By Evan Roberts
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1. Texas Rangers
Ever since April 8th the Rangers have maintained a hold of 1st place in the AL West. But lets face it, Texas hasn’t really played great baseball in a few months. Look, this is a team that has been all the way to the World Series two straight years, so you have to wonder if there is some boredom involved. That or the injuries in the rotation.
2. New York Yankees
No CC and no Andy but the Yankees still closed out the first half with a strong showing against Boston. This bullpen continues to be one of the main reasons the Yankees have been able to overcome 1st half injuries. Rafael Soriano is showing the world that he still can be the guy that dominated the American League 2 years ago when the led the league in saves. Unless Evan Longoria comes back, the Yankees may run away with the AL East.
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3. Washington Nationals
Here is the question for the Nats as they try to win there first division title in DC…what the heck are they going to do with Stephen Strasburg? He had an all star first half and has helped form a lethal 1-2 with Gio Gonzalez. But Mike Rizzo has talked openly about an inning limit on Stephen that won’t change due to a pennant race. But are they really going to shut down the ace of the staff during the heat of September?
4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
After a brutal start the Angels are playing the way we all envisioned. Is it that Jered Weaver is healthy again? Is it that Mark Trumbo is having an amazing season? Is it that Albert Pujols has looked like Albert Pujols after a horrendous start? Is it that they finally found a closer? All this is true, but the real spark has been Mike Trout.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
I think this team is for real. Yes they collapsed last year, but this rotation is too good. Andrew McCutchen is becoming the star we all thought as he led the Pirates to winning six-of-seven going into the break. Neal Huntington owes this fan base a significant trade before the deadline…this team could use another bat.
6. Chicago White Sox
Another big first half surprise has been the White Sox. Kevin Youkilis looks like a different man since he switched Sox. Speaking of looking completely different, Adam Dunn was an all star this season after looking like me at the plate last year. Plus the emergence of Chris Sale and the re-emergence of Jake Peavy has anchored the rotation.
7. San Francisco Giants
Forget the fact they are in thick of things in the NL West, how about what they did in the All-Star game! Melky Cabrera took MVP honors after an incredible first half, plus Pablo Sandoval who only started at third because of Giant fans vote stuffing broke the game open with a three-run triple. This rotation is still the major strength minus the weak link…Tim Lincecum.
8. Baltimore Orioles
The O’s are hanging in there…and ownership thinks they are legit. Rumors are starting to spread that Baltimore could be players for Zach Greinke if the Brewers decide to move him before the deadline. This first half has been great for O’s fans because the mega prospects Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy aren’t even here yet, but they still remain in thick of the wild card race.
9. Cincinnati Reds
Things get intense for Cincy right out of the break as they host division rival St. Louis for a three-game series at Great American Ballpark. Joey Votto had an MVP caliber 1st half, but the strength has been the starting pitching. Johnny Cueto has pitched like an ace and Mat Latos is finally starting to come into his own. This is still the most talented team in the NL Central.
10. New York Mets
Despite losing two-of-three to Chicago the Mets had a very surprising 1st half of the season. Are they for real? That’s the million dollar question. The Mets have had horrible 2nd haves recently and will need the starting pitching to remain the strength. The bullpen has been awful all season but they have gotten away with it so far.
MID SEASON AWARDS
AL MVP: Mike Trout
Ever since Trout was called up, the Angels have been on fire. This 20 year-old can do it all…hit for power (12 home runs), hit for a high average (.346) and he has great speed (leading the AL in steals). But most of all … look at the Angels record since he was called up.
NL MVP: Andrew McCutchen
Not only does he have sick numbers, but he IS the Pirates offense.
AL Cy Young: Jered Weaver
This was very close between Weaver and Chris Sale. But despite spending time on the DL, Weaver hurled a no-hitter, has an ERA under two, and leads the AL in WHIP
NL Cy Young: R.A. Dickey
RA has been Tim Wakefield circa 1995 … he leads the NL in most pitching categories and made history when he hurled back to back 1 hitters.
AL ROY: Mike Trout
NL ROY: Wade Miley
I know, I know…Bryce Harper, Bryce Harper. Nah, not really … Wade Miley has 9 wins, an ERA just over three and has already thrown 100 innings. As of now, he’s the guy.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below.