s second only to Chris Davis in homers and I think he surpasses him in the second half, en route to a second straight Triple Crown. — Igor Derysh

National League MVP:

Paul Goldschmidt: This is a more wide open race than in the American League, but I love what Goldschmidt has done this year in Arizona. His 69 RBI lead the National League, his 20 home runs are tied for third, and he’s also hitting .305. His 4.2 WAR is also third-best in the N.L. — Tony Consiglio

Paul Goldschmidt: I’m not sure that Goldschmidt winds up here by the end of the season, but it’s hard not to pick him at the midway point ranking third in home runs and leading the league in RBI while batting over .300 for the first-place Diamondbacks. — Anson Whaley

Paul Goldschmidt: This one is a very close race.  Carlos Gonzalez would be the sexy choice, but his plate discipline might cost him in the end.  Joey Votto might be the best hitter in the NL, but his counting stats won’t wow voters.  David Wright is having a solid year, but he’s playing for the Mets.  So for now, darkhorse Paul Goldschmidt is my pick.  He’s been a consistently productive hitter so far and can steal a few bases.  I don’t expect him to win as the NL is wide open and guys like Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey can still be a threat. — Felipe Melecio

Carlos Gonzalez: CarGo may have nine less RBI than Paul Goldschmidt but he leads him in home runs (22), runs (63), OPS (.967), steals (15), doubles (20), and obviously triples (6). He also has nine outfield assists this season and is an elite defender at a much harder position than Goldy’s. Goldschmidt may be able to sustain his production better in the second half but CarGo gets the first half honors. — Igor Derysh

American League Cy Young:

Max Scherzer: We’re halfway through the season and he’s yet to lose. His ERA is barely above three, his WHIP is below one, and he averages more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Scherzer has the edge for now. — Tony Consiglio

Max Scherzer: With all due respect to Bartolo Colon, the award is Scherzer’s to lose. He’s a perfect 12-0 so far and second in the league in strikeouts with an ERA just over 3.00. — Anson Whaley

Max Scherzer: Yu Darvish kicked off the year by almost getting a no-hitter and Justin Masterson’s fulfilling his potential in Cleveland are great stories, but the most dominant starting pitcher resides in Detroit—Max Scherzer.  Like Darvish, he’s striking out hitters at a rapid race, but he has done a much better job controlling walks this season and has a better WHIP than Darvish.  It might be a two-horse race, with Felix Hernandez and even Justin Verlander making some noise late in the year. — Felipe Melecio

Clay Buchholz: Cy Young voters love wins and baseball writers love strikeouts but I love ERA and I’m giving the Halfie to Clay Buchholz over Max Scherzer. While Scherzer is 12-0, Buchholz was a comparable 9-0 before being slowed by an injury a couple of weeks ago. Buchholz has a much better ERA (1.71 to 3.10), a better pitcher WAR (4.0 to 3.3), and a better HR/9 (0.2 to 0.9). Buchholz has also given up more than two runs just once this year while Scherzer has given up more than two runs five times. — Igor Derysh

National League Cy Young:

Matt Harvey:  This kid should give the Mets some hope. He has the league’s best ERA, lowest WHIP, and most strikeouts and has still managed seven wins even pitching for the Mets. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in all but two of his 16 starts. Tony Consiglio

Adam Wainwright: Way too many candidates here at this point of the year, but if I had to take a shot, I’ll go with Adam Wainwright. Jordan Zimmerman‘s right there, though, and if you asked me again in five minutes, I might go with him. Young guns Matt Harvey and Jeff Locke could contend, but they’re currently four wins behind Wainwright. — Anson Whaley

Adam Wainwright: He’s put on a pitching clinic all year for the best organization in baseball.  Individually speaking, it’s a really close race with Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, and Matt Harvey with guys like Madison Bumgarner, Lance Lynn, and Patrick Corbin on the outside looking in, but Cy Young winners get bonus points for impact on team and Wainwright would be the guy right now. — Felipe Melecio

Matt Harvey: Again, typical win-centric Cy Young logic would make you lean towards Jordan Zimmerman or Adam Wainwright but no one has dominated opposing hitters more than Harvey and his terrible supporting staff shouldn’t be held against him. Harvey leads the NL with a 2.00 ERA, 0.855 WHIP, 132 K, 10.2 K/9, 5.8 H/9, and a 4.6 pitcher WAR – all considerably better than the admittedly stiff NL competition. — Igor Derysh

American League Rookie of the Year:

Jose Iglesias: The fact that he’s hitting .409/.455/.530 is impressive in itself. But when you consider he was just a .257/.307/.314 hitter over four minor league seasons, it’s incredible. He also plays stellar defense. I’m not sure he’ll hit even close to this the rest of the season, so look for Wil Myers to make a run for the award as he gets more playing time at the Major League level. — Tony Consiglio

