THE Midseason Review

I’m here to hand out mid-season awards, releasing my halfway-votes. This, if I may say so myself, is the definitive statistical look at who deserves what. Short of using win expectancy and UZR, I’ve used the best methods to come up with my MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year ballots as well as my team of the year ballot. Here’s a little explanation of the metrics I used for each:
MVP- For hitters, I created a “total runs” number, which could be converted into wins by dividing by 10 or Win Shares by dividing by 3.3. I added Runs Created Above Average with Defensive Runs Above Average (I’ll post the leaders and trailers immediately after this) and adjusted for position. Then, I converted this back into total runs, a runs created-like number, that measures the total number of runs a player was responsible for. For pitchers, I used pitching runs created which I will explain next.
Cy Young- To rate pitchers, I used pitching runs created, which are explained here. Put simply, using run allowed totals, I convert a pitchers performance into a runs created-like number, which is then split between a pitcher and his defense based on strikeout, walk, and home run totals. The same system I use for the Cy Young and MVP, I use for Rookies of the Year.
Team of the Year- Basically, all I do here is compare a team’s performance, based on runs scored and runs allowed, and adjusted for strength of schedule, to its projected performance at the beginning of the season.
Now to the actual results.
1. Brian Roberts (90 Total Runs)
2. Gary Sheffield (85 TR)
3. Mark Teixeira (81 TR)
4. David Ortiz (78 TR)
5. Travis Hafner (78 TR)
6. Roy Halladay (77 Pitching Runs Created)
7. Miguel Tejada (76 TR)
8. Hideki Matsui (75 TR)
9. Johnny Damon (74 TR)
10. Johan Santana (74 PRC)
It’s too bad Halladay will be out a month, that might let Santana take a big lead in PRC; this looked like a great race between the AL’s last two Cy Young award winners. Roberts is the clear leader, but Sheffield is having a hell of a season under the radar. Hafner wasn’t even an All-Star which is a joke; the same applies to Matsui. And Damon’s having a great year, which has been completely overshadowed by his big mouth and even bigger head.
1. Derrek Lee (104 TR)
2. Albert Pujols (87 TR)
3. Brian Giles (80 TR)
4. Bobby Abreu (79 TR)
5. Morgan Ensberg (79 TR)
6. Jason Bay (78 TR)
7. Carlos Lee (77 TR)
8. Jeff Kent (74 TR)
9. Pedro Martinez (73 PRC)
10. Chris Carpenter (72 PRC)
Wow, has Derrek Lee been amazing. He’s been the equivalent of 5 Win Shares better than Pujols, who looks like he’ll once again lose the MVP trophy to a player having an otherworldly season. How long are we going to have to wait before Albert finally gets an MVP trophy? Assuming he doesn’t get it this year, but continues to play the way he has (and why wouldn’t we?), I’m pretty sure Pujols is going to have the greatest string of three seasons without an MVP. Giles has gone completely under the radar, and Ensberg’s exclusion from the All-Star game (and final ballot!) is hugely unfair, and plainly wrong. Bay has simply become one of the best players in the game, and Lee has had a hell of a year in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, Jeff Kent has proven to be a great signing, as has Pedro (so far). Blue Jays fans must be killing themselves over Carpenter.
AL Cy Young:
1. Roy Halladay (77 PRC)
2. Johan Santana (74 PRC)
3. Mark Buehrle (68 PRC)
4. John Lackey (63 PRC)
5. Matt Clement (60 PRC)
6. Randy Johnson (57 PRC)
7. Danny Haren (54 PRC)
8. Jeremy Bonderman (54 PRC)
9. Bartolo Colon (53 PRC)
10. Freddy Garcia (53 PRC)
Halladay had an amazing first half–like I said, it’s too bad he’ll be out a month. But he definitely proved to be great coming back after a frustrating, injury-filled season last year. The missed month might do him good in the future: he was throwing a lot of innings. Santana hasn’t been great like last year, but he’s still been very, very good. More so, let’s wait and see if he can have a second half like last year, when he blew away his competition after a pedestrian first half. Buehrle and Garcia have led the amazing White Sox pitching staff, and Lackey and Colon are much of the reason that the Angels are one of the top teams in the AL, despite Vladimir Guererro missing time. Clement has been the only bright spot on the Red Sox pitching staff, and Johnson has been much better than people are giving him credit for. Bonderman and Haren are future stars, though they’re already great.
