MLB American League first half awards

Edwin Encarnacion had a powerful first half of the 2014 season and has the Blue Jays in first place in the AL East (©GettyImages)

For as exciting as the National League has been throughout the first half of the season, the American League has been just as exciting.

Detroit, Toronto, and Oakland all are on top of their respective division, with the biggest lead being a 5 1/2 game lead for the A's in the West. The Tigers were one of the hottest teams out of the gate, but found themselves struggling a bit at the beginning of the month, but still manage to lead the Central at this point. The Blue Jays are on top of the East which has been almost flipped upside down from last year. Again, the East will likely be decided in the final few days of the season.

The American League is filled with superstars, some who continue to be great, others are rookies that have made a huge impact on the league already.

When it comes to MVP talks, there are plenty of possible names to choose from. Jose Abreu, Victor Martinez, Edwin Encarnacion, and Nelson Cruz are all likely candidates for the first half AL MVP, not to mention, the reigning two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. All of these players are candidates for the awards as there numbers are incredibly similar in many ways. Abreu, Cruz, and Encarnacion are all tied with 25 home runs apiece, and have at least 64 RBIs so far this season. The batting averages between the three ranges from just .278-.284. This may turn out to be one of the closest AL MVP races in recent memory, if their second half is anything like the first.

American League Most Valuable Player: Edwin Encarnacion

Others in Contention: Nelson Cruz, Jose Abreu, and Victor Martinez

When talking about American League Cy Young candidates, two pitchers are at the top of the list. Both Felix Hernandez, and rookie Masahiro Tanaka are favorites. Again, a very close call with both pitchers having the same 2.10 ERA. Tanaka has a record of 11-3 with three complete games, and King Felix is 10-2. Both have struck out over 120 batters and have a WHIP under 1.00. 

American League Cy Young: Masahiro Tanaka

Others in contention: Felix Hernandez and Mark Buehrle

The American League Manager of the Year is a rather easy choice. Oakland holds the best record in the majors at 51-30. Toronto has bounced back from a disappointing 2013 season, and have had a solid first half and control the East. 

American League Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin

Others in contention: John Gibbons and Buck Showalter

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