Baseball is about a quarter of the way through. Since day one, players have been hot, cold, and some are just starting to find their stride. Some have already made their case for the end-of-the-year awards. Will any of the players listed below as the award winner continue their trends? Who knows, but it is fun to speculate and praise them now.
Quarter of the Season Awards
NL and AL Rookie of the Year
Coming up to the Major League and finding any success takes a lot of work. Doing it all year at a high level is what the best players do; hopefully, they can keep it going. In the American League, the best rookie is Baltimore Orioles reliever, Yennier Cano.
Cano, in the short term, has been downright incredible. In 16 outings, he already struck out 25 batters and hasn’t walked a batter or allowed a run in 21 and ⅔ innings pitched. Those are video game numbers. How the Orioles find these guys is beyond me, but Cano has the numbers early on that could make him a giant force in the backend of that bullpen for years.
The senior circuit has a few rookies setting the league on fire, none more exciting than the Arizona Diamondback‘s left fielder, Corbin Carroll. Carroll brings the power and speed combo that many enjoy seeing on display. He is on pace for a 20/20 season with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases; a feat only 13 other rookies have reached in baseball history. Carroll could be the first Rookie of the Year winner in the franchise’s history, and if he continues doing what he has been doing, he will be.
NL and AL Cy Young
Starting pitching overall this season has been interesting, to say the least. The offense has been up due to baseball banning the shift, limiting pick-off attempts, and the larger bases. It is fair to say things will even out as the season progresses and pitchers get used to the rules and how guys are attacking on the bases and in the box.
All the changes out of the way, the top pitcher up to this point has to be New York Yankees ace, Gerrit Cole. Cole is leading the league in innings pitched with 62 and ⅔ batters faced and has an ERA of 2.01. The only time Cole was touched up was against the best team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. The biggest separator in a very close Cy Young race is the volume for Cole, there are few other pitchers who are knocking on the door for this award, but for now, it is Cole’s to lose
The Atlanta Braves have a history of producing incredible pitchers. From the days of the big three starters John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine. The new crop of pitchers in Atlanta has continued the trend with Max Fried and Cy Young winner at this point, Spencer Strider. Strider has been a strikeout machine, leading the league in that category with 86, plus he leads the league with a K/9 of 15. His ERA is 2.96, however his FIP is 2.20, so he has a bit of bad luck. With Max Fried on the IL, Strider looks to prove he is the ace and lead the staff to another postseason run.
NL and AL MVP
Most Valuable Player is a tough award to hand out since everyone has a different metric for what makes the winner valuable. It could be the best player on the best team, the best player overall, regardless of record, or the most valuable player to their team. Out of all the awards handed out, this has the most debate.
Sometimes it feels like we’re just repeating ourselves when this phase gets said Shohei Ohtani is the American League MVP. Aaron Judge won the award last year after having a historic season breaking the American League record for home runs in a season. It’s going to take something like to take the award from Ohtani.
It’s so hard to state everything Ohtani does in the batter’s box he is as a line of .289/.361/.888 with 10 home runs. On the mound, he is 5-1 with a 3.23 ERA with a WHIP of 0.90. It’s so incredibly hard to explain what he does almost every day, he missed two cycles by a few feet, one being a homerun and the other by a double. He missed the second cycle when he was also on the mound. Ohtani is in a league of his own.
Ronald Acuña Jr might finally be back to 100% since he has been back from his ACL surgery back in 2021. He has been nothing short of downright god-like. I’m going to let his stat line do all the talking for me here: .345/.437/1.050, by the way, he also leads the league with 18 steals, slugging with .613 and OPS with 1.050, as listed above.
Acuña is finally back to his pre-injury form so far in the season, and with no evidence to show that he is slowing down. This 25-year-old start might lead the Braves to another World Series win if he can keep this going.
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