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Clubhouse Leaders: MLB Awards Edition 2017 - Midseason

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By the time you read this, the official halfway point of the Major League Baseball season will have passed; the unofficial halfway point – the All-Star Game – just a few days away.

We’ve reached the point where many hot starts have cooled and some early slumps have been busted. But there are plenty of players who got hot, stayed hot and look to continue as such.

Those are the players that we’re looking at as awards favorites at the midseason mark. They include a number of guys with plenty of hardware to their names already … as well as a young player who has played himself into a genuine phenomenon.

If the season ended today, these guys look like your winners.

AL Rookie of the Year

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees (First quarter: Judge)

This race is essentially a foregone conclusion, because while there have been a handful of rookies having solid seasons in the American League, Judge is having a year for the ages. He’s at or near the top of the league in every meaningful offensive category; heck, he’s stolen half-a-dozen bases and is playing strong defense to boot. Baltimore’s Trey Mancini, Chicago’s Matt Davidson and Andrew Benintendi in Boston are the best of the rest, but they’re also-rans. Judge wins ROY going away – and it might not be the only award he wins.

(Also noteworthy: Mancini; Benintendi; Davidson.)

NL Rookie of the Year

Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers (First quarter: Antonio Senzatela, Colorado Rockies)

What’s that you say? ANOTHER huge rookie putting up unbelievable power numbers? In a year without Judge, it’s all Bellinger all the time. Instead, we have a kid hitting a homer every 10 at-bats who’s somehow still playing second fiddle. Bellinger’s not the complete hitter that Judge has been thus far, but the power is real. Colorado’s got a couple of rookie pitchers doing OK, but otherwise the NL crop is pretty thin. No matter – Bellinger can carry the load.

(Also noteworthy: Senzatela; Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies.)

AL Cy Young

Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox (First quarter: Sale)

It’s still Chris Sale here. He’s been maybe a shade less dominant over the past few weeks, but he’s still as good as it gets in the American League; he’s leading by a mile in strikeouts and is among the leaders in ERA, WHIP, wins and whatever else you care to look at. He’s not running away with it, though; there are some really good seasons being put up in the AL. Both Kansas City’s Jason Vargas and Minnesota’s Ervin Santana continue their unlikely excellence, but Dallas Keuchel’s injury took down Sale’s biggest competition.

(Also noteworthy: Vargas; Santana; Lance McCullers, Houston Astros.)

NL Cy Young

Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals (First quarter: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers)

This might be the tightest awards race of them all. Scherzer has been outstanding thus far this season, pacing the league in strikeouts and sitting atop the leaderboard in categories like ERA and WHIP. He’s been dominating. And yet … all it will take is one small misstep to open the door for Kershaw, who is nipping at Scherzer’s heels in every category that matters. There are other good pitchers in the NL, but barring something unforeseen, they’re all pitching for the Cy Young bronze – this is a two-man arms race. And for now, Scherzer’s in the lead.

(Also noteworthy: Kershaw; Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks; Stephen Strasberg, Washington Nationals; Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals)

AL MVP

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees (First quarter: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels)

It’s unfortunate that the injury big finally bit Trout – he looked to be heading for the best season so far in an all-timer of a career. But, that has left Judge sitting largely alone at the top of the heap. His slash numbers are eye-popping; even with significant regression, it’s going to be a monster season. There are some potential competitors lurking – for instance, Houston’s got a couple of possibilities in second baseman Jose Altuve and outfielder George Springer – but it’s tough to argue against our first AL ROY/MVP combo since Ichiro Suzuki back in 2001.

(Also noteworthy: Altuve; Springer; Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays; Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians)

NL MVP

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (First quarter: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals)

There are actually a half-dozen players with legitimate claim to this spot. Goldschmidt is in the upper echelon in every offensive category, from homers to RBI to steals to all three slash stats. He’s also playing great defense at first base. Not only is Cincinnati’s Joey Votto having another exceptional season, but there are three MVP-caliber hitters in Washington alone – Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy. And that doesn’t even take into account the aforementioned Cody Bellinger. So yeah – right now, it’s Goldschmidt. Who knows who might step it up going forward?

(Also noteworthy: Harper; Zimmerman; Murphy; Votto; Bellinger; Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants)

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