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About six weeks ago, we checked in on the various MLB awards races, anointing A.J. Pollock the NL MVP front-runner and Shohei Ohtani the man to beat for AL Rookie of the Year.

Sometimes things change in a hurry.

Now, as the season’s midway point approaches, we figured it was time to update those picks and offer a sense of who leads the pack for AL and NL MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year. To be clear: These are not predictions of who will win the awards after the season, merely reflections of who would deserve them as of this (relatively early) point. Without further ado…


  1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
  2. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
  3. Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
  4. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
  5. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

Last time we did this, Trout just barely edged Mookie Betts. Now, it’s not even close. The best player in baseball is having his one of the best seasons… ever, batting .335/.469/.689 with an AL-best 23 home runs, while stealing 13 bases and playing excellent defense. With 6.5 WAR (per Baseball-Reference,) through only 73 games, Trout is on a genuinely historic pace.

Props to Betts, Jose Ramirez, Justin Verlander, Francisco Lindor, and a host of other truly awesome players, but there’s just no one on earth who can keep up with the Angels’ centerfielder.

In the hunt: Aaron Judge, Corey Kluber, Luis Severino


  1. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
  2. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
  3. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
  4. Lorenzo Cain, Milwaukee Brewers
  5. J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins

From what was once a mess of semi-qualified candidates has emerged a front-runner. Freddie Freeman has always been good, but this season he has ascended to a new level, batting .333/.422/.583 and contending seriously for the slash-line Triple Crown. He leads NL position players in FanGraphs WAR (while ranking second in Baseball-Reference’s version) and gets bonus points for helping to carry the Braves to first place in the NL East.

Freeman’s closest competition comes from pitchers. Yes, the Mets have largely squandered Jacob deGrom’s brilliance, but that’s not his fault. He has provided plenty of value (via a sparkling 1.51 ERA), even if the Mets haven’t taken advantage. And as great as deGrom has been, Max Scherzer is right there with him, with a 2.06 ERA in a league-high 100 2/3 innings. The NL position-player pool is a bit underwhelming behind Freeman, but Lorenzo Cain and J.T. Reamuto have quietly enjoyed excellent years both offensively and defensively.

AL Cy Young

  1. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
  2. Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
  3. Luis Severino, New York Yankees

We’ll give the edge here to Justin Verlander, who leads the AL In ERA (1.60), ERA+ (234) and innings pitched (107), but in truth there are three right answers. Kluber has a 2.24 ERA in 104 2/3 innings and leads AL pitchers in Baseball-Reference WAR. Severino tops the circuit in FIP (2.19) and ranks in the top five in ERA, ERA+, strikeouts and more.

Verlander is the guy to beat here, but the race remains very much up for grabs.

In the hunt: Trevor Bauer, Chris Sale, Gerrit Cole

NL Cy Young

  1. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
  2. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
  3. Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies

The NL’s three best pitchers this season all reside in the East. deGrom has been consistently brilliant even as his team has faltered around him, posting the best ERA in the major leagues, while Scherzer ranks second in ERA but leads in innings, strikeouts, and FIP. But don’t sleep on Nola, the 25-year-old breakout ace, who has quietly been a formidable workhorse in Philadelphia.

This race, like the one in the AL, could be fun to follow all summer long.

In the hunt: Mike Foltynewicz, Miles Mikolas, Jon Lester

AL Rookie of the Year

  1. Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
  2. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
  3. Max Stassi, Houston Astros

Shohei Ohtani’s UCL injury clears the way for Yankees phenom Gleyber Torres to run away with this award. After all, 21-year-old infielders hitting .291/.346/.566 with 14 home runs and sturdy defense don’t come along every day.

Still, this race is no rout. Even after several weeks on the disabled list, Ohtani stacks up against anyone, while several under-the-radar rookies, led by Houston catcher Max Stassi (.264/.338/.504), have shown they’re worth keeping an eye on.

In the hunt: Miguel Andujar, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Joey Wendle

NL Rookie of the Year

  1. Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins
  2. Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinlas

Phenoms Ronald Acuña and Juan Soto have drawn the headlines, but neither has done enough quite yet to reach the top of this crowded field. That means the front-runner, for now at least, is 25-year-old Marlins outfielder/third baseman Brian Anderson, who has quietly posted a .294/.373/.423 slash line thanks to 30 walks and 20 doubles. He’s followed by a pair of highly touted right-handed pitchers: the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler (2.63 ERA in 51 1/3 innings) and the Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty (2.66 ERA in 50 2/3 innings).

Needless to say, this race could look very different by the end of the season, once Soto and the currently injured Acuña have played more games.

In the hunt: Christian Villanueva, Harrison Bader, Acuña, Soto

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

4 thoughts on “MLB awards tracker: Where do MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year races stand as midpoint approaches?

  1. Alex Putterman, did you write this article without doing any smidge of research?

    Number 1, Mike Trout does not lead the AL in Home runs. He’s 3rd behind JD Martinez and Jose Ramirez. Trout is not batting .335, he’s batting .305.

    Here’s a breakdown so you don’t write poor articles claiming you’re qualified to comment on an MVP race:

    Batting Average: Mookie Betts (1st – By a HUGE margin), Mike Trout (8th)

    Runs: Mookie Betts (2nd – 81), Mike Trout (4th – 73)

    Hits: Mookie Betts (8th – 114), Mike Trout (17th – 106) -***Mookie’s also had 22 less at bats than Trout.

    HR: Mike Trout (3rd – 26), Mookie Betts (5th – 24) – Not a big difference.

    RBI: Mike Trout (54), Mookie Betts (52)

    Stolen Bases: Mike Trout (19), Mookie Betts (18)

    Walks: Mike Trout (93), Mookie Betts (47) – ***This helps Mookie Betts case for MVP.

    Strikeouts: Mookie Betts (48), Mike Trout (89) – Mike Trout has struck almost twice as much, despite being walked twice as much. This also helps Mookie’s case for MVP. He’s a better hitter, plain and simple.

    OBP: Mike Trout (1st), Mookie Betts (2nd) – Trout’s OBP is inflated because of walks.

    Slugging: Mookie Betts (1st – .668), Mike Trout (4th – .599), That’s a significant difference.

    OPS: Mookie Betts (1st), Mike Trout (2nd)

    Mike Trout is a great player, on a irrelevant team with no chance of winning a championship. Mookie Betts is the best player on the best team in the MLB. Regardless of that, Mookie is FLAT OUT having a better year. Don’t take my word for it. Just look at the numbers.

    1. Bruh. You’re using today’s stats to respond to an article written over a month ago. Someone needs to improve their reading comprehension skills, and it isn’t the author of this post.

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