Over the last three days, I've posted my projection of each division in baseball for the second half of the season. While I wrote those with the idea of what team would go on to win the division in the second half, I'm going to approach my mid-season awards with a slightly different mentality.
I'll hand out MVP and Cy Young awards today now that we're just about half way done with the MLB regular season. These are not projections for who will end up taking home the hardware when it matters. My only criteria is assessing a winner if the season were to end today. Here are you're AL and NL Most Valuable Players:
American League - Mike Trout
There's really just no other direction to go here. Mike Trout is the best player in the game and with Miguel Cabrera on the outside looking in on the American League triple crown, this should be the year Trout takes home the most prestigious award for a position player.
Not only do I think Trout will end up winning the award by season's end, but he definitely deserves it at this point in the season. He leads the AL with a 1.017 OPS. And he's the only player with both an OBP over .400 and a slugging percentage over .600. He's also hit 18 home runs and driven in 59 runs, which is good enough for sixth best in the AL.
More importantly, Trout has his Angels on the cusp of a playoff berth after a disappointing season last year and after Josh Hamilton went down at the beginning of the season, only to just return recently. The only way Trout won't wind up winning this award is if his Angels miss the playoffs. And even if they do, there's still a strong chance he ends up being the MVP. 2014 will be the first of many MVP's for the great Mike Trout.
National League - Jonathan Luccroy
This pick will probably shock many who consider Troy Tulowitzki the Most Valuable Player in the National League. It's really difficult to argue against Tulo, who has been the best player in baseball (along with Trout) by just about all of the numbers. But with the Rockies fading fast from the playoff race, and the Brewers leading the Major League's in wins, Jonathan Luccroy deserves major recognition for what he does in Milwaukee.
Luccroy's first half reminds me of Yadi Molina's start last year. Known for his defense, Luccroy is hitting .334 with an OBP over .400 in his best offensive season yet. He's also driven in 42 runs, which puts him close to Tulowitzki in just about every category - though still behind. But it's what he does defensively, and for this Brewers pitching staff that puts him over the top. Luccroy is an incredible teammate and cerebral baseball player. And there's simply no way Milwaukee is in the playoff race without him. He's the most indispensable player in the game right now. And for that reason, he deserves the MVP at this juncture of the season.
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