Most teams passed the halfway point of the season last week, which is pretty wild since they just started playing! You’d think I’d have gotten used to the shortened season by now, but nope. Not even close. Anyway, with the halfway point comes halfway awards and predictions for the rest of the season. For our SB Nation Reacts poll this week, we are mixing the two and asked responders to predict who will finish the season strong and take home some of the majors awards. Let’s see how you responded!
This is pretty interesting. Right now, if you were to go strictly by fWAR, Trout is down at number 18 in the American League and third on his own team, which by the way happens to be one of the worst in all of baseball. He’s Mike Trout, so I get it, but I don’t think this is going to be his year. Lowe is the AL leader in fWAR at the moment and plays for one of the league’s best teams, so he’s a good bet. Cruz is the biggest star on the team that may finish with the league’s best record, so he’s another good one. I’m not sure about LeMaheiu strictly because an injury in this season may be too much missed time. This is a really difficult year to figure out, but I think I’d go with Cruz if I had to make a prediction. For what it’s worth, our preseason predictions had Trout, because duh.
Tatís has caught the baseball world by storm this year and is helping lead the Padres into a likely playoff berth. He absolutely deserves to be at the top of this list and I can’t really argue with the logic. He leads the NL in fWAR, doesn’t appear to be slowing down and has the narrative on his side. That’s all important. That said, I’m sticking with my preseason prediction of Betts, mostly because he’s Mookie freaking Betts. Ya know?
AL Cy Young
Gerrit Cole seemed like a near shoo-in before the season. He was arguably the best pitcher in baseball playing for the sport’s most famous team on a clear pennant contender. And he’s been solid! That said, Bieber has been in his own world this year and looks unstoppable. He has a 1.35 ERA and a 1.70 FIP! He’s striking out over 14 batters per nine innings and walking fewer than two! There are other pitchers having good seasons, but this looks like an all-timer from Bieber and it’s a shame it’s only going to be a 60-game gaunlet.
NL Cy Young
deGrom was the pitcher before the season that was in the conversation with Cole as the best in the game, and he was an obvious pick for the NL Cy Young. Turns out he’s still very good and leads the NL in fWAR, but he is also one of six (!) NL pitchers with an ERA below 2.00. It’s an extremely crowded field. I think you have to go deGrom down the stretch because of the track record, but the other guys here make a lot of sense. It’s also worth noting, though, that Bauer could be traded at the deadline and may end up switching leagues.
AL Batting Title
The batting title takes on extra importance this year because the shortened season can lead to some silly numbers. LeMaheiu is, I think, clearly the best pure average hitter in the AL, but playing time could hold him back. If he’s on the IL long enough, he may not qualify. In that case, keep an eye on Hanser Alberto, who is just a singles machine in Baltimore.
NL Batting Title
At one point not all that long ago, Blackmon’s batting average was almost at .500. He’s down to .374 now, but when you have the phrase “down to” followed by “.374” you are pretty damn good at hitting.