Crashburn Alley First Half Awards

At the end of June, myself, Paul Boye, and Jeff Barnes dished out awards to the Phillies we felt were most deserving. Due to some interest on Twitter, I felt that issuing MLB-wide awards would be appropriate as well, so the three of us hunkered down in our basements, crunched some numbers, and handed out some awards. Drumroll, please…

National League

  • Most Valuable Player Award

Bill: Jose Reyes, New York Mets

Reyes is the NL leader in Fangraphs WAR (5.2), has been average to slightly above-average defensively, has successfully stolen 30 bases in 36 attempts (83%), and is a big reason why the Mets are at .500.

Runners-up: Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen

Paul: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

I had Kemp pegged as my preseason MVP…in 2010. That didn’t exactly work out so well, but the Bison has come out smoking this year. He’s 20/20 by the All-Star break, slugging .584 and has seen a bounce-back in his walk rate with a drop in his K rate. Sure, he plays for a bad team in a whole mess of financial issues, but that’s not his fault.

Runners-up: Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen

Jeff: Jose Reyes, New York Mets

Reyes is getting on base 40% of the time and slugging .529.  Oh yeah, he also plays an above average shortstop and has stolen 30 bags (on 36 tries) by the All Star break.  He’s one leg injury away from putting up one of the greatest walk years in recent memory.

  • Cy Young Award

Bill: Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves

Many Saberists discredit his work thus far because of perceived luckiness, and I don’t disagree, but I give the award based on results. I’m an awards literalist. Jurrjens’ 1.86 ERA is a league-best and nearly 60 points lower than Roy Halladay‘s. Halladay has pitched 33 more innings, but it doesn’t make up for such a large gap in run-prevention. Yes, Halladay will most likely be the much better pitcher going forward, but for the first-half, I have to go with Jurrjens.

Runners-up: Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels

Paul: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

Things Jair Jurrjens has on Halladay: ERA and one more win. Things Halladay has on Jurrjens: 30 IP, K/9, BB/9 (and K:BB), CG and WAR. Plus, Doc’s peripherals have more insulation against regression – note Jurrjens with a 5.3 K/9 and .260 BABIP. Good defense or not, he shouldn’t be allowing so few hits forever.

Runners-up: Jair Jurrjens, Cole Hamels

Jeff: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

I really wanted to pick Cole Hamels for this, but there’s a minor issue.  One of the game’s greatest players, is having his best season.  Doc has already put up 5.1 fWAR, on pace to blow past the 6.6 he put up in his 2010 Cy Young campaign.   He’s striking out more, walking (slightly) less, getting more groundballs, and allowing less homeruns.  He’s been better in every way from 2010, and that’s a scary thought for the National League.

Runners-up: Cole Hamels, Clayton Kershaw

  • Rookie of the Year Award

Bill: Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals

Espinosa has the second-best wOBA in the National League (.352) and leads all rookies in fWAR by far, 3.3 to teammate Wilson Ramos‘ second-best 1.8 fWAR. He is hitting for a lot of power (.218 ISO) at a position that doesn’t have much power (NL average 2B: .120 ISO).

Runners-up: Freddie Freeman, Wilson Ramos

Paul: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

A hot finish before the break propels him past Danny Espinosa. If he can carry that production over, it should help make up for the loss of Chipper Jones and the reduced production of Jason Heyward.

Runners-up: Danny Espinosa, Craig Kimbrel

Jeff: Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals

Not the strongest class. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone off the radar makes a run at this in the 2nd half (*looks at Domonic Brown*). Espinosa has put up a solid season, mixing a .792 OPS with above average defense at 2nd base.

Runners-up: Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel

American League

  • Most Valuable Player Award

Bill: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Not even a contest. Bautista is walking more than he is striking out (20% to 14%) and hitting for insane power (.368 ISO). His .487 wOBA and 6.6 WAR are Bondsian, and he is on pace for 57 home runs… when offense has plummeted league-wide over the past two seasons.

Runners-up: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox; Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees

Paul: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

I had about the same reaction as everyone else when, during the All-Star Game telecast, there was some positing that Adrian Gonzalez was the “hands-down” MVP so far. Mmm, yeah, not really. Bautista’s slash line is currently .334/.468/.702 with 31 HR, and any world in which that line is not deemed superior to .354/.414/.591 with 17 HR is one I’m not sure I want to know.

