Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Most teams have now played 50 games, nearly one-third of the season. So let’s take a look at the early leaders for each of the four major awards in the American and National Leagues…American League MVP: JOSH HAMILTON, Texas Rangers
Hamilton is having a monster season and the only thing that might keep him from winning this award unanimously is his health. He is hitting .368 and is still on pace for 67 home runs. Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox is in the picture with his .381 batting average. But considering he is hitting .424 on balls he hits fair, few people think he can keep up this pace. Also, if voters took defence into consideration, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles would get some votes. He is hitting .316 with 16 home runs and gold glove defence.
National League MVP: JOEY VOTTO, Cincinnati Reds
This one is wide open now that Matt Kemp of the L.A. Dodgers is heading back to the disabled list for the second time with a hamstring issue that looks like it will linger all season. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers is making a case to win the award for the second year in a row, but the writers will likely penalise him for his positive drug test that was later overturned on what most deemed a technicality. That leaves Joey Votto (.325-8-29) and David Wright, who will need to maintain his .365 batting average and have the New York Mets be in the pennant race late in the year.
American League Cy Young: JUSTIN VERLANDER, Detroit Tigers
If Josh Hamilton wasn’t having such a big year, Verlander might win his second AL MVP award. He is clearly one of the most dominant players in baseball and his 2.55 ERA (2.31 FIP) shows that he is still the best pitcher in the AL.
National League Cy Young: GIO GONZALEZ, Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg gets all the headlines, and his numbers are also solid. But he isn’t even the best pitcher on the Nationals. That would be Gio who has a 2.04 ERA (1.94 FIP) and has struck out 79 batters in just 61.2 innings. One player to keep on eye on is Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers. His 3.66 ERA is not great. But his 2.12 FIP suggests that he has pitched much better than his ERA, and could be in for a big season.
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