Taking stock of the first 1/3 of the season


Memorial Day and the beginning of June take place roughly at the 1/3 mark of the baseball season.

There’s still a lot of baseball to be played, but enough games are in the bank that we can start to analyze which teams look like contenders and which players are having really special years.

And we here at Sully Baseball are going to take a look at who the playoff teams are and who are the award winners with 2/3 of the season left to go.

There are some surprise playoff teams and at this writing some startling omissions. And the NL Rookie of the Year vote might change completely if Buster Posey and Stephen Strasburg have anything to say about it.

Let’s see where we are.

If the playoffs started today…

AL East Champion Tampa Bay Rays
Would have home field advantage over
AL West Champion Oakland A’s

AL Central Champion Minnesota Twins
Would have home field advantage over
AL Wild Card New York Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers would all be 3 games or fewer out of a playoff spot

NL West Champion San Diego Padres
Would have home field advantage over
NL Wild Card Cincinnati Reds

NL Central Champion St. Louis Cardinals
Would have home field advantage over
NL East Champion Atlanta Braves

Cardinals would be the Division Champ on the basis of their head to head record with the Reds.

Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies would all be 3 games or fewer out of a playoff spot.

AL MVP:
MIGUEL CABRERA, Tigers
Leads the league with 48 RBI. Also leads the league in slugging. Second in homers and OPS. Third in batting average and on base percentage.

In the running:
JUSTIN MORNEAU, Twins. KEVIN YOUKILIS, Red Sox. ROBINSON CANO, Yankees. EVAN LONGORIA, Rays. VLADIMIR GUERRERO, Rangers.

NL MVP:
ALBERT PUJOLS, Cardinals
Have you noticed than even with his “slump” he’s 1st in homers, 3rd in OPS, 3rd in on base percentage, 5th in RBI, and 6th in hits? Plus he’s batting .310 in his “disappointing first 2 months.” He’s the MVP until someone proves otherwise.

In the running:
ANDRE ETHIER, Dodgers. JASON HEYWARD, Braves. JOEY VOTTO, Reds.

AL CY YOUNG:
JON LESTER, Red Sox
Lowest batting average against. Second in strikeouts. Sub 3.00 ERA after terrible start. Tied for third in wins, 1 behind the co-leaders.

In the running:
DAVID PRICE, Rays. JEFF NIEMANN, Rays. PHIL HUGHES, Yankees.

NL CY YOUNG:
UBALDO JIMENEZ, Rockies
In a season full of dominating ace performances, his 10-1 record with a 0.78 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP (and a no hitter thrown in for good measure) make Jimenez the winner at the 1/3 mark.

In the running:
ROY HALLADAY, Phillies. TIM LINCECUM, Giants. ADAM WAINWRIGHT, Cardinals.

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
MITCH TALBOT, Indians.
6-3 record for the lowly Tribe. 3.73 ERA and a complete game victory in his second start this season.

In the running:
WADE DAVIS, Rays. AUSTIN JACKSON, Tigers. BRENNAN BOESCH, Tigers.

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
JASON HEYWARD, Braves.
He’s all that he has been hyped up to be. Hits for power, for solid average and has a flair for the dramatic.

In the running:
MIKE LEAKE, Reds. IKE DAVIS, Mets. DAVID FREESE, Cardinals. JAIME GARCIA, Cardinals.

AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR:
JOE MADDON, Rays.
Guiding the young and talented Rays back to the top of the most brutal division in baseball and has the best record in the game.

In the running:
BOB GEREN, Athletics. RON WASHINGTON, Rangers. RON GARDENHIRE, Twins. CITO GASTON, Blue Jays. JOE GIRARDI, Yankees.

NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR:
DUSTY BAKER, Reds.
Has the Reds tied for first place going into June and doing so with solid pitching and clutch hitting. Don’t wear out those young arms!!!

In the running:
BUD BLACK, Padres. BOBBY COX, Braves. JOE TORRE, Dodgers. BRUCE BOCHY, Giants.

AL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
VERNON WELLS, Blue Jays
Unwanted and untradeable a year ago, now has a .301 average, a .956 OPS, leads the league in doubles and has 13 homers, 2 shy of his total last year over 158 games!

In the running:
VLADIMIR GUERRERO, Rangers. ALEX RIOS, White Sox. TY WIGGINGTON, Orioles. ERVIN SANTANA, Angels.

NL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
CARLOS SILVA, Cubs
Has given the Cubs a sparkling 7-0 record with a respectable 3.12 ERA… and the Cubs would have taken a can of Sprite for Milton Bradley!

In the running:
BARRY ZITO, Giants. TIM HUDSON, Braves. LIVAN HERNANDEZ, Nationals.

BIGGEST BUST IN THE AL:
JOSH BECKETT, Red Sox
Signs a 5 year contract extension and wins a single game and has an ERA of 7.29 before he lands on the DL.

In the running:
CHONE FIGGINS, Mariners. AARON HILL, Blue Jays. GRADY SIZEMORE, Indians. MILTON BRADLEY, Mariners

BIGGEST BUST IN THE NL:
CARLOS LEE, Astros
Low average. Bad on base percentage. Lackluster power. All for $19 million!

In the running:
MARK DeROSA, Giants. ARAMIS RAMIREZ, Cubs. AKI IWAMURA, Pirates. EDWIN JACKSON, Diamondbacks.

So in less than an hour it will be June in California (as it is already June on the East Coast.)

We’ll take stock again at the All Star Break (the unofficial half way mark) and at Labor Day (the home stretch.)

It will be interesting to see if the Phillies, Red Sox, Dodgers and Angels are still on the outside looking in!

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