The 2015 Major League Baseball season is approaching the half way point giving us an opportunity to give out some early awards to some deserving players and manager around the game. As we look at who is deserving of the awards for Manger of the Year, Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year the debate could made for multiple candidates.
So many players are having a good first half at the plate including Prince Fielder who missed most of last season. Fielder is currently leading the league with a .344 batting average to go with 47 runs batted in. On the mound, Felix Hernandez leads is tied for the overall lead in Major League Baseball while Sonny Gray has dominated with a 1.60 earned run average.
Then as we look at the teams that have done well a few teams have stood out for a possible Manager of the Year candidate including the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros. The Rays both currently sit atop their respective divisions while the Twins sit in second place in the American League Central division.
The hardest of the awards might be the American League Rookie of The Year Award as no one single player has stood out like in the National League. Some of the early favorites are Steven Souza for the Tampa Bay Rays, Devon Travis for the Toronto Blue Jays and even Delino Deshields Jr for the Texas Rangers.
Here is our list of award winners in the American League.
Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays: While we tossed around many names including A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros, Paul Molitor for the Minnesota Twins, Joe Giradi for the New York Yankees as well as Kevin Cash for the Rays. While we really love what the Astros are doing over in the American League West we feel what the Rays are doing in the American League East is even better.
As you look at this Rays team outside of Evan Longoria who do they really have to compete with the big lineups of the East as you look at players like Chris Davis, Mark Teixeira, Jose Bautista and David Ortiz? In the end the Rays still hold the lead in the division as they have played 67 games. Flash back a few months I would have said they had an up and coming star in Will Myers but the team elected to move him in a trade with the San Diego Padres.
Now a co-manager of the year wouldn’t disappoint me either as Hinch has the Astros with the best record in the American League. Only reason I put him second is we all could see some potential in players like George Springer and Chris Carter to produce some firepower. Then you have Molitor who had the Twins in first place for a few days in a difficult decision.
Then you have Giradi who might be doing the best of any of them as the team has dealt with key injuries in the years past but that hasn’t slowed them down this year.
Sonny Gray, Oakland A’s: The American League Cy Young could go a few different directions including Sonny Gray, Chris Archer for the Tampa Bay Rays, Dallas Keuchel for the Houston Astros and David Price for the Detroit Tigers. Of those guys Gray has been brilliant for a the A’s this year pitching to a 1.60 earned run average over his 14 starts.
In those starts, Gray has allowed just 17 earned runs while striking out 88 batters helping him post an 8-3 record. Gray is also carrying the best wins above replacement average at 4.2 for any pitcher in the American League.
Now for the other candidates Keuchel has been strong for the Astros this year going 8-2 with a 2.04 earned run average in 14 starts. Then you have Chris Archer who is 7-4 with an American League high of 113 strike outs to go with an even two earned run average. The last man in the running is David Price who is 6-2 with a 2.50 earned run average.
Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers: If this was just a month earlier we would have Nelson Cruz as the American League MVP. That being said the Seattle Mariners designated hitter has struggled of late causing his batting average to drop while his home run totals have been stuck at 18. This has opened up the door for the Rangers first baseman.
Fielder is putting together one of the best seasons of his career as he enters the second to last week of June with a .344 batting average. The Rangers first baseman has also scored 34 runs, picked up 14 doubles, hit 11 home runs and driven in 47 runs for a team that has made a run of late to catch the Astros in the American League West division.
Following Fielder in our books would be Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers who is hitting .342 with 15 home runs and 51 runs driven in. Other names in consideration is Cruz for the Mariners, Mike Trout for the Los Angeles Angels, Albert Pujols for the Angels, Jason Kipnis for the Cleveland Indians and Josh Donaldson for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays: Despite being on the disabled list since May 16th, Travis leads our American League Rookie of the Year award. The Blue Jays second baseman still ranks among the tops of rookies in batting average with a .271, home runs with seven and runs batted in with 26. The Blue Jays are hoping, Travis can rejoin the team this weekend against the Baltimore Orioles.
One player to watch though is the Rays outfielder Souza who has 13 home runs to go with 30 runs batted in. If the Rays young star can raise his batting average about 25 to 30 points he could take home this award hands down. Then you have guys like Carson Smith for the Seattle Mariners who has 1.65 earned run average in 29 relief appearances.