Here we are, All-Star week is upon us in the MLB. This years MLB All-Star game will take place at Citi Field in Flushing, New York, Tuesday July 16th at 7:30pm. The Home Run Derby will take place on the prior evening at 8pm. Every year in fantasy baseball there will be surprises, and this year is no different. If any analyst that you follow on twitter/read would have mentioned the name Chris Davis as being top in the MLB power wise this year you would have laughed and unceremoniously 'unfollowed' that person. Jean Segura was getting some considerable hype coming in to the season and he has not disappointed, either. With the highs, come the lows, and the lows are low, like Matt Kemp and Jason Heyward low...
In this segment I'm going to be talking a few names in which have stood out in my mind and who are front runners for the Awards (from a Fantasy perspective). This will be the first part of a two part segment which will incorporate first half report cards for players. If you have any comments or questions feel free to post them on here, or by tweeting me @phillipbeneteau. Without further ado, let's jump right in to it!
First Half Awards:
MVP(AL): Miguel Cabrera (DET) : A huge high five must go out to Baltimore's Chris Davis, who finished the first half with 37 HRs and 93 RBIs. Davis has 7 more HRs than Cabrera, and only 2 less RBIs, but the real kicker for me is the batting average. While Davis is batting an impressive .315% on the year, Cabrera is footing an amazing .365% for the first half. Cabrera doesn't look like he slowing down, and because Chris Davis is relatively exceeding every and all expectations, it is still extremely possible for Cabrera to win back-to-back Triple Crowns. Now that right there must be one of the most impressive things to do in baseball, especially as a batter.
MVP(NL): Clayton Kershaw (LAD): This, for me is a 3-horse race, which will also take in to account the Cy Young Award. Kershaw takes the cake for me over two fellow AL All-Star pitchers including STL's A.Wainwright and the Mets M.Harvey. Kershaw is the only starting pitcher to have a sub 2.00 ERA coming in to the All-Star break, along with 3 complete games, a 0.91 WHIP along with a HR. Wainwright and Harvey will be breathing down Kershaw's neck in the second half, but if the Dodgers can start putting together some more wins for Kershaw, I don't see him relinquishing his Award.
Cy Young (AL): Max Scherzer (DET): Aside from his most recent performance, his first loss of the season, Scherzer has been a fantasy gem, and real life super hero for the Tigers. Scherzer is 2nd to Yu Darvish for strikeouts, but his wins (13) are tied for tops in the Majors. Scherzer has been the Ace on a team that has a former Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander, and has really come in to his own after a solid 2012 campaign, where he racked up 231 strikeouts. Scherzer will have some company at the top, with Yu Darvish on the DL for the time being and King Felix, who always seems to be lurking in the shadows.
Cy Young (NL): Adam Wainwright (STL): Impressive is an understatement for the season that Wainwright is hurling. He has one start left on Sunday night, but as to date, he has 12 wins, 4 complete games, 126 strikeouts, a 2.30 ERA, along with a sub 1.00 WHIP, but a huge stat for me is his 9/1 K/BB ratio. Clearly he is doing his job on the mound when you have a stat ratio like this. To put in to perspective, Kershaw (3.97 ratio) and Harvey (5.25 ratio). Both are impressive but nothing like a 9.00 ratio to make your eyes light up.
Rookie of the Year (AL): Leonys Martin (TEX): He has shown some difficulty hitting against southpaws, but that hasn't stopped Martin from being an all around performer. His 5 triples, 5 HRs, 19 SBs, and 16 RBIs make for an all around gem fantasy wise. While Martin is a clear all around gem, he has some tough company for this award, players such as Boston's Jose Iglesias, Seattle's Nick Franklin, and Tampa Bay's Wil Myers, who many analysts predict will be the Rookie of the Year come season's end.
Rookie of the Year (NL): Shelby Miller (STL): Miller has been pitching a gem for the Cardinals this season. With just one start in his career coming in to this season, Miller has been impressive compiling a sub 3.00 ERA, with 9 wins, one complete game, 112 strikeouts, and a 1.12 WHIP. This kid is an Ace in the making. Along with Martin, Miller has some company up at the top of this list. Dodger's rookie Yasiel Puig (who is the favourite for the rest of the season), Marlin's pitcher Jose Fernandez, and Braves' pitcher Julio Teheran. It wouldn't be a shock for a pitcher to win the NL ROY, but only time will tell is Puig can steal those honours.
Delivery Man of the Year (AL): Joe Nathan (TEX): With just one blown save on the year, Nathan has already racked up 30 saves. He also has a win to his credit and is working with a 1.36 ERA, 42 strikeouts in just 39.2 innings, as well as a 0.76 WHIP. You can ask for much better from your closer. A couple names to keep in mind during the second half will be Pittsburgh's Jason Grilli, as well as KC's Greg Holland.
Delivery Man of the Year (NL): Craig Kimbrel (ATL): Kimbrel was suppose to drop off hard after last season's impressive year, but he has managed to live up to the hype. Kimbrel has gone 26/29 in save opportunities this season as well as managing a .153 ERA and sub 1.00 WHIP. At this point, I have J.Papelbon and the Cardinals E.Mujica in the hunt, but Kimbrel has really stood out for this award.
That's it for the first half! I hope you enjoyed the read and I hope that you have at least one of these players on your fantasy team!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to tweet me @phillipbeneteau!