BIGGEST SURPRISE: Yankees
Did anyone outside fans of the Yankees think this team would be in first in the American League East without Derek Jeter? Alex Rodriguez has bounced back and a bullpen that has been lights out and a solid first half from Brett Gardner have the Bronx Bombers thinking playoffs-----again!
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Mariners
With a lineup consisting of Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, the experts felt the Mariners were ready to give Seattle sports fans another team to cheer for that could like the Seahawks bring the Emerald City a championship. Somewhere along the road, this team forgot to hit and as a result, they begin the 2nd half seven back of the AL West division leading Angels.
AMERICAN LEAGUE MVP: Josh Donaldson - BLUE JAYS
Did Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos think he was getting this so soon from Donaldson when he picked up the 3rd baseman from Oakland for Brett Lawrie. With a less than adequate pitching staff, Donaldson has carried the Blue Jays by being their best player from Game 1. He has 21 homers and 60 RBI's at the break and the scary thing is he is only going to get better with time.
NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP: Bryce Harper -NATIONALS
Bryce Harper has finally avoided injury for the most part this year, and he has already had the best season of his young career. The 22-year-old phenom isn’t far behind in all three triple crown categories, as he currently holds a .339 batting average, 24 homers and 58 RBI. Not to mention, he leads the MLB with a whopping 1.180 OPS.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG - Chris Sale- WHITE SOX
Some of his stats jump off the page, such as the AL-leading 0.95 WHIP. Mostly, though, it's the strikeouts. Sale leads the AL with 157 strikeouts and the majors with 11.8 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings). He joined Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson as the only men to record at least 12 strikeouts in five consecutive games. He also tied Pedro's record with eight straight 10-strikeout games before "only" getting six strikeouts on July 6 -- in a complete-game victory, by the way.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG- Max Scherzer- NATIONALS
AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR -- Carlos Correa- ASTROS
If Devon Travis had stayed healthy in the first half, this award might have gone to him, but the Houston shortstop has been everything as advertised. He is hitting .276 with five homers and he has been flashy with the glove. The Astros are contending in the American League to the surprise of many who thought this team would be in this place in a couple of years with Correa being one of the reasons why.
NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR --- Joc Pederson-DODGERS
Yes, I should take Cubs 3rd baseman Kris Bryant here and he could very well win the award with a big second half---especially if that second half results in the Cubs getting to the playoffs, but Pederson has been the man in a talented Dodgers clubhouse. As of today, Pederson edges Bryant out slightly due to his 20 homers, .913 OPS, and stellar glove out in center field.
AMERICAN LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE YEAR -- Paul Molitor-TWINS
The former Twin, Brewer and Blue Jay has been as good guiding the Twins as he was when he was doing his thing on the field. The Twins are once again a contender in the American League thanks to Molitor and they likely won't be going away anytime soon,
NATIONAL LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE YEAR---Mike Matheny-CARDINALS
The Cardinals don't have Adam Wainwright, they have had some injury problems with position players and yet they still have the best record in the majors. Matheny is pushing the right buttons.
At the break, American League playoff teams are the Yankees, Royals, Angels, Twins and Astros with the National League playoff teams being the Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates and Cubs. Until the trade deadline has come and gone, it is hard to say what teams will end up making it, but if the adage is pitching wins in the playoffs, then look for the Cardinals to play the Royals in the World Series. Is it 1985 again?