MLB First Half Recap

2011 has been a crazy year so far and it’s only half way over.  In major league baseball, the same craziness can be shown in the standings for the first half.  However, the upcoming months will separate the contenders from the pretenders.

For now, here is a look back at a very close and tight first half of the 2011 MLB season.

A.L. MVP:  Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox.  He was quite possibly the best accusation in the off-season this past winter and he has proved to be all he was said to be.  He leads both leagues in batting average, runs batted in, doubles and hits.  He is also top five in many other categories, including runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.  Gonzalez is hitting .354 with 17 home runs and 77 RBI’s this season.

N.L. MVP: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers.  I know some of you won’t agree with me on this one, but let me just say the N.L. MVP is for grabs. Albert Pujols is not having the year (maybe he will heat up,) he is use to having so this award could go to anybody.  Fielder has been solid all year for the Brew Crew and could lead them to a division title. He is hitting .298 with 22 home runs and 72 RBI’s so far this season.

A.L. Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers.  This award is also a tough one to give out as well but I believe Verlander will when it this year.  He has been outstanding this year and if he has a solid second half, he will more than likely win it.  Verlander is 12-4 with a 2.15 earned run average and has 147 strikeouts this year.  He has also thrown a no-hitter this season.

N.L. Cy Young: Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies.  I think even though most of the attention goes to the other three main pitchers on the staff, Hamels stats wise, has been the best one.  Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay will both be up for the award as well so it will be intriguing to see who wins it.  Hamels is 11-4 with a 2.32 ERA.

A.L. Rookie of the year: Al Alburquerque, Detroit Tigers.  Although I know he will not win the award because he is a relief pitcher, I feel he deserves some recognition.  He has been solid for a Tigers bullpen that was off to a rough start but has been pitching well lately. Alburquerque is 5-1 with a 2.79 ERA.

N.L. Rookie of the year: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves.  He has a legitimate chance to win this award.  He has been a solid closer for the Braves and being a rookie, that’s a tough task to achieve.  Kimbrel is 2-2 with a 2.35 ERA and 28 saves so far.

Surprising teams thus far: Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals.

Indians: The tribe are only .5 games back of division leading Detroit, but I feel they will be around for the rest of the year.  They have shocked everyone to this point with their decent pitching and timely hitting so why not stick around in a fairly weak A.L. Central?

Pirates: Pittsburgh was off the radar again this year until people realized they were playing .500 ball in another weak division, the N.L. Central.  They find themselves only a game back of St. Louis and the Brewers.  Manager Clint Hurdle, will be a choice for manager of the year if he keeps this up and the Pirates could steal the N.L. Central.

Nationals: The Nationals have had an interesting year to say the least.  They didn’t get off to the best start in the world but have played great baseball recently thanks to the young arms on the team.  They also have had their manager Jim Riggleman resign in the middle of a winning streak and now have Davey Johnson as the new manager.  However, they are only playing .500 ball in the best division in the MLB, the N.L. East. Keep in mind they are doing this with out their two best prospects Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

Well, this season has brought tons of excitement and action in the first half and let’s hope it keeps up in the second half.  Enjoy the All-Star break and be sure to tune in to the Home Run Derby tonight and the actual game tomorrow night.  It looks to be a good one as usual.  Remember, this one counts.

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