With Major League Baseball taking the next few days off to host its annual Mid-Summer Classic, I thought now would be a good time to take a look at the first half of the season and see who the end of the year awards might be going to in the National League.
Starting with the National League MVP Award, there are several worthy candidates as no single player is running away with the award. From Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona) and Allen Craig to Yadier Molina and Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies), all four could win the award.
Goldschmidt, the D’backs first baseman, leads the NL in RBIs (77), is fourth in home runs (21), tied for fifth in hits (110), is sixth in runs scored (60) and has the ninth highest batting average (.313).
But Goldschmidt’s counterpart at first base, Craig is not too far back. Craig’s 74 RBIs are tied for second while his .327 batting average and his 112 hits are both the second highest in the NL.
Could the NL see back to back years of catcher’s winning the batting title? While it was Buster Posey last year who won the NL MVP and the NL batting title, this year’s leader at the break is Molina with a .341 average.
While Molina does not have the high home run (7) count that others have, he has the second highest amount of doubles (27) trailing teammate Matt Carpenter and Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce who each have 28. With 34 muli-thit games, only one NL player has more, Carpenter (37).
Then there is Gonzalez (Cargo), the NL home run leader with 25 long balls. Cargo is sixth in RBIs (64) and 15th in the NL with a .302 batting average. He has scored the second most runs (68) and 12th highest doubles (22) total.
Of them all, I would give my vote to Craig. He only has 10 home runs, but he is driving in runs and leading the Cardinals to victory while playing not only first base, but BOTH corner outfield positions.
The CY Young is another tough choice. From the NL leader in ERA (Clayton Kershaw) and the NL strikeout leader (Matt Harvey) to the NL’s wins leaders (Adam Wainwright and Jordan Zimmerman).
While he doesn’t have the wins his counterparts have, Kershaw (Dodgers) has been dominant. His ERA is a sparkling 1.98 over 145.1 innings of work. In addition, Kershaw (7-2) has 139 strikeouts, good for second in the NL. He is also second in complete games (3) and tied for first in shutouts (2).
Leading the NL in strikeouts in Harvey (Mets) with 147 punchouts over 130 innings while playing for one of the worst team’s in the National League.
Wainwright and Zimmerman are tied for the NL lead with 12 wins each. Wainright has gotten his wins in 20 starts while Zimmerman has 19 starts.
Page 2 of 2 - Wainwright should have at least 14 wins. In two of his last three starts, closer Edward Mujica blew saves that cost Wainwright a win.
Wainwright also has thrown four complete games and two shutouts this season, leading the NL in both categories. Wainwright has also thrown a league high 146.2 innings. And his ERA (2.35) trails only Kershaw and Jeff Locke (2.15).
Of every starting pitcher with at least 96 strikeouts, Wainwright is the ONLY starter to have NOT walked 20 or more batters. In fact, Wainwright has allowed just 15 free passes this year. Then add in every pitcher who has throw 115 innings or more and Wainwright has given up the fewest home runs (6) this season.
It’s not hard to see that my NL Cy Young vote would go to Wainwright.
The final mid-season award I have to look at is the NL Rookie of the Year and this one is tough.
Midway through the first half, it looked like Shelby Miller could run away with the award, but there are a couple of offensive players who deserve some attention as well; Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) and Evan Gattis (Braves).
Puig is batting .391 in 38 games. He has 8 home runs and 8 doubles with 19 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. However, he also has 36 strikeouts and only 7 walks in 151 at bats.
Gattis leads all rookies with 14 homers and 37 RBIs. Gattis has 41 strikeouts in 167 at bats to go with 14 free passes.
Puig has burst onto the scene and is putting on a show that every fan should be watching.
Then there is Miller and his NL rookie leading 9-6 record. Miller also leads all rookie pitchers with 112 strikeouts (in 104.2 innings of work). Miller also has the second lowest walk (29) total of all rookie pitchers (with 85 or more innings pitched). He has one complete game and one shutout. His ERA of 2.92 trails only Jose Fernandez of Miami (2.75) for the lowest among rookie pitchers with 51 or more innings thrown.
I am going with a Cardinals’ sweep and giving Miller the mid-season NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Tomorrow I will go over the American League mid-season award winners.