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Clubhouse leaders MLB Awards Edition

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(AP photo/Paul Beaty) (AP photo/Paul Beaty)

Picking some award winners at the quarter-season mark

Major League Baseball has the longest season of any of the major professional sports leagues, with 162 games to be played before reaching the October postseason. That many games leaves room for a lot of changes to happen over the season's six-month course.

However, we've just passed the one-quarter mark. With 45-plus games in the books, a significant chunk of 2016's season is in the rearview mirror. There have been some impressive performances thus far; let's look at one man's opinion regarding who would win MLB's major individual awards if the season ended today.

(All statistics through May 22)


AL Rookie of the Year

Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers

What started as a call-up necessitated by injury has resulted in the beginnings of a very nice rookie campaign. Mazara is slashing a solid .304/.351/.457 for the season in 36 games. He has six home runs, 16 RBI and a handful of outstanding defensive plays in the outfield. It would appear that Mazara's future is now.

(Also noteworthy: Byung Ho Park, Twins.)

NL Rookie of the Year

Aledmys Diaz, St. Louis Cardinals

There are a handful of first-year guys who have made some big noise in the early going. But while he didn't arrive with the hype of some of his peers, Aledmys Diaz has been an offensive beast to start the season. His slash line is an unreal .352/.389/.599, with six homers, 23 RBI and 29 runs scored to go with it. His defense has been below-average, but with that bat, who cares? We'll see if he keeps it up.

(Also noteworthy: Trevor Story, Rockies; Corey Seager, Dodgers; Kenta Maeda, Dodgers.)

AL Cy Young

Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

This pick is no surprises to anyone who has been following baseball this season. Chris Sale has put up the best numbers of any pitcher in the American League. He's gotten the win in all nine of his starts, putting up an eye-popping 1.58 ERA and 0.72 WHIP both league-leading numbers along the way. He even ranks fifth with his 66 strikeouts in just over 68 innings pitched. He obviously can't keep this up, but he's opened up such a lead that the runners-up might have trouble catching up.

(Also noteworthy: Jose Quintana, White Sox; Danny Salazar, Indians; Steven Wright, Red Sox.)

NL Cy Young

Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs

This one might have been the most difficult call of the whole bunch. Clayton Kershaw has been phenomenal as usual, with just ridiculous numbers, but Arrieta gets the ever-so-slight nod. He's got eight wins in nine starts and leads the majors with a 1.29 ERA. He's got a 0.84 WHIP and is striking out a man per inning. He's the staff ace on a first-place team. I think Kershaw has a better chance of winning the actual award at season's end, but for now, I have him just a tick behind.

(Also noteworthy: Kershaw; Noah Syndergaard, Mets.)


Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

There are some guys Baltimore's Manny Machado, Mike Trout of the Angels, half the Red Sox lineup who could argue for this spot. And one of them will likely be hoisting aloft the trophy at season's end. But right now, you have to love the all-around excellence put forth by the diminutive second baseman. He's one of the smallest players in the bigs, but he's slashing .328/.413/.582 with nine homers and 15 steals and playing solid defense. He's already showed signs of cooling off, so he may well be overtaken soon probably by someone playing in Boston.

(Also noteworthy: Machado; Trout; David Ortiz, Red Sox; Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox; Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox; Robinson Cano, Mariners.)


Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

Three weeks ago, this would have been a no-brainer pick for Bryce Harper, but things change; the young National has been overtaken by Arenado.The do-everything third baseman for the Rockies is still just 25 years old, but he's becoming one of the game's best players. He's got an excellent line - .305/.380/.616 and he's tied for first in the league with 14 home runs. He's also second in RBI with 34 and first in runs scored with 32. He plays in every game, walks more than he strikes out and provides Gold Glove defense at the hot corner. Coors Field or not, he's the guy.

(Also noteworthy: Harper; Daniel Murphy, Nationals; Yoenis Cespedes, Mets; Dexter Fowler, Cubs; Ben Zobrist, Cubs; Ryan Braun, Brewers.)


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