Halfway through the season, who are the mid-season award winners in the NL Central?
Halfway through the season and almost to the All-Star break, we look at the NL Central mid-season award winners because what’s better than a hypothetical awards ceremony for something that doesn’t really matter?
Most Valuable Player – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
I’ve raved all year about Carlos Gomez being perhaps the best player in the division, but then Andrew McCutchen happened. McCutchen’s 14 homers, 58 RBI and .318/.415/.539 is even more impressive considering he had just four homers and 23 RBI after the first two months of the season. As impressive as Gomez has been, he isn’t the only one performing extremely well for the Brewers offense. McCutchen is close to an island in Pittsburgh before Gregory Polanco came around.
Most Disappointing Player – Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
This could go to Shelby Miller or Homer Bailey. It could go to Votto’s teammate Jay Bruce. But nah, I’m not one to ever let Joey Votto off the hook. Votto, the mega-rich first-baseman already isn’t in my good graces for refusing to drive in runs or do anything besides walk. This year hasn’t helped his case. In just 62 games, Votto has six homers and 23 RBI and two stints on the DL–including right this moment. Somehow the Reds find themselves just 2.5 games behind the Brewers for first place in the NL Central. No thanks to their highest-paid player.
Cy Young – Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Wainwright sports the lowest ERA in the majors with a 1.79 ERA to go along with an 11-4 overall record. Wins and losses are becoming less relevant in judging a starting pitcher, but Wainwright has kept the Cardinals afloat. The offense is sputtering (looking at you Allen Craig and Matt Holliday) and the pitching staff is broken (what’s up Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia). Wainwright’s struck out 111 while only allowing four homers, compared to Johnny Cueto’s 11. Without Wainwright, the Cardinals are hanging out with the Cubs in the basement of the NL Central. That’s a compliment to Wainwright Cardinals fans. Relax.
Best Rookie – Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
The Pirates’ Gregory Polanco is on his way, but for now this belongs to Hamilton. His homers and RBI are surprising, with five and 38 respectively. Maybe his 38 stolen bases even seem low, since Dee Gordon and Jose Altuve have more. But he’s been consistent in an offense that’s been anything but. His glove in center field is much further along than you’d expect from the former shortstop. And really, there’s just not much other competition.
Best Managerial Job – Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee Brewers
I don’t know that he’s the best manager in the division–not that the NL Central managers would blow anyone away in word search or thought-provoking challenges–but he’s done the best job this year. He’s been specifically impressive in handling his batting order. He moved Gomez from the lead-off spot to cleanup. He moved Ryan Braun to the No. 2 hole. He’s structured an offense that’s pretty well-balanced throughout, and an offense that’s propelled the team to the top of the division.
Team That Has The Best Prospects To Pay Attention To – Chicago Cubs
I had to.