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Cullen: First quarter 2013 MLB awards

Scott Cullen
5/22/2013 3:40:36 PM
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More than a quarter of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is in the books, so Scott Cullen digs into the numbers to make his picks for MLB awards to this point of the season, along with Gold Gloves, All-Surprise and All-Disappointing teams.

AL MVP
Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit (12 HR, 49 RBI, .384 AVG, 1.122 OPS)

Runners Up:
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay (9 HR, 29 RBI, .335 AVG, .981 OPS)
Mike Trout, LF, L.A. Angels (9 HR, 34 RBI, 9 SB, .293 AVG, .931 OPS)

Apparently the hot corner rules in the American League, as a healthy Evan Longoria moves up as the primary challenger to Miguel Cabrera, who continues to hit like no one else on the planet. Last year's runner-up, Trout, is heating up, so we could get to re-live the Cabrera-Trout debate from 2012. Baltimore's Chris Davis and Manny Machado, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and the Yankees' Robinson Cano are also off to impressive starts this season.

NL MVP
Shin-Soo Choo, CF, Cincinnati (9 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB, .303 AVG, .994 OPS)

Runners-up:
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona (12 HR, 36 RBI, .323 AVG, 1.019 OPS)
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati (6 HR, 20 RBI, .353 AVG, 1.003 OPS)

It won't be easy for one of the Reds' on-base machines to distinguish from the other, but Choo gets the edge on Votto for now. Goldschmidt has become a beast at the plate for the Diamondbacks and is ahead of recent contenders like Mets 3B David Wright and Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki, as well as up-and-coming Brewers SS Jean Segura and Braves LF Justin Upton.

AL CY YOUNG
Clay Buchholz, Boston (6-0, 1.78 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 69 K, 65 2/3 IP)

Runners Up:
James Shields, Kansas City (2-4, 2.45 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 62 K, 66 IP)
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox (5-2, 2.53 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 61 K, 64 IP)

A close race, that could also include Cleveland's Justin Masterson as well as the Seattle duo of Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, is currently led by Buchholz, though not by much over Shields and Sale. Traditionalists would go off the deep end regarding Shields' 2-4 record but, at this point, we know how little to value pitcher wins.

NL CY YOUNG
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles (5-2, 1.35 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 72 K, 73 1/3 IP)

Runners-up:
Matt Harvey, N.Y. Mets (5-0, 1.55 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 68 K, 63 2/3 IP)
Patrick Corbin, Arizona (7-0, 1.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 52 K, 62 1/3 IP)

It's preposterous that there is only one Cy Young for the National League, given the calibre of these pitching performances. Through the first quarter of the season, it's hard to imagine pitching better than Harvey, but then there's Kershaw, who goes nearly an extra inning per game. Both are amazing. Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller and Cubs southpaw Travis Wood are early contenders too.

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Chicago White Sox (3 HR, 8 RBI, .283 AVG, .783 OPS)

Runners Up:
Brandon Barnes, OF, Houston (2 HR, 9 RBI, .317 AVG, .872 OPS)
Nick Tepesch, SP, Texas (3-4, 3.98 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 31 K, 43 IP)

Lots of time for others to get involved in this race, since the American League list is wholly unimpressive. Gillaspie and Barnes have been okay, in limited time, and Tepesch has been decent; even add Cleveland's Yan Gomes or Tepesch's teammate Justin Grimm, into the mix, but none of the American Leaguers are huge standouts right now.

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Shelby Miller, SP, St. Louis (5-3, 1.74 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 62 K, 57 IP)

Runners-up:
Jedd Gyorko, 2B, San Diego (4 HR, 15 RBI, .278 AVG, .777 OPS)
Didi Gregorius, SS, Arizona (3 HR, 8 RBI, .348 AVG, .964 OPS)

While the AL race isn't particularly inspiring, Shelby Miller is a Cy Young candidate, showing the ace-calibre stuff that made him such a top prospect (and somehow went missing during a disappointing 2012 in Triple-A). Gyorko has been a solid contributor, only recently starting to show the power that was expected while Gregorius has been an offensive revelation, compiling a .694 OPS in six minor league seasons before raking this year. It's the kind of surge that is awfully difficult to maintain. The NL race is more interesting, though, because it could also include Braves C Evan Gattis, Marlins SP Jose Fernandez, Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu or Diamondbacks OF A.J. Pollock.

GOLD GLOVES
C - Russell Martin, Pittsburgh
Runners-up: A.J. Ellis, Los Angeles; Wilin Rosario, Colorado

All three of those named are in the top five among percentage of baserunners caught stealing and Martin is the far-and-away leader in assists for catchers, with 37, 10 more than any other (Ellis is tied for second, Rosario is fifth). Baltimore's Matt Wieters, Houston's Jason Castro and the Cubs' Welington Castillo are also strong behind the dish.