Runners-up: Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera

Jeff: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

This is a two horse race against Adrian Gonzalez, in that a two horse race is more interesting than a one horse race.  Bautista has been the best player in the American League and its not that close.  In fact, Bautista could go hitless in his next 49 plate apperances and still have a higher on base percentage than Gonzo.

Runners-up: Adrian Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson

  • Cy Young Award

Bill: Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

His 1.86 ERA is MLB-best among pitchers with 100+ innings, slightly ahead of Jurrjens’ 1.87. Not sustainable in the least, but great so far.

Runners-up: Justin Verlander, James Shields

Paul: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

This race is probably a bit closer than it appears. Verlander has had a stretch of dominant starts that seems to have given him some separation for the time being, though, so he gets the nod at this point. With so many viable candidates, though, we might even see three completely different names on this list at the end of the season.

Runners-up: Jered Weaver, James Shields

Jeff: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

JV has done just about everything you can do to lock up a Cy Young award.  He’s won 12 games already, has a 2.15 ERA, and has a career best 4.74 K/BB.

Runners-up: Jered Weaver, James Shields

  • Rookie of the Year

Bill: Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Trumbo leads all AL rookies with 1.7 WAR and has shown tremendous power with AL-rookie-best .223 ISO. The AL ROY contest is not particularly enthralling, but Trumbo emerges at the top of an underwhelming list.

Runners-up: J.P. Arencibia, Michael Pineda

Paul: Michael Pineda, Seattle Mariners

Talk about hitting the ground running. Right out of the chute, Pineda has dominated. Playing in Safeco helps, sure, but there really aren’t any smoke and mirrors to this guy. He attacks, he gets Ks and gets results. He’ll be cheap for a while, too. He’s absolutely one to hold on to.

Runners-up: Jeremy Hellickson, Jordan Walden

Jeff: Michael Pineda, Seattle Mariners

Striking out a batter per inning and keeping your ERA around 3 is a good way to become rookie of the year.  Pineda has done just about everything right since his promotion and is the clear front-runner for this award.

Runners-up: Mark Trumbo, Dustin Ackley


Let us know in the comments which picks you think we got right and wrong.

You can follow Bill on Twitter @CrashburnAlley, as well as Paul (@Phrontiersman) and Jeff (@Utley4God).

Leave a Reply



  1. Ken

    July 14, 2011 07:57 AM

    Rightly or not, I’ve usually, maybe always tended to separate Player of the Year types from MVP’s, taking the V word literally. Granted, the Mets and Dodgers might be 25 games further back than they are without Reyes and Kemp, but value and winning, as opposed to competitiveness go together. McCutcheon has most singularly carried a competitive Pirate club offensively, but the stats just don’t quite measure up. I’d give him 3rd. My 2nd place vote takes position into consideration, in going with Brian McCann. He’s been pretty consistent on a team that it’s being kind to say is inconsistent offensively. I feel Jeff is on the right track in voting for Ryan Braun, but this is an example of how underappreciated, or some sort of less than stellar imagery exsists about Prince Fielder, who I would vote first place. Just in comparison to Braun, he’s nominally ahead in most offensive categories, and has played about 10 more games. It’s a devestating 1-2, but I’d say Prince would be more likely to be Prince without Braun than vice versa.

  2. Max

    July 14, 2011 05:19 PM

    I knew that Jurrjens has been lucky this season, but I was unaware of how crazy lucky. His 4.41 SIERA ranks tied for 53rd out of 75 among National League starters with 50 or more IP. Holy wow, I can not wait for him to be introduced to regression to the mean. It’s a shame the Phils missed him last weekend. The offense probably could’ve made them fast friends.

  3. Scott

    July 14, 2011 08:44 PM

    Any thoughts on Worley as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate?

  4. Bill Baer

    July 14, 2011 11:11 PM

    I think he’ll need to pretty much pitch the entire second half and avoid what appears to be inevitable regression. If that happens, I think he could find himself in ROY discussions. It’s a long shot, though.

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