Believe it or not, we're at the halfway point already. Who are this season's first-half award-winners? You can read over my choices below, and vote in the "First-Half Award Winners" poll on the right.
NL MVP - the candidates:
Yean Carlos Gonzalez (AUS) is a triple crown-winner at Game 80, with a stunning .353/32/77. He also leads by a wide margin in runs created and RC/27.
Rick Black (SYR) is right behind Gonzalez in average and RBI (.350/23/74). With 121 hits through Game 80, he has a shot at the all-time single-season hits record (235, set by HOF'er Sidney Fabregas back in Season 8).
John Small (AUS) is having another excellent all-round season at .333/19/42, with a .423 OBP (2nd to Gonzalez).
Juan Aramboles (IA) just keeps rolling. In the first half of his age-34 year, all he's done is hit .346/24/62, and is 2nd in the NL in OPS.
Bob Tucker (TEX) edges out Carlos Valdivia, Saul Pinzon, Omir Stowers, and Armando Encarnacion for the 5th spot on the ballot. His .329/21/58 first half is a nice bounce-back from last season.
And the first half NL MVP is: Gonzalez by a mile
NL Cy Young - the candidates:
Willie Tepera (AUS) leads the NL in BA allowed, OPS allowed, WHIP and ERA, and is 2nd in Slugging% allowed; and has 8 wins in his 16 starts. Dominant breakout season.
Rabbit Fried (BUF) leads the league with 12 wins and is 2nd in ERA at 2.23. He's in the top 2-7 in the other qualitative stats - very impressive for a pitcher who leads the league in innings pitched.
Johnny Gardner (CHA) is 3rd in ERA and ranks very well in the other qualitatives. In fact, he's first in Slugging % allowed at .300.
Kirk Marks (CH1) has only 1 loss to 9 wins, and has a 2.75 ERA while pitching the 2nd-most innings of all NLers.
Diory Diaz (SAL) secures the 5th spot with his excellent qualitatives record - 4th in OBP-A, 3rd in Slugging %-A, 3rd in WHIP, 4th in ERA.
And the first half NL CY is: Tepera narrowly over Fried
AL MVP - the candidates
Jin-Chi Itou (LV) still leads the AL in HR's (23) and is 2nd in OPS (.983) in a down year. Pretty far down the list in RC (7th) but 4th in RC/27.
Kelvim Hasegawa (WAS) leads the AL in RBI (68) and stolen bases (30, in 30 attempts), while running 2nd in runs created. Big defensive contribution with a .973 fielding % and 4 + plays, even though he appears to not have a 3B arm.
David Simmons (NAS) might not have the durability to make the final ballot, but his league-leading .340 BA, along with 19 HR's and 54 RBI, gets him a spot on our first-half ballot. #2 in RC/27.
Dante Kawasaki (NO) leads the AL in hits and runs created, and is 4th in OPS and 3rd in RC/27. Biggest defensive contributor on the ballot, with a .989 fielding % and 2 + plays at 2B.
Trenidad Durazo (IND) edges out a host of other contenders - Nick Green, Jenry Zumaya, Jamie Osborne, Darren Walton, Dayan Franco - who have comparable offensive numbers but not the defensive chops. His .290/19/59 is good for 7th in OPS (.918), 5th in RC and 8th in RC/27. And with 10 + plays he's in the running for 3B Gold Glove.
And the first half AL MVP is: I think I could be a homer and go with Kawasaki, but I'll vote for Hasegawa. Looking like a tight, interesting race, though.
AL CY - the candidates
Sam Stock (NO) leads the AL in OBP-A (.252) and WHIP (0.97) despite having a relatively poor year. Only 2 losses in 17 decisions despite a career-high (so far) .342 Slugging%-A.
George Camili (IND) leads in innings pitched (142) and has very good qualitatives (1st in BA-A, 2nd in OBP-A, 3rd in Slugging % - A, 2nd in WHIP...you'd think his ERA would be better than 3.04).
Bralin Kohn (PHI) sports an impressive 1.78 ERA (1st) and also leads the league in Slugging % -A (.290). A touch of wildness (38 walks in 91 innings) hurts a bit, and he may not get enough wins to make the end-of-year ballot, but he's been dominant so far.
Joe Johnson (IND) has 7 wins, a 2.44 ERA (3rd) and is top-5 in the other quality stats. Could end up being 1 of 3 (or even 4) Indy arms on the final Cy Young ticket.
Julio Cano (IND) has 7 wins and a 2.74 ERA as a 22-yo. Solid in the other quality stats. This spot could have just a easily gone to Indy's 4th standout, Wily Osoria.
And the first half AL Cy Young is: Camili. Neither Stock nor Kohn is clearly out-pitching him, and he's rolling up a mountain of innings pitched.