We’ve passed the halfway mark for the season, but I’m going to issue my Midseason Awards. Hey, better late than never!
AL MVP Ivan Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers): Wow, what a season Pudge has had. Yes, I know that he doesn’t play for a first place team, but that shouldn’t be all that matters in this voting. At the age of 32, Pudge signed a 4-year deal with the Tigers, fresh off a World Series ring. The Tigers included many escape clauses, in case of Pudge’s balky back, but I don’t know if they want to get out of the contract right now. I-Rod has hit at a .369 clip this year with 12 homers and 59 RBIs. Not quite the greatest numbers in baseball -- well the batting average is -- but definitely something to be proud of for a catcher. Close to here: Vladimir Guerrero (Angels), Manny Ramirez (Red Sox), and Hank Blalock (Rangers).
NL MVP Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants): The name of the game is -- at least for Billy Beane -- is On Base Percentage. And Barry leads all of Major League baseball in that category with a .628 figure. Read that again: Bonds reaches base 62.8 percent of the time he comes up to bat. Whenever he is given a chance to hit, he has clubbed 24 homers -- 1/3 of his total number of hits. His batting average is a league leading .371 and his slugging percentage is right around some people’s OPS. Bonds’ OPS, well, is rather high at 1.421. Sure the Giants aren’t in first place right now, but that does not diminish anything that Bonds has done. Close to here: Scott Rolen (Cardinals), Jim Thome (Phillies), and JD Drew (Braves).
AL Cy Young Mark Mulder (Oakland Athletics): The Oakland A’s triumvirate of aces have been putting up awesome stats for a long time, so being considered for the Cy Young Award is nothing new for Mr. Mulder, but he should win it, at least in this portion of cyberspace. Selected as the starting pitcher for the American League in the All Star Game, Mulder has gone 13-2 on the year, which would be much better if not for a horrible Oakland A’s bullpen. His 3.21 ERA over 140 IP is quite nice to have as the ace of your team (no offense Huddy). Close to here: Curt Schilling (Red Sox), Pedro Martinez (Red Sox), and Tim Hudson (A’s).
NL Cy Young Jason Schmidt (San Francisco Giants): What a testament to the Giants GM ability to bring in great players, as a Giant has won my NL midseason MVP and NL midseason Cy Young. Jason Schmidt would have been a great starter for the National League, but Roger Clemens received the honor. On the year Schmidt is 12-2 after missing plenty of time with an injury. His 2.35 ERA over 130 IP is right in range with last year’s statistics. Every time this man takes the mound, the Giants fully expect to win the game, and they have every right to believe so. Some of his accomplishments include two one-hitters and a shutout of the vaunted Boston Red Sox lineup, not to mention a shutout at Coors Field last weekend. Close to here: Roger Clemens (Astros), Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks), and Ben Sheets (Brewers).
AL Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby (Oakland Athletics): Quite a testament to the A’s farm system, for producing my AL midseason Cy Young and AL midseason Rookie of the Year. This is quite a challenging year for rookies in the AL (and NL, but more on that later), as Crosby, as well as Joe Mauer and import Shingo Takatsu have broken in their Major League uniforms. After a slow start to the season, Crosby has hit .252 on the year, but with 12 homers. Not too bad from a shortstop who also provides a decent glove. His OBP could use a slight improvement, but that will come. Close to here: Joe Mauer (Twins) and Shingo Takatsu (White Sox).
NL Rookie of the Year Khalil Greene (San Diego Padres): As promised earlier this is a tight race in the NL. Several rookies are very deserving of this reward, but Greene has flashed incredible leather at short this year and with a middle name like Thabit, who could deny him? Jason Bay (Pirates) leads all NL rookies with 12 home runs, Ryan Madson (Phillies) has a near 1.00 ERA coming out of the bullpen, and Akinora Otsuka (Padres) has closed the door on many a rally in San Diego. Close to here: All three of those aforementioned players.
AL Manager of the Year Lou Pinella (Tampa Bay Devil Rays): Everyone laughed when Lou made the promise that the Devil Rays would not finish last in the American League East. Well, no one is laughing now, as the D-Rays are 3.5 ahead of the Blue Jays and four games ahead of the Orioles for the cellar. They can legitimately have a chance to continue playing .500 ball for the remainder of the season and have one of the best clubs in franchise history. Close to here: Buck Showalter (Rangers), Eric Wedge (Indians), and Alan Trammell (Tigers).
NL Manager of the Year Ned Yost (Milwaukee Brewers): Sometimes labeled as “Bobby Cox Jr.” by many high-ranked baseball minds, Yost has led the Brew Crew from extreme mediocrity (to say it nicely) to a 45-41 record, currently better than the Astros. Yost has the most of the talent he has been given, and it has been working quite well. Close to here: Bobby Cox (Braves), Tony LaRussa (Cardinals), Dusty Baker (Cubs), and Bruce Bochy (Padres).
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