Handing out MLB awards at season's midpoint
For some — namely 16 of the 84 players selected as All-Stars this season — the All-Star break is about resting on the sidelines.
For us, it’s a chance to size up who is likeliest to win baseball’s end-of-year awards — and whose years have been most dubious.
Here are our picks after the first half:
Adrian Gonzalez, Boston. He’s been on a two-month tear (.354 average this season with 77 RBIs) that has resuscitated Boston after a hideous start.
Jose Reyes, Mets. He’s on pace for a career year (.354 average, 20 SBs, 15 triples), and the overachieving Mets would be nowhere near .500 without him.
Cy Young Award
Justin Verlander, Detroit. The righty (12-4, 2.15 ERA) has added another no-hitter this season and is allowing runs at a pace rarely seen in the AL.
Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta. The 25-year-old righty has come out of nowhere (we had to double-check the spelling of his name) to post a 12-3 record with a 1.87 ERA.
Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay. Hands down. In the offseason, he lost two of his best hitters and his entire bullpen — and he started the season 1-8 — but Maddon somehow has the Rays in the playoff picture. He could probably fix the budget crisis if we let him try.
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh. Seriously, when was the last time the Pirates weren’t 20 games out in July? Hurdle deserves the key to the city for the Bucs’ 47-43 record — and whatever else he wants.
Comeback Player of the Year
Bartolo Colon, Yankees. The ageless righty had a four-start stretch in which he allowed just three runs. Not bad for a 38-year-old reclamation project.
Lance Berkman, St. Louis. The 35-year-old outfielder was written off after a lackluster 2010 with the Astros and Yankees. He’s already hit 24 HRs — 10 more than last year — and has eclipsed last season’s RBI total with 63.
Disaster of the Year
Manny Ramirez, Tampa Bay. The slugger retired on April 8 after he failed yet another drug test. But it’s OK — it’s just “Manny being Manny.”
Jayson Werth, Washington. Signed to a $126 million, seven-year deal in the offseason, the outfielder is hitting a meager .215 with 31 RBIs. Most baseball watchers knew in the winter it was a bad deal, but not quite this bad.