With the 2015 MLB Season now about 40 or so games in, let's hand out some awards at the quarter pole. Now, we know that these awards aren't won after just a fourth of the season in the books, but we are far enough along to see who has jumped to the front in the various categories. Without further adieu, here are our 2015 MLB award winners through 5/26/15.
AL MVP: Nelson Cruz - Seattle Mariners
Nelson Cruz may not get the votes from the writers when it's all said and done because of his issues with PEDs in the past, but he sure has our vote right now. Cruz has been absolutely mashing the baseball and currently leads the AL in home runs with 17, is tied for second in RBIs with 35 and has an OPS of 1.086, which is tops in the AL. His 2.2 WAR is third in the league for guys who play in the outfield, which is pretty remarkable this early in the season for a guy who has a good arm but isn't really known as a great fielder. He is seeing better pitches in Seattle because he has a bit of protection around him in the line-up, and we don't see him slowing down any time soon. Others considered for this spot were Mike Trout (LA Angels), Miguel Cabrera (Detroit), Prince Fielder (Texas) and Josh Donaldson (Toronto).
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NL MVP: Bryce Harper - Washington Nationals
The kid is finally putting it all together and is living up to all the hype that surrounded him when he was the first overall pick out of The College of Southern Nevada in 2010. People forget that Harper is just 22 years old, and his new approach at the plate has paid huge dividends here in 2015. He currently leads the NL in homers with 16, is one behind Giancarlo Stanton for the RBI lead with 41, and his insane 1.198 OPS leads all of Major League Baseball. Harper also has 40 walks, nine more than any other National League Player, and his .333 average is well above his career number in that category. As long as Harper can stay healthy, he should be a shoe-in for this award at season's end. Others considered for this spot were Giancarlo Stanton (Miami), Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona), Adrian Gonzalez (LA Dodgers) and Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs).
AL CY YOUNG: Dallas Keuchel - Houston Astros
This one is really a two-horse race through 25 percent of the season between Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. We'll side with Keuchel here as he has his team in first place and has slightly better numbers than King Felix in all the counting categories. Hernandez leads in the win column over Keuchel (7-6), but Keuchel has a lower ERA, WHIP and has a higher WAR of 3.1 compared to the 2.4 of Hernandez. You really can't go wrong with either guy here, and it may be Felix's award to lose. He does have the better team around him in the long run, and he's won the award before. The Astros are playing good ball right now, but I'm in the camp that they won't be able to keep it up and Keuchel's numbers will falter a bit because of it. Others considered for this spot were Sonny Gray (Oakland), Nick Martinez (Texas) and Jake Odorizzi (Tampa Bay).
NY CY YOUNG: Michael Wacha - St. Louis Cardinals
Another close race, but we'll side with the guy who is sporting a 7-0 record, 1.87 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Other guys have a much higher WAR than Wacha, but part of that is due to innings pitched. The Cards have an excellent bullpen, and Wacha just goes out, pitches his six or so innings and turns it over to them. As his perfect record shows, this has been a recipe for success in St. Louis. We'd have one of the other undefeated starters, James Shields of the Padres, second here as he is 6-0 and he currently leads the league in strikeouts. Others considered for this award, and there are many, were Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh), Zack Greinke (Los Angeles), Shelby Miller (Atlanta), Matt Harvey (NY Mets) and Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco).
AL ROY: Devon Travis - Toronto Blue Jays
Slim pickings for this one, but we'll give it to the guy who has been a surprise so far in 2015. Travis is hitting a very respectable .271, and he's shown some power for a middle infielder, blasting seven homers while knocking in 26. He's been on the DL with a shoulder issue since 5/17, but he should be back to putting up quality numbers in the near future. Due to the injury to Travis, Tampa Bay rookie Steven Souza Jr. has worked his way into the conversation. Souza isn't quite the hitter for average that Travis has been this year, but he is a better power hitter. His play in the field will hurt him a bit as the season goes along, so we'll side with Travis for this one, even with the fact that he's missed time due to the injury. There were no other players considered for this spot.
NL ROY: Kris Bryant - Chicago Cubs
As long as Bryant stays healthy, he can clear a spot in his trophy case for this award as he all but has it locked up already. The only question coming into the season with him winning the ROY was when the Cubs were going to finally call him up. They did as soon they got their extra year of control by sending him to the minors, and Bryant has lived up to 100 percent of the hype that surrounded him during Spring Training. He is currently hitting .282 and has six home runs to go along with 30 RBIs. Bryant has also shown a bit of speed, stealing five bases in six chances, and his .400 OBP already is best out of all the starting 3B in the National League. Others considered for this spot were Joc Pederson, who is having a good year for the Dodgers, and Chris Heston, who is currently 4-3 starting for the Giants.
AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash - Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays were picked by many to finish last in the AL East. Through a fourth of the season, manager Kevin Cash has them in first place despite the fact that his pitching staff has been decimated by injures. It's been a smooth transition from Joe Maddon, who left Tampa for the Cubs job in the off season, and Cash has really been a pleasant surprise to the organization. They've always had a next-man-up mentality in Tampa, and Cash fits right in with that philosophy. He's getting the most out of his talent, most of it being of the younger variety, and he has the Rays playing very good baseball out of the gate. Others considered for this spot were AJ Hinch (Houston), Joe Girardi (NY Yankees), Jeff Banister (Texas) and Ned Yost (Kansas City).
NL Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny - St. Louis Cardinals
This one goes to the guy who has led his team to the best record in baseball through a quarter of the season. Mike Matheny once again has his Cardinals in first place in the NL Central, and it looks like they are going to be a force all year long, as usual. They never have any superstars on the roster, but Matheny puts together a bunch of guys who know how to go out there and win, and he's done that again in 2015. They have the pitching and bats to make a big run in the playoffs, and a World Series title would be the second for Matheny in just his fourth season. Fans were a bit worried when he took the job as he had no experience, but the Cardinals front office made the right decision once again, and it looks as if the team will be in good hands for many years to come with Matheny calling the shots. Others considered for this spot were Matt Williams (Washington), Bruce Bochy (San Francisco) and Joe Maddon (Chicago Cubs).
We'll take a look at these once again to see how our picks are producing at the All-Star Break, and then we'll compare them to the actual award winners in October to see either how close or how far off we really were back in May!
Alan Harris has earned 11 of 17 winning nights for his MLB handicapping, and he plans on keeping the profits rolling in all the way through the World Series. He is also on an 8-4 run for picks rated 5-Units or higher. You can find more info about his picks here. Also, get $60 worth of free picks from Harris - these are the same high-quality picks that members get every day - free and with no obligation. Click here for a quick signup.
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