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Clubhouse leaders MLB Awards Edition (Third Quarter)

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Clubhouse leaders  MLB Awards Edition (Third Quarter) (AP file photo)

By the time you read this, the Major League Baseball season will be three-quarters complete. There will be a scant 40ish games left as teams go into the home stretch, battling it out for postseason spots or playing out the string and dreaming of next year's glories.

The awards races have really started to solidify, with the various contenders having spent some 120 games assembling their respective cases. Some of the early picks have fallen by the wayside, overtaken by players finding their elite footing. Others have held strong throughout, proving that their early season showings were no fluke.

Here are some thoughts on who would take home the hardware if today marked the season's end.

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AL Rookie of the Year

Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers (Previous: Fulmer)

Fulmer just barely holds onto this spot this time around despite leading all AL rookies in wins and strikeouts and sitting among the overall ERA leaders. He's been really good, but it ultimately might not be enough to hold off the charge of Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin, who has batted over .300 with some pop while playing excellent defense. Fulmer's still ahead, but perhaps not for long.

(Also noteworthy: Naquin; Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals; Nomar Mazara, Rangers; Hyun Soo Kim, Orioles)

NL Rookie of the Year

Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous: Seager)

In most years, a season like Seager is having would make for a no-brainer ROY pick; he's batting over .300 with over 20 homers while playing a vital defensive position. But he's not the only young infielder blowing up Colorado's Trevor Story has blasted 27 home runs and sports an OPS over .900, while Aledmys Diaz is posting great numbers with the Cardinals. Still, the nod has to go to Seager.

(Also noteworthy: Story; Diaz; Kenta Maeda, Dodgers)

AL Cy Young Award

Cory Kluber, Cleveland Indians (Previous: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox)

Really, I could have kept Sale in this spot and it would have been fine his numbers continue to be good but Kluber's numbers (particularly his peripherals) have crept past Sale's and put him in the driver's seat here. A dozen wins, over 150 strikeouts, a top-10 ERA Kluber's as good a pick as any. It's a muddled picture, with a good half-dozen legitimate contenders (I almost talked myself into Boston's Steven Wright here, homerism be damned) for the crown. It's anybody's award to win at this point.

(Also noteworthy: Sale; Wright; Cole Hamels, Rangers; J.A. Happ, Blue Jays; Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays; Rick Porcello, Red Sox)

NL Cy Young Award

Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants (Previous: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers)

Obviously, if Clayton Kershaw was still pitching, this would be a different story. But even his otherworldly numbers suffer if he stops pitching. Bumgarner is having a pretty great year himself an ERA just over two, a whole mess of strikeouts and a WHIP of an even one and is the anchor of the contending Giants pitching staff. Plus, he can hit a little bit. Of course, Max Scherzer's numbers are pretty ridiculous as well, as are those of his teammate Stephen Strasburg and Chicago's Jake Arrieta, among others. Kershaw's injury opened this one up for the taking as of now, Bumgarner's the taker.

(Also noteworthy: Kershaw; Scherzer; Strasburg; Arrieta; Kyle Hendricks, Cubs; Johnny Cueto, Giants; Jose Fernandez, Marlins)

AL MVP

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (Previous: Altuve)

I've had Jose Altuve winning this award all year and nothing has changed. All he's doing is leading the AL batting race by almost 50 points while also hitting for power and stealing the third-most bases in the league. He's also hitting for more power than ever and playing a solid second base. That said, there are some great hitters nipping at his heels. David Ortiz is closing out his career with one of his best seasons for Boston, leading the league in OPS and sitting second in RBI. Mike Trout of the Angels is having his typically awesome year. Still, Altuve's done more than enough to maintain his lead.

(Also noteworthy: Ortiz; Trout; Mookie Betts, Red Sox; Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox; Manny Machado, Orioles; Robinson Cano, Mariners; Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays)

NL MVP

Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals (Previous: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs)

It seems odd to choose Murphy over so many of the other far more famous contenders, but it's difficult to deny a player who leads the league in both batting average and OPS particularly one making up for the regression of reigning MVP Bryce Harper. He's a huge surprise, but no less deserving for having been unexpected. Bryant is still having a great year for the Cubs as are Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals but Murphy's performance thus far simply can't be denied. Still, there's potential for this one to come down to the wire.

(Also noteworthy: Bryant; Braun; Carpenter; Nolan Arenado, Rockies; Anthony Rizzo, Cubs; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies)

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