With the All-Star game behind us, the unofficial halfway mark of the Major League Baseball season has passed. The first half of the year was exciting and intriguing – new faces have emerged as the stars of the league, while some old faces struggle. What does the second half of the season have in store for us? Well, here’s what I think:
American League MVP
At this point, this is a two-horse race. Josh Hamilton has cooled of a bit from his torrid start but he still leads the league in homers (as of 7/20). But the MVP should go to the best all-around player and that right now is Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Trout, a rookie, leads the league in batting average by over 20 points and has an AL-best 30 steals. He has shown glimpses of immense power and has proven himself to be an elite defender out in center field. It will be no easy task for this youngster to keep up the pace in the second half, but right now I don’t see this award going to anyone else.
National League MVP
For now, I am going to pick Andrew McCutchen because without him, his Pirates wouldn’t be close to the top of the NL Central. McCutchen has 22 bombs and is leading the majors in batting average. Like Trout, he possesses an incredible all around game when you factor in his speed and defense. If the Reds’ Joey Votto can come back from his injury and pick up where he left off, look for him to make a run at the MVP.
American League Cy Young
Right now, the most dominant pitcher in the AL is the Angels’ Jared Weaver. He is top-five in the league in wins and ERA (sub 2.3). But the most telling statistic for Weaver is his losses, or should I say loss because he only has one. Opponents batting against Weaver are barely peaking over the Mendoza line at .202. He has been nothing short of dominant in the first half.
National League Cy Young
The story of the year in the MLB has been R.A. Dickey and with good reason. The knuckleballer has posted a 13-1 record thus far for the surging Mets. Dickey overcame a severe arm injury and abuse as a child just to be in this position. But he’s not just a great story; he’s the real deal. His knuckleball is unique because it travels so much faster than a normal knuckleball with the same unpredictable motion pattern. It seems as if Dickey has found the winning formula.
American League Pennant
I hate to say it, but it’s looking like another Yankees World Series birth. They are just too good. They have a Major League best 57 wins. Their lineup is sheer torture for opposing pitchers; there’s no batter that’s an easy out. Plus, they’re getting solid pitching from C.C. Sabathia and company. They have the money to add another piece, whether it’s pitching or hitting, in the second half. Love it or hate it, the Yanks are poised for a big-time postseason run.
National League Pennant
The Nationals have the best record in the NL right now and they may very well be the most exciting team to watch in all of baseball. But they are extremely young and I think they are still a year or two away from really breaking through. With that said, I really like the Giants to represent the NL in the World Series. They have an experienced pitching staff and a lineup full of timely hitters. There is an entire half season of ball to be played, but the Giants are my gut feeling right now.
And the winner is….
The Yankees. Damnit.