Power Rankings: NL and AL First Half Awards

Brian McCann

Brian McCann has been stellar this season.

The All-Star game is upon us, and while in actuality, the season is more than halfway through, the midsummer classic has always marked the halfway point of the season. So what better time is there to reflect on who has dominated in each league. Speculation on who will win the most coveted awards in baseball, such as the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year, will continue throughout the season. But here at the halfway point, we can see how each player is producing. These are the projected major award winners for the National and American League.

NL MVP: Brian McCann – ATL

I know that this is a bit of a dark horse, but I have long believed that the MVP should come from a winning club. With all due respect to the work of Jose Reyes and Matt Kemp, they should not win because they play for teams that are not winning. Brian McCann is the cornerstone of the Braves offense, and is solid behind the plate on a team that leads the league in ERA. He will lead the Braves to the playoffs.

NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay – PHI

I believe that the most telling stat for a pitcher is his ERA, and his WHIP is a close second. So why am I going with Halladay over players like Jair Jurrjens with his minuscule 1.87 ERA, or teammate Cole Hamels and his WHIP of 0.93? It is because when Halladay takes the mound, Fantasy Baseball Players almost expect him to be out there in the 8th inning at the very least. His 6 complete games is the highest number in the National League. He will lead the NL in innings pitched, with a stellar ERA to compliment that.

NL Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel – ATL

Could have gone with Jurrjens for Cy Young and have the Braves sweep these awards. Craig Kimbrel has been lights out. Now the all-time record holder for most saves by a rookie before the All-Star break with 28, this fireballer has been impressive. Among pitchers with over 40 innings of work this year, Kimbrel has the best strikeout ratio of 13.7 K/9. After going through a bit of a rough patch, Kimbrel looks like the stopper Atlanta groomed him to be.

AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez – BOS

With apologies to the phenomenal year that the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista is having, Adrian Gonzalez has been the guy for the Red Sox. Bautista will probably belt a few more homers than Gonzalez, but look for Gonzo to approach 150 RBIs as the season wears on. He not only puts up ridiculous numbers, but also has been the biggest reason the Red Sox are in the position that they are. Look for Gonzalez to lead the Red Sox into the postseason.

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander – DET

This looks like a two horse race between Verlander and Jered Weaver of the Angels. While Weaver has put up a stellar ERA, Verlander has been lights out all the way around. Justin Verlander has an incredible WHIP of 0.87, which is best in the league, and his 12 wins are one short of CC Sabathia’s league-leading 13. While Weaver and Sabathia will get some consideration, Verlander has been the best pitcher in the American League, and will win the Cy Young.

AL Rookie of the Year: Michael Pineda – SEA

The American League is not as stacked with rookie bats as the National League, but it does feature some good Fantasy Baseball pitching. The best is Michael Pineda, who is among league leaders, not just rookies, in wins, ERA, and WHIP. He has outpitched Felix Hernandez for the M’s. Other guys getting some consideration is the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson and the O’s Zach Britton, but neither of those guys have put up the kind of numbers Pineda has been able to produce.

Power Rankings for the NL and AL will return after the All-Star break.

 

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