We’ve reached 40 games, so teams that are doing well need to be taken a tad more seriously. Trends that were viewed as passing fads gain a little more legitimacy. With that legitimacy comes awards…Which brings us to what you’ll see below.
AL MVP- Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas- He leads the AL in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, home runs and RBI’s. He leads all major league players in WAR. This is the easiest call in quite some time.
NL MVP- David Wright, 3B, NY Mets- Wright leads the NL in WAR, is batting over .400 and has an OBP over .500. That gives him the edge over Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp and Joey Votto.
AL Cy Young- Justin Verlander, Detroit- The reigning Cy Young and MVP backed up his title by leading the AL in WAR, innings, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP and complete games. Jered Weaver is hanging in this race, though.
NL Cy Young- Zack Greinke, Milwaukee- It’s an incredibly large and tight field, and any of five players could have won the award. Gio Gonzalez, Roy Halladay, Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw and Lance Lynn all have legitimate cases. But Greinke’s FIP and NL leading WAR gives him the edge.
AL Rookie- Yu Darvish, SP, Texas- You could argue that a player like Darvish isn’t really a rookie, that’s how Angel Berroa was chosen as the top AL rookie over Hideki Matsui, but I won’t be political and give it to the player that’s clearly the most deserving. Jesus Montero belongs in the conversation as well.
NL Rookie- Yonder Alonso, OF, San Diego- He has yet to develop power, but he leads all rookies in average, OBP and OPS.
AL Manager- Buck Showalter- Baltimore- He’s led a young team with a nondescript pitching staff to the best record in the AL and the best road record in the major leagues.
NL Manager- Don Mattingly- Los Angeles- The Dodgers had an ownership change and a lot of overall turmoil, but Mattingly has risen above it the LA has the best record in baseball. Mattingly deserves a lot of that credit.
AL Comeback Player- Jake Peavy, SP, Chicago- After a series of injuries, his career was left for dead. This season, he’s 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA and a WHIP under one.
NL Comeback Player- Brian LaHair, 1B, Chicago- Deemed a four-A player, too good for the minor leagues but not good enough to hack it in the bigs, LaHair has thrived this season after finally getting a chance. He’s batting .315/.415/.629 with 10 homers and is a bright spot for the Cubbies.
AL Breakout Player- Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore- Jones is developing into a legit superstar if he keeps up this kind of performance. He’s hitting .308 with a .610 slugging percentage and 14 home runs for the league leading Orioles.
NL Breakout Player- Brandon Beachy, SP, Atlanta- With Jair Jurrjens struggling, Beachy has taken his spot in the rotation and has been better than anyone would have ever imagined. He’s 5-1 with a 1.33 ERA for the Braves and could be in the Cy Young discussion if he throws enough innings.
AL Disappointing Player- Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles- $240 million and one home run? He’s certainly been the least valuable player this year and is one of the reasons why the Angels are struggling so much.
NL Disappointing Player- Ike Davis, 1B, NY Mets- The young first baseman was supposed to shine this year, but is instead is hitting .163 and has the lowest WAR of any hitter in the major leagues.
AL Surprise Team- Baltimore Orioles- Who would have expected the best record in the AL and an incredible road record? Can the Orioles keep it up?
NL Surprise Team- Los Angeles Dodgers- They sport the best record in the game and are second in the NL in run differential. Can they remain in charge in the NL West?
AL Disappointing Team- Los Angeles Angels- After signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, this was supposed to be a juggernaut in the AL West. Instead, they can’t score runs and are floundering while the Dodgers are shining up the freeway.
NL Disappointing Team- Milwaukee Brewers- The Brewers were still supposed to contend in the NL Central even with Aramis Ramirez replacing Prince Fielder, but the pitching staff has allowed the second most runs in the NL and are in fifth place in the division.