The second half is in full swing and our clocks are two weeks slow, so we’ve decided to release our slightly tardy midseason awards. Ogle over our somewhat obvious choices and use of an occasional swear word while accepting the fact that we’ll somehow end up being wrong about 80% of these.
AL MVP: Aaron Judge
There’s not much we can say about this guy that hasn’t already been said five to five hundred times by everyone else. Judge is the new face of baseball and the most impactful rookie since Henry Rowengartner. We hear he also has a knack for knitting kitten sweaters. Just the facts, guys.
Runners-up: José Ramirez, the Astros 1-3 hitters
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
We’re not huge fans of his commercials or his alpha-bro attitude, but there’s no denying that the phenom is back at the plate this season. Baseball is a better place when Bryce is bashing. And dat hair doh.
Runners-up: Cody Bellinger, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rendon
AL CY YOUNG: Chris Sale
The Red Sox gave up a lot to acquire Sale in the offseason and so far it’s paid off wonderfully. He currently leads AL pitchers in ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP, and bone sharpness. Seriously, dude looks like he could cut a rib eye with those elbows.
Runners-up: Corey Kluber, Ervin Santana, Luis Severino
NL CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer
He’s dirtier than Lil Wayne in a mud bath and his eyes are two different colors. Nuff said.
Runners-up: Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Zack Greinke
AL ROY: See Judge, Aaron
Did we mention Judge was a rookie? Oh, we did? Cool. What about the kitten sweaters?
Distant Runner-up: Trey Mancini
NL ROY: Cody Bellinger
Judge ain’t the only rookie making waves in a major market. Bellinger has been an absolute monster since his call-up in late April and the Dodgers seemingly can’t lose with him in the lineup. His smooth left-handed stroke reminds me of the time I was single and broke my right wrist. Shit, this got weird.
Runner-up: Kyle Freeland
AL MOST IMPROVED: Avisail Garcia
Boasting the physicality of an ox and an uncanny resemblance to a young Miguel Cabrera, on-lookers were baffled by Garcia’s early career struggles. Now in his fifth full season, the 26-year-old seems to have finally figured things out and has yet to taper off from his hot start.
NL MOST IMPROVED: Ryan Zimmerman/Alex Wood
Apparently being healthy makes a huge difference in one’s performance. Take Ryan Zimmerman and Alex Wood as perfect examples. After hitting just .218 last season in 115 games, Zimmerman has rebounded to have the best season of his career at age 32, while Wood is 11-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 14 starts for the Doyers.
AL SURPRISE TEAM: Rays/Indians
We don’t count the Astros as a surprise because we knew they were gonna be good. The Rays, on the other hand, are a bit of a shocker. Just a couple games back of the Red Sox in the East and leading the Wild Card race is not where we envisioned Tampa when the season began. On the flip side, the Indians have been surprisingly mediocre this season after coming up short in Game 7 of the World Series and adding Edwin Encarnacion in the offseason. Luckily for them, they play in the AL Central.
NL SURPRISE TEAM: Rockies/D-Backs
What the hell is going on in the NL West? The Dodgers never lose, the Giants are awful, and the D-Backs and Rockies hold the first and second Wild Card spots (respectively). Oh, and the Padres, they’re there too. We knew that both of these team could hit, but no one foresaw the solid pitching performances they’ve received. Whether the Rox and D-Backs can hold on in the second half will be one of baseball’s most intriguing storylines. I guess the first place Brewers deserve a lil’ shout out here too. BREWERS! There, consider them shouted out.
BEST NEW NAME: Austin Bibens-Dirkx
You can’t put an ‘X’ after a ‘K’, you just can’t! Unless you’re 32-year-old Rangers rookie Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Nekxt time you’re around religious folkx and are weary of taking the Lord’s name in vain, just replace “Jesus Christ!” with a “Bibens-Dirkx!” Workxs like a charm.
THE WORST: Pablo Sandoval
That’s the award he gets, just “The Worst”. Because let’s be honest, now that Nick Swisher is gone, he is. If he sees this and gets sad or offended, he can wipe his tears with any of the remaining $50 million he’ll be paid by the Red Sox to not play for them.
BEST BADASS MOVE: Dave Roberts shoving Andy Green
Well, we definitely weren’t gonna go with Kevin Pillar calling Jason Motte a “f***ot”. Dave Roberts actually going after an opposing team’s manager to stick up for his players is the ultimate “my manager’s a badass” move. Doesn’t hurt that he’s also leading the Dodgers to a historically great season.