Yesterday Tim did his article on the AL mid-season awards. He covered the Cy Young, rookie of the year, comeback player of the year and the manager of the year. Today I will be doing the same thing but for the National League.
Most Valuable Player: Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
This was a tough decision but ultimately went with all-star first baseman Joey Votto. Votto has been absolutely unreal this season. His .268 ISO is second best in the NL, only behind Ryan Braun‘s .296 mark. He gets the edge over the likes of David Wright and Michael Bourn because his 186 wRC+ is the best in the National League. I almost went with David Wright but like I said Votto has the advantage in both wOBA and wRC+.
Other Candidates: Andrew McCutchen, Michael Bourn
Cy Young: Zack Greinke – Milwaukee Brewers
This was a tough choice but I ultimately went with Zack Greinke. Greinke has been absolutely dominant this season. He’s struck out 24% of all the batters that he’s faced while walking only 5%. His 2.35 FIP is the best in the NL. He’s also done an excellent job at preventing the long ball. His HR/9 is only .41, overall that ranks third in the NL. R.A. Dickey also has a very strong argument when it comes to the Cy Young award and so do a couple of Washington National starters. You can’t go wrong with the top 5 pitchers but I just felt like Greinke was the most deserving based on the first half.
Rookie of the Mid-Season: Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper is my pick here because not only is he producing ,but he’s doing it at an extremely young age. He’s only 19 years old and is showing plus power while also showing good plate discipline. His .360 wOBA is tied for third among rookies and his wRC+ is third. Offensively Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier have also had very solid rookie years. On the pitching side Wade Miley and Lance Lynn have also shown solid results in their rookie year.
Other Candidates: Norichika Aoki, Todd Frazier, Wade Miley
Comeback Player of the Year: Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals
After being selected number one overall in the 2009 draft Stephen Strasburg was supposed to be the one that revitalized the Washington Nationals. After only eleven starts in the minors he made his major league debut in June of 2010 and was unstoppable. Unfortunately he got injured in August and required Tommy John surgery. He pitched in five games last season and looked as good as before. This year he appears to be fully healed and has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. His 2.50 FIP ranks second in the NL and his 32.2 K% ranks first. His first half accomplishments make him the mid-season NL comeback player of the year.
Other candidates: Josh Johnson, David Wright
Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle – Pittsburgh Pirates
Clint Hurdle’s club is surprising in first place as we head into the All-Star break. Their 48-37 record is better than the Cincinnati Reds and reigning world series champions St. Louis Cardinals. Going into the break I never would have seen this coming and Hurdle deserves a lot of credit. Their offense is led by MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen and their pitching is led by James McDonald. It will be interesting to see how the Pirates do as the year progresses.