Jose Iglesias: A rookie batting over .400 and leading all AL rookies in average, hits, OPS, and slugging percentage? Pretty easy call in my opinion. — Anson Whaley

Leonys Martin: Weak year for AL rookies so far.  By default, I have to go with Leonys Martin for being a versatile defender and having a decent batting average.  However, we’ll see if guys like Nick Franklin and Wil Myers will explode in the second half. — Felipe Melecio

Jose Iglesias: It’s a sad state of affairs when a bench player with a 132 AB is the obvious choice for ROY but so is the case with the American League rookie class. You can’t knock Iglesias, despite playing in limited at-bats he ranks 19th among all AL hitters in WAR with a 2.1. He also owns an impressive .409/.455/.530 line with 12 XBH, 9 RBI, and 23 R. I fully expect someone like Wil Myers or Nick Franklin to make a serious run at this award in the second half but for now the Halfie belongs to Jose. Igor Derysh

National League Rookie of the Year:

Yasiel Puig: To me, this is a no-brainer. I’ve been on the Yasiel train since he was called up. He has an insane 1.180 OPS, great all-around numbers, and has brought excitement back to Dodger baseball. If there is a threat to Puig winning this award, it would probably be Jose Fernandez, who has been putting up some great numbers on the mound in Miami. — Tony Consiglio

Yasiel Puig: This one is based on projecting out into the future a bit since if voting ended today, he potentially falls short. But by the end of the season, I think his numbers will be more impressive than those of Cardinals’ pitcher Shelby Miller or Braves’ catcher Evan Gattis. — Anson Whaley

Yasiel Puig: Like MVP, this one is wide open. Shelby Miller will probably be a consensus pick, but my vote is Yasiel Puig for almost single-handedly turning around the Dodgers. Others to consider are Jose Fernandez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and a healthy Jedd Gyorko, but this could be a two-man race between Puig and Miller. — Felipe Melecio

Shelby Miller: Yasiel Puig is certainly the most exciting rookie of the year and will certainly make a serious run at ROY in the second half but with him having played just a month, you have to go Shelby Miller. The 22-year-old is 8-6 with a 2.79 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 9.7 K/2.1 BB. Jose Fernandez and Hyun-Jin Ryu are both a very close second and third place. — Igor Derysh

American League Manager of the Year:

John Farrell: Before the season, very few people, if any, thought the Red Sox would be leading one of the toughest divisions in baseball at the midway point. After an overhauling of the roster and avoiding any real superstars, Red Sox management deserves some awards. This is one. — Tony Consiglio

Ron Washington: Despite losing Josh Hamilton and starting two rookie pitchers in the rotation, Washington still has the Rangers in first place. — Anson Whaley

John Farrell: I’m going John Farrell for actually living up to expectations stemming from the offseason.  He was heralded as a guy that can turn around a pitching staff and he has done so.  If the Red Sox can win the Division outright, I don’t see why Farrell can’t win this award.  Other contenders: Terry Francona and Bob Melvin. — Felipe Melecio

Terry Francona: I don’t think anyone expected the Indians to be ahead of the Tigers at any point this season but the fact that Cleveland has a half-game lead in the AL Central is a testament to the managerial prowess of the former Red Sox skipper. Even as much hyped off-season acquisitions like Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Drew Stubbs continue to struggle, the Indians still rank fourth in the AL in runs, fifth in homers, and fourth in OPS. Their pitching remains among the worst in the league but even there, I don’t think anyone would have gotten more out of the likes of Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, and Corey Kluber than Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway. — Igor Derysh

National League Manager of the Year:

Clint Hurdle: The Pirates showed signs of promise last year before ultimately fading down the stretch. This year, they’re the best team in baseball. Hurdle has done a great job leading his club back to prominence. — Tony Consiglio

Clint Hurdle: Hurdle will win in a landslide over Kirk Gibson, Mike Matheny, or Walt Weiss if the Pirates make the playoffs this year. If not, he still might win if they’re close. — Anson Whaley

Clint Hurdle: I’m not even hesitating—it’s Clint Hurdle!  This might be the year that the Pirates finally get over the hump and once again, they’re winning despite not having that much talent.  The pitching staff is what’s carrying that team with all the strikeouts. Something not expected at the beginning of the year.  If the Pirates falter again, then guys like Mike Matheny, Walt Weiss, Kirk Gibson and even Dusty Baker might get a jump at dethroning Hurdle. — Felipe Melecio

Clint Hurdle: No need to make an argument here, Hurdle has done something special with one of the perennially worst teams in the league. In three years since Hurdle arrived in Pittsburgh, the Bucs have improved from .444 ball in 2011 to .488 last season to a ridiculous .630 this season. With the league’s best ERA and an improving offense, look for the Pirates to be a legit contender this year and beyond. — Igor Derysh

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Igor Derysh
Igor Derysh is Editor-at-Large at XN Sports and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, and FantasyPros. He has previously covered sports for COED Magazine, Fantasy Alarm, and !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

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