You can argue the merits of creating midseason lists like this one almost as much as you can the picks themselves. I mean, what good is a half-season Cy Young Award? Does the name Jack Armstrong mean anything to you?
An April-through-June Manager of the Year can easily look like the biggest loser on the planet in September, and a rookie swinging it like God in May might very well be a minor leaguer come August. Perhaps it’s a meaningless exercise altogether, but when in Rome. Here are my midseason award picks, followed by a few opinions from the “experts.”
- National League Most Valuable Player: Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee; Russell Martin, catcher, Los Angeles, a close second.
- NL Cy Young: Tie, and in alphabetical order, Jake Peavy, San Diego, and Brad Penny, Los Angeles.
- NL Rookie of the Year: Hunter Pence, OF, Houston; followed by Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado.
- NL Manager of the Year: Ned Yost, Milwaukee; Bud Black a close second.
- AL MVP: Magglio Ordonez, OF, Detroit; Vladimir Guerrero, OF, LAA of A, second.
- AL Cy: Dan Haren, Oakland, followed by Josh Beckett of Boston, and Justin Verlander of Detroit. In the end it’ll be Johan Santana of the Twins, winning the actual award, per usual.
- AL Rookie: Reggie Willits, OF, LAAA.
- AL Manager: Jim Leyland, Detroit.
Jayson Stark, ESPN.com:
All around [Brad Penny], Dodgers starters keep going down like the Titanic. But Penny just keeps getting better. So after all those years when people wondered whether this guy’s light bulb would ever go on, this just in: It’s burning brighter than the Dodger Stadium light towers. There are Cy Young arguments to be made down the freeway for Jake Peavy and Chris Young. But although Peavy pulled even with Penny in quality starts Thursday night (both have 15 in 18 appearances) and passed him in ERA (2.19 to 2.39), we’d still give Penny a microscopic edge. Nobody can match those 13 starts in which Penny has given up one or no earned runs. Or the three extra-base hits he’s allowed all year with runners in scoring position. Or his most astounding feat of all — giving up a home run in only one of his first 17 starts (June 3 in Pittsburgh, when Jason Bay and Adam LaRoche got him). People may have scratched their heads when this guy was picked to start last year’s All Star Game. But nobody deserves to start this year’s edition more than Penny.
Jon Heyman, SI.com, rates the NL Cy candidates this way:
“1. Jake Peavy, Padres. A threat to dominate every time out.
2. Chris Young, Padres. Tony La Russa must have anti-Ivy League bias to leave him off the original team. No way should the ERA leader (not to mention a 10-game winner) be left at home.
3. Brad Penny, Dodgers. Alyssa Milano’s other boyfriends (Barry Zito, Carl Pavano) are in the tank. But this guy has come off the trading block to form the top of a great one-two punch with Derek Lowe (who prefers TV sports types).”
And finally, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan :
Chris Young and Jake Peavy, San Diego Padres — Too close to call. Young is 8-3, Peavy 9-3. Young’s ERA is 2.00, Peavy’s 2.19. Both have allowed seven more baserunners than innings pitched. Peavy has more strikeouts. Young has a better batting average against. Hey, since they’re teammates, they might split the vote anyway. End of season: Young — He won a best-of-seven coin flip.
— HOWARD COLE