Can you believe that we’re already over halfway through the MLB season? There’s been a slew of events taking place over the past month+ of baseball. Aroldis Chapman threw 101 at Michael Brosseau’s head, only to see Brosseau hit two HRs the next day. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto are already in the Superstar conversation before either turns 22 years old. Chicago has not only one, but two teams primed for deep October runs. And the Dodgers have posted a ho-hum .750 win percentage.
Now let's dish out some mid season individual awards:
AL Rookie of the Year : Luis Robert, OF (White Sox)
We thought about Mariners’ OF Kyle Lewis for this award, but we gave the edge to Robert given his immense power and flair for the dramatic. The Cuban-born’s initial success is far from surprising though. Robert was the Vegas odds-on favorite (+600) to win the award prior to the season but I’m not sure anyone saw the young star slugging 11 HRs in his first 36 games. He’s also swiped four bags and played an above average centerfield. If you pace his stats to a 162 game season, you’re talking about flirting with 50 HRs and 20 SBs. They love him on the southside and it’s easy to see why.
AL Cy Young : Shane Beiber, SP (Indians)
It’s Shane Beiber’s world and we’re just living in it. The Indians are right in the middle of the AL Central race even after the departure of former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and the recent trade of budding-star Mike Clevinger. You don’t have to look far to figure out why though. Their 25-year old ace has a minuscule 1.20 ERA and 84:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. We all thought Gerrit Cole in the Bronx would headline this group coming into the season, but it’s Shane Beiber’s award to lose at this point.
AL MVP : Brandon Lowe, 2B (Rays)
No, this isn’t some Skip Bayless hot take to stir the pot. Brandon Lowe has been flat out crushing American League pitching for the first half of the season. And in case you hadn’t heard, the Rays are 5 games up in the East and boast the best record in the AL. We could’ve gone with Jose Abreu of the White Sox, Nelson Cruz of the Twins, or (obviously) Mike Trout, but the Rays deserve their due credit and Brandon Lowe has been their offensive engine all year long. Oh, and as of September 1st, Lowe was the odds-on favorite at (+500) to take home the hardware.
NL Rookie of the Year : Jake Cronenworth, 2B (Padres)
It’s hard to hit .346, 16 XBH, 1.001 OPS, and be a forgotten offensive piece to a team. However, when your team has names like Tatis, Machado, Hosmer, and Myers it makes it a little easier to understand. Nonetheless, the former Michigan Wolverine middle infielder has enjoyed hitting anywhere between 6th and 8th in the potent San Diego Padres lineup. He’s also top-5 in NL WAR and continues to get on base at over a 40% clip. Get to know the name because Jake Cronenworth looks like he’s going to be around for a long time.
NL Cy Young : Yu Darvish, SP (Cubs)
He’s baaaaack! Yu Darvish’s struggles have been well-documented over the past few years. Battling ERAs in the 4’s and failing to get out of the first inning in some cases, Darvish appeared to be headed towards the end of his career. But not so fast, the 34-year old Japanese starter for the Cubbies is off to a torrid pace in 2020. He boasts a 6-1 record with a sparkling 1.47 ERA and 52 punchouts over 43 IP. If Darvish can maintain his control (only 8 walks) it’s not difficult to envision him keeping up this level of performance.
NL MVP : Fernando Tatis Jr., SS (Padres)
Initially known as the son of the only player to ever hit two grand slams in a single inning, Fernando Tatis Jr. has quickly made his own mark on the game. At just 21-years old Tatis leads a powerful Padres offense with 13 HRs, 34 RBIs, and an eye-popping 1.028 OPS. There may not be a more exciting player to watch in the game today as he hits mammoth shots into the southern California sky while displaying a smooth glove at short. Expect Tatis Jr. to be in the top-3 MVP conversation for the next decade. Absolute stud.
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Until next time, make sure to Keep it Routine.