Early favorites for American League postseason awards
The MLB season is 60 games in. There have been a lot of surprises, falls, breakthroughs and risings in the standings. Usually, writers and analysts alike, wait for the midway mark to get their awards pieces together. I figured I’d start mine early with some of the action that’s going on during the season.
- Josh Hamilton – Is anybody in baseball playing better then Hamilton? He’s cooled off a bit after his torrid start, but he’s still dominating the leaderboard across the AL and majors as a whole. He still has an early shot at the triple crown, after losing the batting average lead to Paul Konerko. He’s third in the major league’s in WAR (wins above replacement) and leads all center fielders. Hamilton’s numbers through 57 games played: .338 BA, 22 HR, 61 RBI, 42 R, .698 SLG, .399 OBP, 6 SB.
- Adam Jones – The Baltimore Orioles have been one of the surprise teams in the American League. You can thank Jones for much of that. He’s finally coming around to his potential. He’s shown the ability over the past few years and his contributions are making a big impact on the Orioles turnaround. He’s fourth in the league in WAR and is second to Hamilton in center fielders. Jones’ numbers through 59 games (he’s played in every game this season): .300 BA, 17 HR, 37 RBI, 42 R, .568 SLG, .360 OBP, 9 SB
- Mark Trumbo – Yes Mark Trumbo. He’s leading the youth movement in L.A. with fellow young gun Mike Trout. Trumbo’s bat has been a big lift for the Angels, especially of late. He’s helped the Angels get back in the AL West race, where they now trail the Rangers by three games. It wasn’t that long ago that the Angels were below .500 and one of the most disappointing teams in the majors. Trumbo’s versatility in the field has also been a big lift. He’s moved around from first base to third base and from right field to left field. Wherever the Angels have needed him, he’s played there. He’s also helping cover up the hole an underperforming Albert Pujols is putting in the Angels lineup. With two more homers and six more RBI Sunday, Trumbo is climbing up the AL leader boards. His numbers through 52 games: .326 BA, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 28 R, .632 SLG, .380 OBP, 4 SB.
- Chris Sale – The relief pitcher turned starter has been a shot in the arm for the White Sox. The White Sox lead the AL Central, and Sale’s performance has been a major factor. He’s coming off his first complete game of the season against the Mariners and eight innings of shutout ball against Houston. He has strung together a few strong starts in a row now, and is really making his presence felt in the American League. He’s tied for first in the AL in wins, seventh in strikeouts, first in ERA and fourth in WAR. If his performance continues like this, the White Sox are going to be tough to beat in the AL Central. Sale’s numbers through 12 games: 8-2, 2.05 ERA, 76 SO, 1 CG, 51 H, 0.92 WHIP, .188 BAA.
- C.J. Wilson – Along with Trumbo, Wilson has helped right the Angels ship. He’s kept the Angels in every game with his dominant pitching. He got off to a slow start, but has picked it up as of late. He’s allowed five runs over his last 37.1 innings and picked up three wins over that span. It would be more if it wasn’t for the lack of run support he’s been getting during his starts. He’s tied for second in wins and second in ERA. Wilson’s numbers through 13 games: 7-4 Rec, 2.39 ERA, 73 SO, 53 H, 1.09 WHIP, .190 BAA.
- David Price – For the Tampa Bay Rays, the Price is right. He has been just outstanding for the Rays this season, which has lead them to a current half game lead in the American League East. He’s been the ace the Rays have needed him to be, going 7-2 over his last 10 starts. He’s tied for first in the AL in wins and third in ERA. Price is helping keep the Rays afloat during a period where many of the Rays players have been hurt. He’s kept them in every game and hopes to continue to do so the rest of the way. Price’s numbers through 12 games: 8-3 Rec, 2.40 ERA, 70 SO, 69 H, 1.22 WHIP, .236 BAA.
Rookie of the Year
- Mike Trout – Since his first game of the season on April 28, Trout has taken off. He’s just 20 years old and is playing like a vet. He leads the team in runs and batting average (even though Trumbo is the official leader due to Trouts number of at-bats). Trout is going to be around for a very long time. This kid has amazing talent and is so multidimensional that he cemented his place in the Angels lineup already. Trout has been scorching the month of June, batting .515 with eight RBI, five stolen bases and 10 runs. His play, along with Trumbo’s, have the Angels in a good spot for years to come, and together they are bringing the Angels back up from the cellar of the AL West. Trout’s numbers through 39 games played: .350 BA, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 13 SB, 33 R, .548 SLG, .407 OBP
- Jesus Montero – The Yankees might have made a mistake by trading Montero. We’ll see how it works out in the long run, but for now, it looks like the Mariners got the better of the deal. Montero has played in 55 of the Mariners 62 games so far. He’s been a pretty solid spot in the lineup. Montero’s struggled a bit this season, but seems to be turning it around as of late. He’s batting .300 for the month of June, but hasn’t hit a home run nor drove in a run since Seattle’s 21-run outburst against the Rangers back on May 30. Look for Montero to pick it up as the season progresses. Montero’s numbers through 55 games: .258 BA, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 21 R, .411 SLG, .298 OBP.
- Yu Darvish/ Will Middlebrooks – Darvish, the high-priced Japanese import, has provided some ups and downs for the Rangers this season. He started off kind of rocky but then found a rhythm and wheeled off four quality starts. He was baffling hitters and managers alike, until he hit a wall. Since those four starts Darvish has struggled a bit. In his last seven starts he has given up 22 runs and has only made it past the seventh inning once. Middlebrooks was a huge help for the Red Sox while Kevin Youkilis was dealing with nagging injuries. He helped right the ship of the Sox who have been bottom dwellers all season in the AL East. In the month of May, Middlebrooks batted .315 with six home runs and 21 runs batted in. Since then, he has cooled off mightily while getting mixed playing time due to the return of Youkilis. Darvish’s numbers through 12 games: 7-4 Rec, 3.42 era, 77 SO, 66 H, 1.51WHIP, .235 BAA. Middlebrooks’ numbers through 31 games played: .302 BA, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 15 R, 2 SB, .517 SLG, .341 OBP.
Some you may agree with, some you may not. It has been an interesting start to this baseball season, and it feels like its flying by. I look forward to more great division battles and battles amongst the league leaders.
I’m telling you, keep watching Trumbo climb up the MVP discussion as the season continues. This kid is really, really good.
Up next: The NL award roundup.