Ok its time to award hitters and pitchers for either greatness or mediocrity. Lets start with the good stuff.
AL Midseason Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays
I'm sorry, but there is no disputing such a choice. Halladay has gone right back to the form he displayed when he won the AL Cy Young two years ago. Before getting hurt with a line drive just before the break, Halladay was leading the AL with a 2.41 ERA, second with a 12-4 record and a .225 OBA and first with a .96 WHIP, five complete games, and 141 and 2/3 innings pitched. Those are all signs of dominance, which Halladay certainly
has certainly done so far this year. As Twins fans, its hard to forget his two-hit shutout of the Twins this year in which our hitters could barely scrape a hard line-drive off of him. You can make an argument for Mark Buerhle or Jon Garland of the White Sox, but neither of those guys have dominated AL hitters the way Halladay has or have taken team pitching leadership like Halladay.
AL Midseason MVP: Miguel Tejeda, Baltimore Orioles
Vladimir Guerrero may well by the MVP at the end of the season and he certainly tore up the league upon his return in June, hitting .440 and helping the Angels secure a good five game lead in the AL West. However, since the Orioles have been such a big story as the have jumped into contention this season, its hard to ignore their two MVP candidates, Brian Roberts and Tejeda, for midseason awards. Roberts is a legitimate case, as he is second in the league with a 1.007 OPS and a .416 OBP, first with a .345 average, and third with a .591 slugging percentage. For a leadoff man, those are some phenomonal, Henderson-esque numbers. However, Tejeda is the natural team-leader and the team's producer. He is among league leaders in all categories, with a .329 average, 19 HRs, and 62 RBIs. He leads the league in slugging with a .604 percentage, but it is his leadership and great defense that puts him above. You have to give Tejeda a lot of credit for where the Orioles are now, with a 47-40 record and second place in the AL East with a legitimate shot at the division title or the wild card. For that reason, Tejeda is the midseason MVP.
NL Midseason Cy Young: Roger Clemens, Houston Astros
Ignore Clemens' 7-3 record completely and just imagine he pitches for the Cardinals. Its pretty much guaranteed his record would probably be 13-2 or so. The Astros have given him 3.91 runs a game, nothing exactly to jump about. Clemens has given up one run on the road this year and that was a solo home run at, you guessed it, Coors Field. His dominance has been matched by only two people in the last fifty years up to the half way point, both Hall of Famers in Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale. His 1.48 ERA is incredible considering he is a month from 43 and that isnt his only point of dominance. He also has 112 Ks and a amazing .95 WHIP and .188 opponent batting average. The Cy Young is awarded to the most dominant pitcher in the league and there is no way to pass up Clemens. What he has done so far is likely beyond most fans minds. Its just another step in one of the greatest pitching careers ever.
NL Midseason MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Yes, Derrek Lee has had an amazing first half in which he has almost lead in the all three Triple Crown categories. However, that does not make Lee the MVP. MVP usually goes to the best player who leads his team to the playoffs; in other words, to the leader of a good or great team. Lee is unfortunate to play for the Cubs who have been a huge flop this year. He may still get the vote depending on how he finishes, but Pujols deserves based on this year and his last few years in which he has had to take a backseat to Barry Bonds. Pujols is right behind Lee in those offensive categories. He has a .337 average, 22 HRs, 69 RBIs, 1.017 OPS, .423 OBP, .594 slugging, and only 36 strikeouts. Basically, he has continue to put up the same kinds of Hall-of-Fame numbers he has since entering the league in 2001 and having the best rookie season ever. Lee is a deserving guy, but he falls under the same category as a guy like Todd Helton in 2000 with his .372 average and plenty of homers and RBIs to boot. He is playing for a poor team and having a great year. A-Rod got the MVP doing that in 2003, so its hard to know what will happen, but for me, Pujols is the MVP.
And the bad awards:
AL Cy-Yuk: Jose Lima, Kansas City Royals
I believe we actually lost to this guy and that's rather embarrassing because he's been terrible this year. Take a breather Hideo Nomo; this guy is a little worse. With a 2-7 record and a hideous 7.33 ERA, Lima has looked an awful lot like he was in 2000, when he blew up with the Astros and allowed 44 HRs. This year has been much of the same, as Lima has allowed 20 HRs and 121 hits in 93 and 1/3 innings, which amounts to .311 opponent batting average. You'd like to give this to his teammate Zack Greinke, who has an 1-11 record, but you actually feel bad for Greinke because he is so young and has so much talent. Baltimore's Sidney Ponson may be worse too, but only because he was signed on to be a ace and he has been inconsistent and essentially a batting practice pitcher, as he has given up 145 hits in 107 innings.
AL LVP: Sammy Sosa, Baltimore Orioles
Aaron Boone has been pretty bad, but he didn't come in with the expectations that Sosa did. To be fair in the last discussion, Ponson was so bad last year how could you expect improvement? At least Lima had a decent year with the Dodgers. Anyways, Sosa came in to Baltimore via a trade and has since fallen in the batting order to sixth, as he has displayed none of the great ower he had throughout his career. He is hitting .225 with only 9 HRs and 27 RBIs. As good as Tejeda has been, Sosa is the opposite. He isn't getting on base, he isn't showing consistent power, and he has been more or less a deterrent to the success of the Orioles.
NL Cy Yuk: Eric Milton, Cincinnati Reds
Joe Kennedy has been pretty bad too, but Milton has been beyond a batting practice pitcher. He has made, as Jayson Stark put it, every NL hitter look like Albert Pujols. The 29 HRs he has allowed put him in line to give up 53 this year, which would break Bert Blyleven's 50 HR record and put him in that "exclusive" club of gopherball pitchers. Needless to say, after signing a nice contract in the offseason, the Reds almost got what they should have expected: A guy who gives up lots of home runs in a hitter's park probably will get only worse. And he's done that. A 6.92 ERA, 4-10 record, 138 hits in 106 and 2/3 innings, and of course the home runs are all part of Milton's terrible year so far. It just begs the question to all: Why Cincinnati?
NL LVP: Christian Guzman, Washington Nationals
Hmmm another former Twin, let go amid protest and what is the result? They only get worse. Of course, Rogers was a flop and should have been kept on, but Milton and Guzman and others, like LaTrouble Hawkins, haven't found much comfort outside of the Twin Cities. Amidst the National's great first half in which they have surprised everyone with 50 wins, much like the White Sox, Guzman has been an enigma. After signing a big four year contract, he has been the worst hitter in the majors. All his stats are well below .300. A .201 average, a horrendous .239 OBP, and a .291 slugging percentage. Guzman has had a total of 13 extra-base hits this year. Needless to say, a lot like with Rivas, I am wondering with Guzman still has a job? Granted he is hurt right now, but it seems he can only hold the Nationals back from a great opening season.
Those are the awards so far. Stay tuned for Nick Nelson's and of course, I hope for much feedback. Enjoy!