With the all star break upon us it is time for The Game Haus presents the MLB Midseason Awards.
National League MVP
Freddie Freeman- Freddie Freeman is 4th in the NL for batting average with a .315, 2nd in WAR with 3.9 and tied for 6th with 61 RBIs. Freeman has also hit 16 home runs which is a big reason why the Braves are battling for first place in the NL East. -Max Rayman
Nolan Arenado – Nolan Arenado has emerged as one of the best players in all of baseball. In the first half, he has been the best all-around player in the National League. He ranks second on the Senior Circuit with 23 home runs and is tied for fourth in RBI with 68. Arenado also ranks eighth in total hits with 107 and is all the way down at 47th in strikeouts with just 72. His .312 average is good for sixth and his .981 OPS ranks second. In the field he hasn’t been as good as years past with just 1 DRS, but he’s still an elite defender with a UZR of 3 and a UZR/150 of 4. Overall, he’s accumulated a WAR of 3.9 according to Fangraphs, or 3.8 according to Baseball Reference. – Canyon Clark
Aaron Nola- There is not doubt that this will be controversial but, the Phillies currently sit in first place and to say Nola isn’t a big reason for that would be insane. He is 12-3 with a 2.3 era and the fifth highest war in all of baseball and second highest behind only Jacob deGrom. He is establishing himself as a superstar pitcher and since the MVP is also about the team it gives Nola the small edge he needs. – Robert Hanes
National League Cy Young
Max Scherzer- Scherzer leads the NL in strikeouts with 182, tied for first in wins with 12, and is 3rd in era with a 2.41. He is still prone to giving up the occasional long ball as he is averaging 1.00 home runs through nine innings. But at the same time he is averaging 12.16 strikeouts through nine innings which is a career high. -Max Rayman
Max Scherzer – Max Scherzer is an elite pitcher and has been a perennial Cy Young candidate for many years now. This season has been no different, as he’s been the best pitcher in the National League in the first half. At the All-Star break, Max leads all starters in wins with 12, complete games and shutouts with one, innings pitched with 134.2, strikeouts at 182, WHIP at 0.899, hits per nine and strikeouts per nine. On top of all that, according to Baseball Reference he’s accumulated a WAR of 5.3. – Canyon Clark
Jacob deGrom- If wins and loses determine who the best pitcher in the league is then deGrom is in trouble. Luckily an incredible pitcher is able to shine through it and he is the perfect example of this. Only sitting at 5-4 one might think he’s having a very average season. Then you dig into his stats and see that he has truly been the best. deGrom has the lowest era among all qualified starters at 1.68, one of the lowest whips at .97, 149 strikeouts to 30 walks and the highest war among all pitchers in baseball. Jacob deGrom has been the best pitcher in baseball this year but, his team has pulled him down. People need to look past wins and loses and give this man his first Cy Young. – Robert Hanes
National League Rookie of the Year
Juan Soto- In 176 at bats, the 19 year old is hitting .301 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs. Soto was called up due to injuries to Adam Eaton and Brian Goodwin and immediately showed the world why he deserves to be starting. Eaton has returned from injury but Soto impressed enough to replace Michael A. Taylor in the outfield. Despite the Nationals struggles, Soto has adjusted well to the majors and has been able to hold his own against some of the top NL pitchers. -Max Rayman
Juan Soto – Juan Soto is having an outstanding rookie season. He has without a doubt been the best rookie in the national league this season. Jesse Winker is a close second, but Soto has been the better player. He has 11 doubles, nine home runs, 28 RBI, a .301 average and a .929 OPS and 146 OPS+ in 51 games in 2018. Soto hasn’t been great in the outfield, but his glove could come around in the second half. As for now, his bat has done enough damage to make up for the lack of defense. -Canyon Clark
Juan Soto- While his defense is a bit suspect, Soto is looking like he will be the next superstar outfielder. If you want to see what he could become, look at his teammate Bryce Harper. Soto is 19 and you can see the stats above from the other TGH writers. It will probably end up being a race between Soto, Jesse Winker, Brian Anderson, Jack Flaherty and maybe Tyler Mahle. – Robert Hanes
National League Platinum Glove Award
Nolan Arenado- This award is for the best defender in the National league and Arenado fits the bill. Since entering the league in 2013, he has 5 gold gloves and is the reigning platinum gold glove winner. This year is no exception as he has a .974 fielding percentage and has only committed 7 errors on 270 total chances. He has turned 30 double which is the most among NL 3rd basemen. -Max Rayman
Lorenzo Cain – Lorenzo Cain is having a great first season with the Brewers. He’s hitting well and fielding even better. He currently leads the National League in DRS with 15, UZR at 7.7 and UZR/150 at 20. He also has the best defensive WAR according to Fangraphs at 8.9. Cain also has a .985 fielding percentage in 678 innings played and 10 outfield assists. -Canyon Clark
