As Major League Baseball begins its unofficial second half, we take one last look back and hand out some midseason hardware. Here are RunSportBet’s midseason MLB awards.
MVP: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Runner-up: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Ohtani has put together one of the most incredible seasons in baseball history. The two-way star leads the majors in home runs (33) and slugging (.698) while also posting a 3.49 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 87 strikeouts over 67 innings.
His dominance is also enabling the Angels to remain in the playoff race despite Mike Trout’s long-term injury. It feels like his closest competitor, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., is a distant second despite challenging for a triple crown. We’ll look back on Ohtani’s greatness for years to come.
Cy Young: Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Runner-up: Carlos Rodon, White Sox
The AL Cy Young race is wide open, but Cole gets the nod here despite a rough June. The right-hander leads the majors with 147 strikeouts, he owns the AL’s best WHIP (0.93), and Cole ranks third in innings pitched (114) and opponent’s batting average (.203).
Rodon looks like Cole’s biggest competition, but he lacks the workload right now.
Rookie of the Year: Adolis Garcia, Rangers
Runner-up: Luis Garcia, Astros
It’s safe to say Adolis Garcia wasn’t even on the Rookie of the Year radar when the season began. Garcia has broken out with Texas as a late bloomer at 28 years old, leading all rookies with 22 homers, 62 RBIs, 84 hits, and 2.2 WAR.
Incredibly, the St. Louis Cardinals designated him for assignment in December 2019 before eventually trading Garcia to the Rangers for cash.
Manger of the Year: Alex Cora, Red Sox
Runner-up: Bob Melvin, Athletics
After being suspended for the 2020 campaign, Cora has led the Red Sox to the American League’s second-best record, and Boston went 24-36 last season without him. Now the Red Sox have produced a 55-36 record with Cora back.
Regardless of whether you agree with Cora’s punishment for his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, his impact on the Red Sox is undeniable.
Most surprising team: Boston Red Sox
Runner-up: Cleveland Indians
Boston entered the season projected to win 80 games. Now the Red Sox only need to go 26-45 during the second half to exceed that mark.
Chaim Bloom’s first full offseason in charge was spent building up roster depth, and making moves for Hunter Renfroe, Enrique Hernandez, Adam Ottavino, and Garrett Whitlock helped to complement an already strong core. A healthy pitching staff and a bounce-back season from J.D. Martinez have also played a huge role in pushing the club to the top of the AL East, a spot the team has occupied for 66 days.
Most disappointing: New York Yankees
Runner-up: Minnesota Twins
The Yankees opened the season as favorites to represent the AL in the World Series, but they sit eight games back in their division and 4 1/2 out of the second wild-card spot at the break.
New York ranks 23rd in the majors in runs scored despite the heart of its lineup staying mostly healthy. The Yankees have reached the postseason in each of the last four campaigns, but they’ll need to flip the switch to keep the streak alive.
MVP: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
Runner-up: Jacob deGrom, Mets
Tatis entered the All-Star break leading the Senior Circuit in homers, steals, slugging, OPS, and OPS+, all while ranking second in extra-base hits, runs, and total bases. He’s two homers and 10 steals shy of a 30-30 season, and a 40-40 campaign – which would be just the fifth ever – is very much in play.
Even with deGrom dazzling, Tatis is standing out as the NL’s best.
Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, Mets
Runner-up: Zack Wheeler, Phillies
You were expecting someone else? DeGrom’s 1.08 ERA is lower than Bob Gibson’s live-ball era record of 1.12 from 1968. His 0.54 WHIP would be a single-season record. DeGrom also leads the majors with 146 strikeouts, putting him in line for a third straight strikeout title – and he’s walked just 11 batters, giving him an epic 13.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
His lack of innings compared to Gibson and others is merely a product of his era and should be ignored. DeGrom’s 2021 is already among the greatest seasons ever for a starting pitcher, and it could be at the top of the list once he’s finished.
Rookie of the Year: Trevor Rogers, Marlins
Runner-up: Ian Anderson, Braves
Rogers has emerged as an ace for the Marlins. He’s the only rookie pitcher in either league to surpass the two-WAR mark in the first half (he’s at 3.1, according to FanGraphs). He’s also allowed an NL-best 0.4 home runs per nine innings.
Rogers was a very deserving All-Star selection, and he’s the easy choice for this first-half honor.
Manger of the Year: Gabe Kapler, Giants
Runner-up: Craig Counsell, Brewers
Counsell and Kapler have done excellent jobs steering surprising clubs with great pitching to the top of their divisions. The tiebreaker is in Kapler’s favor, though, because the Giants are atop the hyper-competitive NL West. He’s made a massive difference for a squad that wasn’t expected to do much this year.
Most surprising team: San Francisco Giants
Runner-up: Milwaukee Brewers
Coming into the season, the NL West storylines were devoted to the burgeoning Dodgers-Padres rivalry, with the rebuilding Giants hardly playing a factor. Now Kapler’s team is turning the division on its head after finishing the first half two games up on L.A. and six ahead of third-place San Diego.
The Giants are playing with house money the rest of the way. Not bad for an aging club supposedly in the throes of a rebuild.
Most disappointing: Atlanta Braves
Runner-up: St. Louis Cardinals
It was shaping up as a disappointing year for the Braves even before Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mike Soroka were lost for the season due to injury. Atlanta stumbled out of the gate and then injuries hit the team hard, and now the Braves just haven’t been able to find a groove.
The Braves’ deficit feels much bigger than being four games out in the NL East, as they’re also just five up on last-place Miami. Atlanta was expected to not only win a fourth straight division title, but also reach the World Series for the first time since 1999.