MLB: Joe Smeltzer’s 2016 Mid-season Awards

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MLB Allstar Game AL Team
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

MVP: Jose Altuve

Stats: .341 Average (1st in AL), 119 Hits (1st) 14 homers, 51 RBI, 23 steals, .954 OPS
I love writing this because Altuve has long been one of my favorite players. The AL MVP race should only be close if the Astros miss the playoffs. Should that take place (I don’t think it will) than Boston’s David Ortiz or Baltimore’s Manny Machado would be worthy recipients. While we all would love to see Ortiz win it in his final season, he has three other All-Stars with him in the lineup. So I’m going with Altuve, at least for now, because he is the unquestioned leader of the Astros. He has led the way in pulling Houston out of the depths of a horrendous April and has the ‘stros primed for a deep run in October. Nobody in the American League means more to their team.

Cy Young: Danny Salazar

Stats: 10-3, 2.75 ERA, 171 ERA+ (1st), 10.1 K/9, 3.39 FIP, 1.175 WHIP
The case for the AL Cy Young will be  more interesting than the NL, but I give Salazar the edge. Pitchers such as Chris Sale of the White Sox and Steven Wright of the Red Sox also have legitimate cases, but Salazar’s Indians are winning more than both of those teams. If Salazar doesn’t get injured, the ball is in his court.

Rookie of the Year: Michael Fulmer

Stats: 9-2, 2.11 ERA, 1.096 WHIP, 3.53 FIP
Things could take a turn for the worst in the second half, but for now, Fulmer is not only a slam-dunk rookie of the year choice, but he is also a dark horse Cy Young candidate. The 23-year-old had been the ace of the Tiger staff, and no other AL newcomer has made as big of an impact on their team as young Fulmer has.

Rolaids relief man: Zach Britton

Stats: 27 Saves (1st) 0.72 ERA (1st) 10.3 K/9, 0.823 WHIP, 2.03 FIP
Not even close. I didn’t realize how awesome Britton had been until I looked at his stats while deciding who to pick for this award. I was blown away. Britton is having a Rivera-esque season, and his Orioles are in the hunt. When the O’s lead after 8 innings, it’s over.

Next: Managers of the Year