Billy Hamilton- This may seem biased but, it is time Billy Hamilton is recognized as a top tier defensive player in the game. While his dwar is only .8 he still only has 2 errors, 8 outfield assists and has made more highlight and tough plays than just about anyone else. The man is a highlight machine and this is because he is able to get to baseballs that almost no one else in the league can. If you check MLB Statcast you will find that he is making plays on balls that have a 97%+ chance of being a hit. You could take my word for it or go watch Hamilton play yourself. – Robert Hanes
American League MVP
Mookie Betts- The season Betts is having is incredible. He leads the majors in batting average and OPS with .359 and 1.139 respectively. He has also added 23 home runs as part of a power display. Betts has been a key reason the Red Sox own the best record in the MLB. -Max Rayman
Mookie Betts – Most people just assume that Mike Trout is the AL MVP. However, he’s got a lot of competition this season and so far, he hasn’t been the MVP. That title belongs to Mookie Betts. Betts just does edge out Trout, teammate JD Martinez, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor, but he’s been the all-around best player in the league this season. He’s got a 6.3 WAR according to Fangraphs, 23 home runs, 51 RBI, 71 runs scored, 25 doubles and a .359/.448/.691 slash line and has even stolen 18 bases. A dive into some deeper analytics makes Betts’ MVP case even more appealing. He has a league leading 202 wRC+, a .471 wOBA, a .356 BABIP, and a 13 percent walk rate to just an 11 percent strike out rate. Betts also has 5 DRS on the season, tying Trout, and a 2.1 defensive WAR. -Canyon Clark
Jose Ramirez- This guy can quite literally do it all. He is second in the league with a 6.6 war. He owns a .302 batting average with 29 homeruns, 68 runs scores, 70 RBI, 20 stolen bases, an OBP of .401, he walks more than he strikes out and he grades out as the second best 3B defensively with a dwar of 1.6. If that isn’t enough to convince you that this man deserves the award then keep in mind that he is carrying a very good and most likely playoff bound Indian team. *mic drop*. – Robert Hanes
American League Cy Young
Chris Sale- While Luis Severino makes an intriguing case, Chris Sale was outright dominant in the first half of the season. He leads the majors in strikeouts with 188 and is first in the AL in era with a 2.23. Sale also leads all AL pitchers in Wins above replacement also known as WAR with 5.6. His 10 wins has him tied for 8th. Sale has been a crucial part of a dominant Red Sox pitching rotation. -Max Rayman
Chris Sale – Chris Sale currently sits at 10-4 with a league leading 2.23 ERA. He has started 20 games this season, accumulating 188 strikeouts over 129 innings, which is also tops in the league. Sale also leads the Junior Circuit in SO/9 at 13.1 and FIP at 2.17. His WHIP sits at 0.899 and he has a WAR of 5.6 according to Baseball Reference. -Canyon Clark
Chris Sale- There is not much else to be said that the others didn’t. The man is an absolute monster and should be well on his way to winning another Cy Young.- Robert Hanes
American League Rookie of the Year
Gleybor Torres- Gleyber Torres has been terrific for the New York Yankees. in 218 at bats he is hitting .294 with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs. Torres thrived immediately once entering the Majors including hitting home runs in four straight games. He had a small stint on the DL but should be healthy once the break ends.
Gleyber Torres – Gleyber Torres leads all AL rookies in home runs with 15, RBI with 42, average at .294, OBP among players with 40 or more games at .350, SLG at .555 and OPS at .905. He has a total of 64 hits in 63 games, has scored 30 runs and has an OPS+ of 140. Torres hasn’t been great in the field though he does have 2 DRS, but his bat has been unbelievable for a rookie this season. -Canyon Clark
Gleyber Torres- There is not other option currently. His teammate Miguel Andujar is pretty close and one could argue for Tampa Bays, Ryan Yarbrough. Neither of the other two are doing what Torres is though.
American League Platinum Glove Award
Kevin Pillar- This year Pillar has been a human highlight tape as he has been robbing hitters of everything in his general direction. His fielding percentage is .980 and he has five outfield assists as well as two double plays. His five errors have him tied for 8th among AL center fielders. Despite the Blue Jays struggles, Pillar has been playing all most perfect defense. -Max Rayman
Andrelton Simmons – Andrelton Simmons remains one of the most elite defenders in baseball and has been the best defender in the AL in the first half. He ranks first in defensive WAR at 12.6, second in UZR/150 at 16.8, third in UZR at 8.7 and third in DRS with 13. Simmons has also made 12.5 percent of plays where he’s had a remote chance, 100 percent when he’s had an unlikely chance and 99.5 percent of the routine plays. His defensive IQ, arm strength, range and reaction all combine to make him the best defender in the AL and probably all of baseball. -Canyon Clark
Andrelton Simmons- Simmons has easily been one of the best defensive players in the last decade. When the Angles signed Zach Cozart, a very solid defender himself, they made him move to 3B. He even acknowledged that Simmons was incredible and that he agreed that he needed to be at third. The guy has a cannon for an arm and it can make tough plays seems routine. It is likely the he will win a Gold Glove again this year and should be considered the best defense player in the American League.
Thanks for taking the time to read our picks for the midseason major awards! Please leave a comment below letting us know what you think!