NL Cy Young:
1. Pedro Martinez (73 PRC)
2. Chris Carpenter (72 PRC)
3. Roger Clemens (70 PRC)
4. Dontrelle Willis (68 PRC)
5. Jake Peavy (65 PRC)
6. John Smoltz (63 PRC)
7. Roy Oswalt (63 PRC)
8. A.J. Burnett (62 PRC)
9. Javier Vazquez (60 PRC)
10. Brandon Webb (58 PRC)
Martinez was a great signing for the Mets–so far. Anybody who thought he’d lost it has officially been proven crazy. Carpenter was the bargain signing of the year a year ago, and he’s even better now. I’ve said this before–while Clemens has been the “stat-head” pick, he hasn’t been the statistically best pitcher in the NL this year. Clemens’ gaudy ERA (1.48) has been boosted by a great defense; his fielding independent ERA is about 3. Willis has been the other most popular pick, and while he’s been great, he hasn’t been the best. Nevertheless, he looks like a star, and I do love the leg kick. Peavy is another young star that will be competing with Willis for this award for years to come; Peavy’s great 2004 was not a fluke. Smoltz has made a spectacular return from the bullpen into the rotation, and I’m excited to see whether or not he breaks down in the second half. Oswalt pairs with Clemens to give Houston a great 1-2 punch–to bad the Astros don’t have any offense–and the same goes for Burnett, Willis, and the Marlins. Vazquez and Webb have been great this season, though that has gone unnoticed. The Diamondbacks really made a good deal for Randy Johnson.
AL Rookie of the Year
1. Jeremy Reed (70 TR)
2. Tadahito Iguchi (57 TR)
3. Chris Young (47 PRC)
Reed is spectacular, the best defensive center fielder in the AL. He’s a +13 runs above average on defense halfway through the year. Iguchi has been very solid since coming from Japan. And Young, well, he has been great in Texas.
NL Rookie of the Year
1. Clint Barmes (52 TR)
2. Willy Tavarez (47 TR)
3. Jeff Francis (39 TR)
Barmes holds the honor for now, but like Halladay, he’ll lose the top spot due to an injury that will keep him for the rest of the year. Tavarez hasn’t been all that great, but he’s played a lot. And Francis, well, Francis has been amazing considering the park he pitches in (I don’t adjust for that, though I did bump Francis up due to the Coors factor). Let’s see if Coors messes with his psyche and eventually messes him up, or if Francis can finally overcome the curse that has plagued Colorado pitchers since the inception of the franchise.
AL Teams of the Year
1. Toronto – The Blue Jays have been great this year–contending in a division that has always been dominated by the Yankees and Red Sox, contending even with the resurgence of the Orioles. Unfortunately, with the loss of Roy Halladay, the Jays probably won’t be able to keep this up, and with the Orioles falling, the AL East may once again see a 1-2 finish with the Red Sox and Yankees, though, perhaps, in a different order than usual.
2. Chicago White Sox – Spurred by a great pitching staff, bullpen, defense, and timely hitting, the White Sox have the best record in the AL, though they were viewed as the third-best team in the AL Central by many at the start of the season.
3. Texas Rangers – After a great, surprising season last year, most expected the Rangers to regress. Instead, the Rangers have hit the crap out of the ball, gotten some good pitching, and are contending for the Wild Card.
NL Teams of the Year
1. Atlanta Braves – The Braves continue to amaze, and look like they’re going to run away with the NL East once again. This is the model team in sports in terms of consistency, and they do it with a radically different roster every year.
2. Milwaukee Brewers – The Brew Crew may be five games under .500, but that is a marked improvement from previous seasons, and Milwaukee is a team on the upswing. With Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks, as well as Ben Sheets and (hopefully) Carlos Lee, the Brewers could make a serious run at the playoffs next year. Who doesn’t want to see sausage races in October?
3. Washington Nationals – They haven’t played as well as their record might indicate, but who cares? This franchise is alive again, and baseball is back in Washington. Let’s enjoy the ride.


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