Back in May, I took a look back at the first quarter of the Major League Baseball season. Now we’re halfway through the season, All-Star votes have been tallied, and it’s time again to take a step back and look at what’s been going on in baseball. Let’s take a look at our MVPs and Cy Youngs:
American League MVP – Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins – This one is close. Morneau’s overall numbers are probably the best so far. His teammate Joe Mauer is flirting with .400, but missed a good chunk of the earlier part of the season and there are 5-10 other players who could make a run for the award including guys like Evan Longoria, who were off to hot starts but may have struggled for parts of June and July.
National League MVP – Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals – No contest here. The Machine is tearing it up (.320, 14 HR, 35 RBI in June). He’s on pace to become the first guy since Roger Maris to hit 60 home runs and not be linked to steroids. There’s also a chance for him to contend for a triple-crown, which hasn’t been done in the NL since 1937 when Joe Medwick (coincidentally, also a St. Louis Cardinal) led the league in all three categories. This could be a historic season for Pujols and if he continues at anything close to this pace, he’ll be a lock to capture his third MVP award.
AL Cy Young – Zack Grienke, SP, Kansas City Royals – His ERA has been headed upward in recent weeks, but is still the lowest in the league and his 10 wins are tied for second in the AL (Tim Wakefield’s 11 wins are impressive, but his ERA is more than double Grienke’s). If he can keep it up for the remainder of the season, he should be able to fight off Roy Halladay and win his first Cy Young.
NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants – The Freak has been as dominant as usual this year. He’s on pace for 20+ wins and could top 300 strikeouts. If he should slip up any in the second half of the season, teammate Matt Cain isn’t far behind, and he or Dan Haren could keep Lincecum from attaining his second consecutive Cy Young. Oh, and check out this sliding throw to first from a few weeks ago (about 0:40 into that highlight). I’d give him the award for that alone.
Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly from the second quarter of the 2009 MLB season:
The Good – The San Francisco Giants pitching staff has been superb the last few weeks. Lincecum’s dominance could be expected, but Matt Cain has almost identical numbers, Randy Johnson is doing everything you could ask from a 45-year-old, Josh Wilson is tied for the NL lead in saves, and Jonathan Sanchez came out of nowhere to throw a no-hitter on Friday night. Their league-low team ERA has them in position to claim the wild card in the National League. The Giants’ pitching coach is Dave Righetti; give the man a raise.
The Bad – The Washington Nationals/Natinals continue to be the worst team in the league by no small margin. As someone from the D.C.-Baltimore area, its sad to see them bring baseball to the nation’s capital and have them become the laughing stock of the sport. They’ll be fortunate to win 55 games this year, which would continue the downward trend starting when they went .500 their first year in D.C.
The Ugly – While the previously mentioned Nationals have the lowest fielding percentage and most errors of any team in baseball, only the Mets’ fielders have deserved their own ESPN Not Top Ten. Check it out (sorry for the crappy quality), it’s definitely ugly, and the faceplant in #5 is one of my favorite bloopers ever:
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!