If you’re just now tuning in to the 2016 Major League season, well, you’ve missed a lot.
The Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, San Francicso Giants, and Texas Rangers have all been really-really good.
Home run happy and highlight producing rookies Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Nomar Mazara, Aledmys Diaz, and Adam Duvall have put on a show.
There was “The Punch Heard ‘Round the World” thrown by Rougned Odor at Jose Bautista’s noggin.
Bartolo Colon hit his first career home run at 43-years-old, and so much more.
As we reach the midway mark, let’s look at some mid-season award winners and Major League milestones achieved along the way.
AL MVP: Mike Trout (.321/.426/.571 18HR 56RBI)
NL MVP: Clayton Kershaw
(11-2 1.79 ERA 121 innings 145 SO 0.73 WHIP)
Though it feels cliche’ to choose Trout as the AL MVP, it’s hard to argue for anyone else given his consistent statistical output.
And if you want to talk about “valueable”, Trout is a player that nearly every general manager in the game today would choose to build a franchise around (save for his team, the Angels, who let’s face it, haven’t done so).
Similarly to Trout, Kershaw has been the hands down NL MVP this year and is also the clear-cut NL Cy Young favorite (despite currently being on the DL with back pain).
Cy Young Award:
AL: Chris Sale (14-2 2.93 ERA 120 innings 118 SO 0.98 WHIP)
NL: Clayton Kershaw (see statistics above)
Kershaw aside, Chris Sale has been the next best thing this season when it comes to pitching.
The Chicago White Sox hurler leads the majors for wins with 14, and could see 20-plus by the seasons end.
Rookie Of the Year Candidates:
NL: Corey Seager (.299/.359/.531 17HR 41 RBI)
Trevor Story (.261/.329/.550 21HR 55 RBI)
AL: Michael Fulmer ( 9-2 2.11 ERA 76 innings 72 SO 1.10 WHIP
Nomar Mazara (.284/.333/.422 11HR 36RBI)
The word “Wow” doesn’t even begin to describe this quartet of rookies.
Story and Seager have only set HR records both in MLB history and at their position of shortstop.
Meanwhile Fulmer threw a new Detroit Tigers pitching record 33-and-one-third-consecutive- scoreless-innings, and Mazara has won multiple AL Rookie Of The Month honors.
Comeback Player of the Year:
The first and only tie on this list, goes to Rich Hill (9-3/2.25 ERA/90 SO/1.09 WHIP in 76 innings) and Carlos Beltran (.293/.334/.555 19 HR 54RBI).
Both are over 35-years-old (Hill 36, Beltran 39) and have been the respective anchors to their teams.
Player: Ian Desmond
Team: Seattle Mariners
As previously mentioned at the begginning of this post, the Texas Rangers have been red hot this season. Desmond has been a big reason for that success.
The longtime infielder has been more than comfortable with his new role in the outfield and is slashing .319/.374/.522 with 15HR and 54RBI.
Also out of the AL West are the Seattle Mariners.
The M’s might be sitting at 43-43 in third place and nine-and-a-half games back from first place, but, the .500 ballclub is only four games back from a Wild Card spot.
A second half surge could see the Mariners end a 14-year-old post-season drought.
Player: Dee Gordon
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Just when you thought the majors had a handle on PED use, it reared it’s ugly head once more. And no name was more dissapointing to see involved than Dee Gordon’s.
There was so much hope after standout seasons in 2014 and 2015, however, “The Flash” will remain out until this August and undoubtedly lost a great deal of respect among fans and players alike.
At 38-49 and in last place of the NL West division, it’s safe to say the Diamondbacks won the winter meetings, but have lost mightly this summer.
- Alex Rodriguez passes Dave Winfield for 19th all-time in career hits with 3,111. A-Rod also passes Derek Jeter for games (2,748 at 26th all-time) and doubles (545 at 30th all-time).
- Albert Pujols passes Harmon Killebrew for 11th on the all-time HR list (574), passes Todd Helton for 16th on the career doubles list (593), and surpassed Honus Wagner on the all-time RBI list at 21st (1,733).
- David Ortiz passes Cal Ripken Jr. for 13th all-time in doubles (604), passes three players including Ted Williams for 19th on the all-time HR list (522), and passes Frank Thomas for 22nd all-time in RBI (1,705).
- Ichiro Suzuki passes Sam Rice for 30th on the all-time hits list with 2,988 and is now 10 hits shy of 3,000 (2,990).
- Mark Texeira reaches 400HR for his career.
- C.C. Sabathia (23rd) passes Chuck Finley (24th), Tom Glavine (25th), Warren Span (26th), and Bob Feller (27th) with 2,611 career strikeouts.
- Bartolo Colon (49th) passes both Dwight Gooden (50th) and Lefty Grove (51st) for career strikeouts with 2,300.
- Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, and John Lackey all earn 2,000th career strikeout. Scott Kazmir, Jered Weaver, and Ubaldo Jimenez all notch 1,500th strikeout. Stephen Strasburg and Chris Young get 1,000th career strikeout.
- Jake Peavy and Zack Greinke reach the 150 career win mark, while Johnny Cueto and Kazmir earn their 100th career wins.
- Francisco Rodriguez earns his 400th career save (ranks 6th all-time passing Dennis Eckersley). Meanwhile Huston Street passes Jose Mesa for 17th all-time in saves (322), Fernando Rodney passes Dave Righetti for 33rd (253), and Craig Kimbrel passes Sparky Lyle for 35th (239).
- Bruce Bochy earns his 800th career Managerial win.
Baseball’s first half has been nothing short of a wild, unpredictable, and fantastically enjoyable roller coaster ride.
We can only hope the second half will be as thrilling.
After the All-Star break, regular season play will continue again with a full slate of games on July 15th.