MLB Early Season Awards

Baseball season is now entering June, but it is never too early to start giving out some early season awards! We have had plenty of early season surprises in 2015, including fantastic starts by the Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, and New York Mets to go along with disastrous starts by the Oakland Athletics, Miami Marlins, and Milwaukee Brewers. Here are my early season picks for all the major MLB award categories.

NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

Harper has been the undeniable MVP thus far in the National League.

As of May 31, Harper has hit 18 home runs, to go along with a .325 batting average, for the 28-22, NL East-leading Nationals. This is a team that has been battling injuries to many of its key players, but a strong pitching staff and the power surge put on by the 22-year old Harper make this an easy pick. I don’t see Harper slowing down this production any time soon.

AL MVP: Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners

Cruz has been one of the only positives in Seattle besides King Felix.

The guy can flat out hit. He hit in Texas, he hit in Baltimore, and now he’s hitting in Seattle. I thought there was a curse about going to Seattle in free agency. Everyone who signs there usually forgets how to hit. But wait, Nelson Cruz is currently hitting .335 with 18 home runs? The Mariners are currently 6.5 games back in the division, but I expect Seattle to fight for a playoff berth. Cruz will continue to be a big part of it all season long.

NL Cy Young: Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals

Wacha keeps winning in St. Louis with Adam Wainwright done for the year.

Wacha began making headlines during the Cardinals’ World Series run in 2013, but injuries plagued Wacha throughout the 2014 season. So what happens in 2015? Former Cy Young Award winner Adam Wainwright goes down for the season in April with a torn Achilles, and Wacha takes control of the starting rotation. The Cardinals, at 33-17, possess the MLB’s best record, to date, and Wacha has been a huge part of that. In his first nine starts of 2015, Wacha is 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA.

AL Cy Young: Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros

Keuchel has been one of many surprises in Houston.

Who? Yes, that’s right. Dallas Keuchel is currently sitting at 7-1 with a 1.75 ERA, and the young Astros hold a 4 game lead atop the AL West. Don’t expect this Astros team to let up easily. They’ve got some major talent, and I expect them to look into acquiring some key pieces via trades in July. Keuchel is anchoring this young pitching staff.

NL Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

Despite his later call-up than most Cubs fans hoped, Bryant has been destroying the ball.

Bryant got the highly anticipated call to the Big Leagues in mid-April, and he has not disappointed one bit for the Cubs. He currently leads the team with 32 RBI, and is hitting .281 with seven home runs. I expect the power numbers to continue increasing for Bryant throughout the season, and he could finish with a .280 batting average and 25 home runs. I only see one player competing with Bryant for this award throughout the season—Mets phenom pitcher Noah Snydergaard.

AL Rookie of the Year: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

Betts is a star in the making in Boston.

Betts is only hitting .246, but he has really solidified his place at the top of the Red Sox order for the years to come. He frequently incites rallies, and is a phenomenal defensive center fielder, after converting from second base in the minor leagues just a season ago. Betts is still only 22 years old, and I expect him to improve as the season progresses. I could see a .270 batting average, 10 home runs, and 25 stolen bases by the end of the season.

NL Comeback Player of the Year: Matt Harvey, New York Mets

The Dark Knight has had a great bounce-back year in Queens.

Harvey made an amazing MLB debut in 2013, along with earning the All-Star Game start, but unfortunately suffered a right elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. After missing all of the 2014 season recovering from the surgery, Harvey has played a significant role thus far in the Mets’ red hot start to the season. Harvey is currently sitting at a 5-3 record, with a 3.11 ERA, in his first 10 starts of the season.

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers

Fielder could be AL MVP with his year so far.

Fielder, after going to Texas before the 2014 season in a shocking trade with Detroit, missed the majority of 2014 after suffering a season-ending neck injury last May that required surgery. Not much was mentioned of Fielder over this past offseason, but he is quietly leading the American League with a .359 batting average, to go along with 10 home runs and 38 RBI. He is the anchor to a powerful Rangers lineup.

NL Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals

Matheny has continued Tony La Russa’s success in St. Louis.

Every year, this team gets a year older. This year, not only are they older, but they have suffered major injuries to two key players—ace Adam Wainwright, and now first baseman, Matt Adams. Matheny has played all the right cards, once again, in 2015. The Cardinals currently hold the MLB’s best record, and they are once again going to run away with the NL Central division crown.

AL Manager of the Year: Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins

Molitor has the Twins with the best record in the AL at the end of May.

This one was the toughest of them all. It was between two managers entering their first season as manager. Molitor and Houston’s A.J. Hinch are both equally deserving of this award, but I’m going to go ahead and give it to Molitor right now. But seriously, I could flip a coin so I’m going to discuss both. Hinch had very little success as a manager with the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2009-2010 seasons; however, he has really energized this young, up-and-coming Astros team and figures to be the long-term solution as Houston’s top prospects begin to rise to the majors. Molitor, on the other hand, has never been a MLB manager prior to this season. A Hall-of-Fame player during his playing days with the Brewers, Blue Jays, and Twins, Molitor brings lots of baseball experience to his home state of Minnesota. He has taken a team with a mediocre lineup and mediocre pitching staff and turned it into a very competitive team, in arguably the most competitive division in all of baseball. Molitor gets my nod at this point of the season, but I am confident that one of these two will end up with the award at the end of the season.


ESPN Stats

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