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Clubhouse Leaders: MLB Awards Edition 2021 – Midseason

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We’re almost to the All-Star break and teams are approaching and/or have crossed the halfway point of the long MLB season. While we tend to think of the All-Star Game as the midway point in a given season, the truth is that we’re there now.

And things have changed a little.

As per usual, there has been some movement with regard to our MLB Awards leaderboard. There are a couple of holdovers, but as always, things change. Take a look and see where we stand.

This is Clubhouse Leaders.

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AL Rookie of the Year

Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers (First quarter: Yermin Mercedes, Chicago White Sox)

I had a hunch that this would happen – Garcia was trending up when we did the first quarter – but I had no idea that this was the sort of season he was going to have. He’s crossed the 20-homer threshold – the only AL rookie to do so thus far. He’s maintained a batting average in the .270-.280 neighborhood. His OBP isn’t great, thanks to a dearth of walks, but his .550 slugging percentage more than makes up for it. Plus he can run a little and play a solid center field. Mercedes always felt like a hot start pick, but with the season Garcia’s having, he might be tough to catch. Detroit’s Akil Baddoo and Chicago’s Nick Madrigal are having decent runs as well.

(Also noteworthy: Baddoo; Madrigal; Mercedes; Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays; Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles)

NL Rookie of the Year

Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins (First quarter: Jazz Chisolm, Miami Marlins)

Rogers has been excellent so far this season – he’s got an ERA just north of two and a WHIP just over one, both outstanding ratios. He also crossed the 100 K mark and is striking out over 10 per nine innings, all while starting as many games as any other NL rookie. Chisolm has still been good, albeit a little cooler than his initial start. The Reds have a pair of guys – catcher Tyler Stephenson and infielder Jonathan India – who have been sneaky good. And Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes might manage to make some noise after a late start if he keeps this up. Still, it’s tough to overlook the season that Rogers is having thus far.

(Also noteworthy: Chisolm; Stephenson; India; Ryan Weathers, San Diego Padres; Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals)

AL Cy Young Award

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees (First quarter: Cole)

Tough to leave him here after he just got lit up by the Red Sox, but while Cole has come back to the pack since this first quarter pick, I think he’s still the guy. He’s still among the league leaders in every relevant category – ERA, WHIP, Ks – while being the first AL pitcher to reach 100 innings. We’ll have to see what happens as things progress and whether the crackdown on gripping substances impacts him significantly. Kyle Gibson has come out of nowhere to excel this season – as of press time, he’s the league leader in ERA and has yet to lose in any of his 15 starts for the Rangers. Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon are both putting up dynamite numbers for the White Sox. For now, I’m sticking with Cole, but it isn’t nearly as easy a pick as it was previously.

(Also noteworthy: Gibson; Lynn; Rodon; Sean Manaea, Oakland A’s; Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians; Chris Bassitt, Oakland A’s)

NL Cy Young Award

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets (First quarter: Trevor Bauer, Los Angeles Angels)

We all knew this was how it was going to go, right? I went with Bauer in an effort to mix it up, but this was always going to be deGrom’s award to lose. Granted, no one could have expected the kind of year we’d see from deGrom. We’re in potentially historic territory here – his ERA is well under one, while his WHIP at press time is 0.53. These are bonkers numbers. We’ve also got a guy with 122 Ks against just 11 walks, all in just 78 innings. It seems impossible to maintain, yet aside from some bumps and bruises, deGrom seems ready to do just that. San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman and Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff are next on the list, but the gulf between them and deGrom is so vast that only injury will allow them to close it. It’s all deGrom.

(Also noteworthy: Gausman; Woodruff; Bauer; Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals; Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres; Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers)

AL MVP

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (First quarter: Ohtani)

As I’ve noted before, I LOVE Shohei Ohtani. I love that he’s giving us a combination of elite hitting and pitching that we haven’t seen in the big leagues for a century. He’s having an elite offensive season – close to the top of the AL in homers, RBI and slugging, just to name a few. He’s even stolen 11 bases. That alone would have him in the conversation. But when you throw in 60 innings of 2.58 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 12.5 K/9 pitching … what else can you do but name him MVP? Look, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is having an unbelievable offensive season – we’re talking a legitimate threat for the Triple Crown – and yet, it’s almost impossible for me to consider picking him. In truth, if Ohtani stays healthy and keeps doing what he’s doing, a Triple Crown might be Vladito’s only shot, which is stunning to think about. There are a couple of other names worth mentioning – including a couple of Red Sox in Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers – but this is almost certainly going to remain a two-man race.

(Also noteworthy: Guerrero Jr.; Bogaerts; Devers; Matt Olson, Oakland A’s; Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros; Carlos Correa, Houston Astros)

NL MVP

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres (First quarter: Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds)

Well, at least one son of a former major leaguer is in the lead for an MVP. Tatis has always been a phenomenal talent, but he’s taken things to a different gear this season. We’re talking about a shortstop who is leading the league in home runs AND tied for the lead in steals, all while playing strong defense. He’s batting just shy of .300 and his slugging percentage is a few points short of .700. It’s an outstanding all-around season. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. is right there with him. He’s a little short on power, a little better on patience and is one of the players tied with Tatis for the steals lead. Any other season, he’s the leader. Instead, he’s looking up at Tatis. Plus, there’s the aforementioned Winker, who is still managing the .300/.400/.500 slash line. Oh, and if Jacob deGrom keeps it up, he might wind up beating out all of these guys from the mound. For now, it’s Tatis, but don’t be surprised if any of these guys manage to pass him.

(Also noteworthy: Acuna Jr.; Winker; deGrom; Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds; Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers)

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 June 2021 08:30

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