Boy, has this season gone by fast. It feels like just yesterday the Boston Red Sox were hoisting the 2013 World Series trophy, and everyone else was waiting for the season to start again. It feels like just yesterday that Opening Day was here and that the teams were back on the field to start a new season with a clean slate. But this first half of the season has gone by fast. Really fast. Now we are at the All-Star break, and it is time to give out some "first-half awards," talk about some surprise teams, and just recap what went on during this fantastic first half of the 2014 season.
American League Awards:
MVP: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Trout can do it all. He can hit for average, hit for power, runs well, plays decent outfield, and has an average arm. He is the closest player in the major leagues to being a true five-tool guy. It's about time that the 22-year-old gets an MVP award, don't you think? Trout is having another fantastic season at the dish, posting the highest fWAR and wRC+ in the major leagues with 5.5 and 181 marks, respectively. He has a 1.005 OPS, which ranks tops in the American League. And he has a .310 average, good for 13th in the majors. If he is not the AL MVP, then who is?
Honorable Mentions: Josh Donaldson, Jose Abreu, and Miguel Cabrera
Rookie of the Year: Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
If Masahiro Tanaka had stayed healthy, it would have been a tough choice for this award. But he couldn't. The 27-year-old Abreu, right out of Cuba, was thrown into the American game of baseball and had to adjust. The adjusting part was likely the easiest for Abreu, who has taken the major leagues by storm. With 29 homers, Abreu leads the American League in bombs, and only needs 20 in the second half to tie Mark McGwire for most home runs in a rookie season. That by itself is deserving of the Rookie of the Year award, but for good measure, Abreu has a .292 batting average and a .630 (!!!) slugging percentage.
Honorable Mentions: Masahiro Tanaka and George Springer
Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners
This season, Felix has just been plain old Felix. Having perhaps the greatest season of his career, Hernandez is 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA and a 2.04 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). His 5.2 fWAR leads all pitchers, and his 2.43 xFIP ranks second to only Clayton Kershaw, who, as we all know, is a National League pitcher. The amazing thing about Hernandez is that his change-up, the pitch he uses second-most (to his sinker) holds hitters to a minuscule .157 batting average (32-for-142). If Hernandez records just eight more wins, he ties his all-time high.
Honorable Mentions: Jon Lester, David Price, and Garrett Richards
Manager of the Year: Mike Scioscia, MGR, Los Angeles Angels
Many people still question the contracts the Angels gave to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, and how they have not turned the team into a World Series contender. Well, the contracts are still bad, but the critics have to be quiet, at least for this year. The Los Angeles Angels are getting the job done in the American League West, and both Pujols and Hamilton have performed. Scioscia has managed the Angels since 2000, and he is on pace to finish with the third-highest winning percentage in his managerial career. The Angels are on pace for a record of 98-64.
Honorable Mention: Lloyd McClendon
The National League first-half awards will be announced tomorrow. Here's a teaser: Troy Tulowitzki will not win the MVP award. Be sure to check them all out!