1B - Brandon Belt, San Francisco
Runners-up: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City; Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona

A couple of young players still working on their offensive production, Belt and Hosmer, rank first and fourth in Ultimate Zone Rating, (as well as second and fifth, respectively, in Defensive Runs Saved) and Goldschmidt is merely the well-rounded one, an MVP candidate who leads all first basemen in Defensive Runs Saved.

2B - Dustin Pedroia, Boston
Runners-up: Jose Altuve, Houston; Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati

Surehanded Pedroia has yet to commit and error and leads in Defensive Runs Saved as well as Defensive WAR, while Altuve leads in double plays, is tied for second in DRS and ranks third in Ultimate Zone Rating, ranking just behind Phillips.

3B - Manny Machado, Baltimore
Runners-up: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay; Chase Headley, San Diego

A former shortstop, Machado is the class of the position this season, leading in UZR and DRS. Headley might be ahead of Longoria with more games played, though if we're playing that game, Rockies rookie Nolan Arrenado would be a challenger to Machado if he had played more than 21 games.

SS - Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta
Runners-up: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado; Evlis Andrus, Texas

Simmons is the clear leader at the position, but these three, along with Stephen Drew, are the top four in UZR, while Drew is just outside the top four in DRS.

LF - Andy Dirks, Detroit
Runners-up: Juan Pierre, Miami; Starling Marte, Pittsburgh

This trio is ahead of the rest in DRS, but Dirks also leads left fielders in UZR, so that's enough to give him the nod. Notable that Vernon Wells has been pretty solid for the Yankees too.

CF - Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee
Runners-up: A.J. Pollock, Arizona; Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston

Gomez has always been a very good fielder while Pollock is making the most of an opportunity presented by Adam Eaton's injury. They are clearly the top two, with Ellsbury just edging out Texas' Craig Gentry and Atlanta's B.J. Upton.

RF - Shane Victorino, Boston
Runners-up: Gerardo Parra, Arizona; Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee

Victorino must be getting to everything and then some; his UZR is best in baseball across all positions. Aoki leads in DRS and Parra is tops in Defensive WAR.

(I realize there are Gold Gloves awarded in both leagues.  I'm just trying to recognize the best fielders at each position.)

ALL-SURPRISE TEAM
C - John Buck, N.Y. Mets (10 HR, 31 RBI, .224 AVG, .746 OPS)
1B - Chris Davis, Baltimore (13 HR, 41 RBI, .312 AVG, 1.070 OPS)
2B - Omar Infante, Detroit (3 HR, 14 RBI, .318 AVG, .794 OPS)
SS - Jean Segura, Milwaukee (7 HR, 20 RBI, 14 SB, .353 AVG, .964 OPS)
3B - Josh Donaldson, Oakland (6 HR, 28 RBI, .315 AVG, .920 OPS)
LF - Vernon Wells, N.Y. Yankees (10 HR, 24 RBI, .288 AVG, .855 OPS)
CF - Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee (6 HR, 20 RBI, 9 SB, .327 AVG, .924 OPS)
RF - Nate Schierholtz, Chicago Cubs (5 HR, 19 RBI, .285 AVG, .841 OPS)
SP - Patrick Corbin, Arizona (7-0, 1.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 52 K, 62 1/3 IP)
SP - Travis Wood, Chicago Cubs (4-2, 2.24 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 39 K, 60 1/3 IP)
SP - Kyle Kendrick, Philadelphia (4-2, 2.82 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 41 K, 60 2/3 IP)
SP - Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay (5-2, 2.73 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 54 K, 59 1/3 IP)
SP - Justin Masterson, Cleveland (7-2, 2.83 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 71 K, 70 IP)
RP - Edward Mujica, St. Louis (13 SV, 1.42 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, 18 K, 19 IP)

ALL-DISAPPOINTING TEAM
C - Miguel Montero, Arizona (3 HR, 14 RBI, .189 AVG, .547 OPS)
1B - Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox (4 HR, 17 RBI, .217 AVG, .613 OPS)
2B - Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee (3 HR, 10 RBI, .167 AVG, .548 OPS)
SS - Zack Cozart, Cincinnati (5 HR, 20 RBI, .206 AVG, .565 OPS)
3B - David Freese, St. Louis (1 HR, 9 RBI, .223 AVG, .574 OPS)
LF - David Murphy, Texas (5 HR, 16 RBI, .218 AVG, .653 OPS)
CF - B.J. Upton, Atlanta (3 HR, 6 RBI, .153 AVG, .488 OPS)
RF - Josh Hamilton, L.A. Angels (6 HR, 14 RBI, .222 AVG, .655 OPS)
SP - Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (2-4, 8.65 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)
SP - Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco (2-4, 7.19 ERA, 1.73 WHIP)
SP - Josh Johnson, Toronto (0-1, 6.86 ERA, 1.88 WHIP)
SP - Brett Anderson, Oakland (1-4, 6.21 ERA, 1.62 WHIP)
RP - Joel Hanrahan, Boston (4 SV, 9.82 ERA, 2.18 WHIP)

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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