Major League Roundup - Handing out the Hardware

Since last week was a short week due to the All-Star game, InsidethePark's Ian Levin isn't bringing you a breakdown of each major league team this week. Instead, he's handing out awards based on the first half of the season. Check out who the MVPs of each league would be as of today, see who the favorites are to win the Cy Young award in each league, and track the early leaders for Gold Gloves.

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

Most Valuable Player:

1. Vladimir Guerrero: .334/.383/.576, 21 HR, 80 RBI, 76 R, 9 SB
Guerrero has been the one constant on a team that has been riddled by injuries. With everyone in the lineup around him getting hurt, he has played an always produced. Without him, it's hard to imagine the Angels being even .500.

2. Ivan Rodriguez: .361/.402/.548, 12 HR, 62 RBI, 46 R, 7 SB
The Tigers expected "Pudge" to produce when they signed him but no one could have envisioned this. He is leading the league in batting average while playing most of his games behind the plate.

3. Manny Ramirez: .342/.438/.677, 27 HR, 78 RBI, 59 R
Even through the turmoil in Boston, Ramirez continues to hit. He may be the best pure hitter in the league and possibly the game.

Other candidate: Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz

Cy Young

1. Curt Schilling: 12-4, 3.04 ERA, 133.1 IP, 125 K
Coming over from the National League did nothing to hurt Schilling. He quickly adjusted and is dominating as usual. The workhorse has a low ERA and good run-support giving him a good record. The good ERA fills my requirement for a candidate and the solid record fills the writers' requirement.

2. Mark Mulder: 13-2, 3.21 ERA, 140.0 IP, 100 K
On the surface, Mulder has been virtually identical to Schilling. However, Schilling has been much more dominant when looking at the strikeouts and the walks (21 to 43 in favor of Schilling). Unless the ERA and records change drastically, Mulder is clearly in second.

3. Mariano Rivera: 0.95 ERA, 33 saves, 47.1 IP, 39 K
Yet again, Mariano Rivera is having another great season. He finds a way every year to keep a low ERA and blow very few saves. He is one of the few pitchers that can turn the game into an eight inning game.

Other candidates: Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, C. C. Sabathia, Tim Hudson

Rookie of the Year

1. Lew Ford: .304/.374/.477, 11 HR, 45 RBI, 46 R, 12 SB
Originally put in the lineup as a temporary fix, Ford has made himself a fixture in Minnesota. His performance has added depth in Minnesota, possibly allowing them to trade for a starter for the playoff run.

2. Daniel Cabrera: 7-3, 3.01 ERA, 83.2 IP, 41 IP
When Cabrera was first called up, he wasn't expected to hold down a rotation spot for long. Instead, he has been doing a great Dontrelle Willis impression. The 23-year old right hander has been the best rookie pitcher in the league.

3. Bobby Crosby: .259/.322/.447, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 42 R, 5 SB
Crosby was given the starting job after Miguel Tejada left during the offseason and his performance has helped ease that loss. After a scary collision early in the season, Crosby has come back and stayed healthy, posting very solid numbers for the A's.

Other candidates: Joe Mauer, Kevin Youkilis

Gold Gloves:

C- Bengie Molina
1B- Doug Mientkiewicz
2B- Orlando Hudson
3B- Alex Rodriguez
SS- Pokey Reese
OF- Carl Crawford
OF- Ichiro Suzuki
OF- Rocco Baldelli
P- Esteban Loaiza

Manager of the Year:

Lou Piniella
Piniella has done it again. He took another team that was rebuilding and has turned them into a very good club. The talent is finally there, but without Piniella, it might not have come together so quickly. If they can finish the season over .500 it will be an amazing, and likely, feat.

Other candidates: Buck Showalter

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

Most Valuable Player

1. Barry Bonds: .371/.628/.792, 24 HR, 51 RBI, 72 R, 3 SB
He may get pitched around too much, but there is no way to deny the amazing numbers he puts up. Think about that OBP; if he had five plate appearances in a day and only got on three times, the OBP would go down! Without him, the Giants are nothing.

2. Scott Rolen: .335/.412/.600, 20 HR, 86 RBI, 62 R, 3 SB
Not only is Rolen leading the world in RBI, but he is also the best defensive player in baseball; at any position. In any league but the National League during the current Barry Bonds era he would be the clear-cut MVP.

3. Albert Pujols: .322/.410/.640, 27 HR, 70 RBI, 83 R, 4 SB
When wondering how the Cardinals are so far ahead in the NL Central, look no further than numbers two and three on this list. In his fourth year in the league, Pujols has established himself as, at worst, the third best hitter in the game. He also has proven that he can do more than just hit. He has already played three different positions but it looks like he has settled into first base.

Other candidates: Lance Berkman, J.D. Drew, Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu

Cy Young

1. Jason Schmidt: 12-2, 2.35 ERA, 130 IP, 142 K
Following off-season arm surgery, many didn't believe that Schmidt would be able to repeat his outstanding 2003 season. Schmidt has proven them all wrong. After starting slowly, he has been the best pitcher in baseball and is the leading candidate for the Cy.

2. Ben Sheets: 9-6, 2.28 ERA, 130.1 IP, 141 K
When two players have numbers so similar, it is very hard to pick a winner. Schmidt gets the nod in this case because of his and his team's wins. That is nothing against Sheets though who is posting the breakout year that many were waiting for.

3. Randy Johnson: 10-7, 2.89 ERA, 140.1 IP, 156 K
Johnson is just seventh in the league in ERA but he is second in innings pitched and first in strikeouts. He has allowed just 97 hits in his 140.1 IP and has walked just 30. At 40-years old, Johnson is pitching as well as he has in his career.

Other candidates: Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Carlos Zambrano, Carl Pavano, Matt Clement

Rookie of the Year:

1. Jason Bay: .293/.355/.617, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 29 R, 2 SB
After missing over a month following offseason surgery, Bay has lived up to the hype. He has shown outstanding pop and a decent eye at the plate. Bay may already be the best hitter in Pittsburgh and will be for years to come.

2. Kazuo Matsui: .271/.336/.410, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 56 R, 12 SB
Unlike Bay, Matsui has failed to live up to the hype. However, he has not been nearly as bad as many believe. He has been hitting much better recently at a .371 clip in June and is hitting .336 while in the two slot. If he is just adjusting and can keep that up for the remainder of the year, he may be able to overtake Bay.

3. Ryan Madson: 6-2, 1.84 ERA, 58.2 IP, 43 K
Madson earned the sixth spot in the Phillies' pen after a strong spring and has become a go-to-guy anywhere in the game. He has thrown in middle relief, long relief, set-up, and even recorded a save. He was given a chance to start but had his worst outing of the season. Without that appearance he has a 0.93 ERA. If he is given another chance to start and he succeeds, he could top this list. Even though that is unlikely, he deserved mentioning in this spot.

Other candidates: Khalil Greene, Matt Holliday, Chad Tracy, Aaron Miles

Gold Gloves:

C- Brian Schneider
1B- Derrek Lee
2B- Mark Loretta
3B- Scott Rolen
SS- Jack Wilson
OF- Mike Cameron
OF- Bobby Abreu
OF- Jim Edmonds
P- Greg Maddux

Manager of the Year

Bobby Cox
No one, and I mean no one, picked the Braves to win the NL East. They lost Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez, Vinny Castilla, and Greg Maddux in the offseason and didn't bring in nearly as much. Chipper and Andruw Jones have been struggling and they have had injuries. But one thing remained a constant since the streak began; Bobby Cox. He doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves. He is likely the best manager in the game.

Other candidates: Tony LaRussa, Dave Miley

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