Even though all Major League baseball teams have played more than 81 games, baseball considers the All-Star break the unofficial half-way point of the season. Awards come out only after the season, but we can opine about who would win each award at this point. We consider the official qualifiers for the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards; the Rookie of the Year may go to someone who may fall a little short of qualifying considering that many rookies come up well after the season starts. These rookies, though, will very likely meet the minimum qualifications by the end of the season.
Here are American League awards for the first half of 2013. All statistics are as of July 16.
Cy Young – Bartolo Colon
I mean no disrespect at all to Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer (13-1, 3.19 ERA), but Oakland Athletics starter Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.70 ERA) has had a better season so far. He is a little shy of Scherzer in wins, but Colon has the best ERA on the best pitching staff in the American League. He has walked only 15 hitters all season. He also has a WAR of 3.6, which compares to Scherzer’s 3.7, in just over half a season. He has done this at age 40 after many believed his career over when he missed all of 2010.
Most Valuable Player – Chris Davis
Many fans and analysts look at mainly statistics to determine league MVP. However, a player’s worth to his team means just as much — or even more. That particular qualification makes this very tough decision a little bit easier.
The Detroit Tigers have the reigning American League MVP and 2012 Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera (.360, 30 HR, 95 RBI), who is in the running for both once again this year. Cabrera is the A.L.’s best player, but the lineup he is in could still win plenty of games without him.
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (.315, 37 HR, 93 RBI), though, gets the nod. Davis has thrilled fans with his power to all fields. He is the main reason that the Orioles are in contention in the very tough A.L. East. Without his WAR of 4.5, the Orioles may not fare so well.
Rookie of the Year, Jose Iglesias
In the American League, there really is no contest. The Boston Red Sox’ Jose Iglesias is hitting .367 in 52 games. His closest competition is J.B. Shuck of the Los Angeles Angels at .294 in 67 games. Iglesias has helped spark the Red Sox to a 2.5-game lead in the A.L. East with his .417 on-base average, 26 runs scored, and 2.2 WAR since earning his way into the lineup. At this pace, Iglesias should have no trouble winning the official award at season’s end.
Manager of the Year, Joe Girardi
In the American League, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi gets this award. Girardi’s team has had a revolving door to the disabled list since last October. Consider the players that have not played more than a handful of games — if any: Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Francisco Cervelli, and Kevin Youkilis. Even pitchers such as Andy Pettitte have missed games to minor injuries. Yet, the Yankees are still in contention in the A.L. East, six games out. Fourth place does not look that impressive, but a 51-44 record is much better than many experts predicted when the season started.
Most of the injured players will come back for the bulk of the second half. Expect the Yankees to make a serious run at Boston when that happens.
The American League has had some excitement this year, thanks to the players and manager listed and many more. The second half promises even more as the pennant races reach their climaxes. Things may change by season’s end, but these deserve the awards the most at the half-way point.
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