It’s now July and as we get into the All-Star Break and shortly after the Trade Deadline, the heat of the season will be upon us and that means fighting for playoff spots and individual awards. Halfway through the season, I’d like to take a look at the candidates that have emerged for the three major awards. First up is the Rookie of the Year.
OF Nomar Mazara, Texas: Mazara leads all AL rookies with 1.5 WAR and has a slash like of .287/.338/.434. He’s hit 11 home runs and has driven in 35 and scored 35 runs.
SP Michael Fulmer, Detroit: Fulmer leads all AL rookie pitchers with 1.4 WAR according to Fangraphs. Fulmer is 8-2 in 12 starts this season. He has a 8.92 K/9 rate, 2.17 ERA, and a 1.09 WHIP. He’s only surrendered 3 earned runs over his last 8 starts. Not only that, but if he were qualified, he would lead the AL in ERA.
OF Tyler Naquin, Cleveland: Naquin is second in AL rookie WAR with 1.3. Naquin’s slash line is .328/.390/.602. He has 6 long balls, 17 RBI, and 22 runs.
OF Hyoon-Soo Kim, Baltimore: Kim has 1.0 WAR this year. The Korean import has a .344/.433/.484 slash line. He has 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, and 17 runs.
1B Dae-Ho Lee, Seattle: Another Korean import, Lee has 0.9 WAR and a respectable .283/.327/.493 clip. He has 10 HRs, 32 RBIs, and 18 runs scored.
2B Whit Merrifield, Kansas City: With the departure of Omar Infante, Merrifield has seized the starting second base gig and has collected 1.2 WAR. Along with a .306/.327/.427 clip, Merrifield has 2 HRs, 14 RBIs, and 24 runs.
SS Aledyms Diaz, St. Louis: Along with 1.8 WAR and a .316/.374/.523 clip, Diaz has 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, and 50 runs scored.
SS Corey Seager, Los Angeles: With a whopping 3.7 WAR, Seager is the clear front runner as I expected during Spring Training. Along with a .299/.359/.540 clip, Seager has 17 HRs, 40 RBIs, and 53 runs.
SS Trevor Story, Colorado: The successor to Troy Tulowitzki has arrived. Besides 1.7 WAR and a .267/.334/.551 clip, Story has 19 HRs, 50 RBIs, and 47 runs.
SP Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles: Maeda leads all NL rookie pitchers with 2.0 WAR. He’s 7-5 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 starts. The Japanese pitcher is also striking out batters at a 8.64 K/9 rate.
SP Steven Matz, New York: Another year and another young Mets pitcher in the Rookie of the Year race. Similar to Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard before him, Matz has lived up to his expectations. Along with 1.8 WAR, Matz is 7-3 in 14 starts and a 3.40 ERA.
RP Seung-Hwan Oh, St. Louis: The “Final Boss” hasn’t been closing games like he was accustomed to in Asia, but he’s still pitching very well. In 39 appearances, he has 1.3 WAR, 11.93 K/9 rate, and a 1.58 ERA.
That’s a wrap! Who do you think are the front runners in these two races right now? Who are the dark horses?