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Who deserves the midseason awards for the American League?

BY DI STAFF | JULY 01, 2015 5:00 AM

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MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

This is an easy one. It may sound like a broken record, but Miggy is near the top of the leaderboard in all three Triple Crown categories this season.

His .349 batting average is tops in the AL, and he’s 1 RBI ahead of Mark Teixeira and Stephen Vogt for the league lead with 53. His home-run pace probably won’t be enough to get him to the top of the leaderboard, but 15 before July — especially playing in a cold weather city in pitcher-friendly Comerica Park — is more than respectable.

Three MVP awards in four years is a very safe bet for the AL’s best hitter.

Cy Young: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

Screw wins for pitchers. For my money, it’s the most overrated statistic in baseball. Because the Sox are the offspring of a Dumpster fire and a train wreck, and Sale is one of two South Siders having respectable seasons (Jose Abreu being the second), the best pitcher in the AL has only 6 wins — and I wouldn’t put any action on him finishing with more than 12.

Throw away that stat, and look at meaningful pitching metrics such as WAR and FIP, and you’ll see how great Sale has been. According to Fangraphs, Sale leads the AL in both categories with a 3.4 and 2.10, respectively.

Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays

Let’s recap the Rays’ off-season. On Oct. 14, 2014, Tampa lost General Manager Andrew Friedman to the Dodgers, where he became the president of baseball operations. Ten days later, top-tier manager Joe Maddon opted out of his contract to take a job with the Chicago Cubs.

Disaster, right? Wrong.

Cash and new GM Matthew Silverman have the Rays five games over .500 and tied for first place in the AL East.

— Danny Payne

MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Is there anything this guy can’t do?

Trout is known for having an amazing bat (he is hitting .300/.389/.575 for a 172 OPS+ that’s somehow better than his career figure), but his glove is exceptional, as well.

Trout’s fielding consistently makes the highlight reel, robbing opponents of game-winning hits (cough, A’s) and showing that his All-Star performance is a normal routine.

The man is besting his impressive career work, and this season, he has cut down his strikeout rate, making him even more valuable than before.

Right now, Trout and Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera are neck and neck in almost every batting statistic. If the Angels do well in the postseason and the Tigers continue to struggle, Trout will win the MVP for the second year in a row.

Chris Archer: RHP Tampa Bay Rays

In his last seven starts, Archer has struck out 63 batters and walked just 5.

He’s been the American League’s top pitcher all year. In his first 13 starts, he has cruised to a 7-4 record with a 1.84 ERA, striking out 108 batters and walking just 20 in 83 innings.  He leads the AL in Ks and ranks second in ERA and third in WHIP.

In his last start, against Boston, he allowed 5 runs but caused a healthy dose of whiffs, hitting the double-digits in strikeouts for the fifth time this year. The 5 earned runs should be a small blip on the radar. Archer has easily been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this season, and we should expect him to get back to his usual dominance in his next start, versus the New York Yankees.

Manager: A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros

The only competitor A.J. Hinch has for Manager of the Year is Kansas City Royals’ manager Ned Yost. Yost’s opportunity came last season, and if the Royals don’t win the pennant for the second year in a row, his chances are history.

Meanwhile, Hinch has managed to take a team that went 70-92 with a  .432 winning percentage last year and miraculously turned it into a top contender in the AL West, currently in first place. The Astros are four games ahead of the Angels, which should feel pretty great heading into the All-Star break.

— Erin Erickson


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