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Brantley's 2024 Mid-Season MLB Awards

Hey, we're about to the halfway point of the year, so why not do a little fun activity and talk about the various MLB awards and who they'd go to if the season was stupidly this short?

We'll start with the AL and the hotly contested MVP award, going to...

AL MVP: Aaron Judge

The Yankee-hater in me really wanted to pick Gunnar Henderson, and if you want to get angry. Yell at me about how Henderson should be my pick if you so must; I won't resist. Henderson has the 0.1-Fangraphs-WAR edge, with a 177 wRC+, a whopping seven outs above average at the premium shortstop position, and provides 3.1 base running runs above average.

But man, it's hard to compete with Judge's 214 wRC+. Add in his acceptable defense in center and his average base running, and it's hard to dismiss the veteran outfielder, especially in light of his shift to a new position. The Yankees and Orioles are incredibly successful teams, so while the argument that MVPs can't be on bad teams is often erroneously and wrongly made, it doesn't apply to either player.

The fact is that Judge is the best hitter in the world right now by a wide margin. He's over 100% better than league average at the plate, putting up numbers we haven't seen from non-steroid users since legends like Williams, Mays, and DiMaggio roamed the Earth. He's the MVP, as much as I get nauseous typing it out.

AL Cy Young: Garrett Crochet

Crochet has been the subject of many trade rumors, and rightfully so, he's filthy, uncontrollable, and young. By the end of the year, we could be talking about him competing for an NL Cy Young instead, but for now, he's been the best pitcher in the AL.

He leads the majors in K/9 and fWAR while leading the AL in Fielding Independent Pitching. Crochet has been dealing with the worst team in baseball and what seems like a working environment only trailing Oakland for the worst in baseball, yet he has gone out and done his thing.

Tanner Houck and Tarik Skubal are worthy runner-up candidates, but I'll still choose Crochet for the main award.

AL Rookie of the Year: Colton Cowser

After such a strong start, Luis Gil seemed like a lock to win this award. And he could still bounce back from a few rough starts and claim this award.

But for now, Cowser has the lead in fWAR in an AL rookie class, which is a bit of a mixed bag. After Cowser and Gil, it's Mason Miller and Wilyer Abreu.

Cowser provides quite a bit of his value roaming the outfield, mostly in the expansive left field of Camden Yards, with an impressive nine outs above average, but he's more than competent at the plate, sporting a 113 wRC+ from the left side of the plate.

If Gil can return to more of a middle ground between his scorching start and recent struggles, he could win this award, but for now, I give Cowser a slight edge.

NL MVP: Shohei Ohtani

A DH winning an MVP in the NL is blasphemous, and I know I'm in the minority on this, but I miss the strategy behind pitchers' hitting, if not the miserable at-bats.

But back to Shohei. His hitting has been almost (ALMOST) as other-worldly as Judge's, with a 188 wRC+, but his speed and general ability on the base paths set him apart from the other elite DH Marcell Ozuna.

Fransisco Lindor is a fun YOLO runner-up if the Mets manage to sneak into the playoffs, and if Bryce Harper can return from injury and have a monster 2nd half (entirely possible), he could make a run for this award, too, as he's 0.7 fWAR behind Ohtani, providing some surprisingly solid defense at first and mashing like he's done throughout his career.

NL Cy Young: Tyler Glasnow

Yeesh, there are so many Dodgers and Yankees players on this list. I wouldn't say I like it, but they've been two of the best teams in baseball this year.

Glasnow trails Chris Sale slightly (by 0.1) in fWAR, but his higher innings and strikeout totals give him the edge over the former Red and White Sox ace.

The Cillian Murphy lookalike's issue has never been production; it's always been staying on the field, and this season, he's been able to do just that. Assuming that continues, I don't foresee anyone challenging the 6'8 former Ray.

NL Rookie of the Year: Joey Ortiz

Remember that prospect the Orioles traded to the Brewers for Corbin Burnes? Surprise, surprise, it turns out he's pretty good. Ortiz has been holding it down at third for the Brew Crew, with a 139 wRC+ and playing a wonderful third base. His 6 OAA mark makes him and shortstop Willy Adames one of baseball's best left-side infield defenses.

Several pitchers will challenge Ortiz for this spot, with Paul Skenes only just starting and looking like a superstar and Shota Imanaga hoping to get back to his early-season form, but don't sleep on Jackson Merrill.

The Padres' center fielder has made the switch from short look effortless and is an excellent at-bat with a 128 wRC+ and is above-average in baserunning value. Still, for now, Ortiz gets my vote.

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