With 30 games in the books, the Giants are halfway through the 2020 MLB season. They have a real NL MVP candidate in outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and enter Monday in line for a playoff spot.
None of that was expected halfway through the season, but in a shortened 60-game season, and well, 2020, anything is possible. The cliché truly fits this year, for both good and bad reasons.
Has Yaz really earned the NL MVP through 30 games? Are any other Giants major award candidates? What about the first-place A's? More importantly, how do you choose midway award winners when many teams haven't played all 30 games due to the coronavirus?
That's the hard part here. The Giants have hit the 30-game mark, but the St. Louis Cardinals only have played 17. The names listed below could certainly change in major ways once the full regular season comes to an end.
So, with that being said, here are my award winners for MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year in the AL and NL after one month of this short season.
AL MVP: Brandon Lowe, 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber very well could be worth of the award. He has been that good. He also only has played in six of his team's 28 games. That's not Bieber's fault, but we're going with Lowe, who only has missed one game so far.
Lowe, 26, has a .313/.398/.697 slash line with nine home runs and 1.095 OPS. He leads the league in runs with 25, and also has drove in 25 runs. The third-year pro has played second base, left field, right field and has served as Tampa Bay's DH this season.
Through 28 games played, he leads all AL position players in bWAR with 1.8.
Honorable mention: Bieber, Kyle Lewis, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Nelson Cruz, Lance Lynn
NL MVP: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres
I AM SORRY MIKE YASTRZEMSKI!
My sincere apologies to the Yastrzemski family, friends and teammates. OK, on a serious note: Yastrzemski's season cannot be overlooked. He has been damn awesome, and it has been a treat to watch him every game. Now let's compare he and Tatis Jr.
Yastrzemski (30 games): .309/.429/.645, 7 HR, 3 3B, 10 2B, 28 R, 23 RBI, 1 SB, 1.074 OPS, 1.8 bWAR Tatis Jr. (30 games): .314/.396/.678, 12 HR, 1 3B, 5 2B, 29 R, 29 RBI, 6 SB, 1.073 OPS, 2.0 bWAR
Yastrzemski and Tatis Jr. are so close it could be a coin flip for the two NL West stars. But Tatis Jr. is putting on an offensive display -- leading the league in homers, runs and RBI -- while playing the premier position in the game. The Padres also are second place in the NL West, which secures them an automatic playoff spot.
Let's also not forget the Philadelphia Phillies only have played 24 games, and Bryce Harper quietly has a 1.119 OPS.
The two leading candidates, though, are a former top prospect and someone who just turned 30 years old and has just played 137 career games in the majors. Everyone has their own path to becoming a MVP candidate.
P.S. No, I didn't just choose Tatis Jr. since he was my bold predictions pick for NL MVP before the season.
*whispers* told you so.
Honorable mention: Yastrzemski, Harper, Mookie Betts, Charlie Blackmon
AL Cy Young: Shane Bieber, RHP, Cleveland Indians
It's Bieber, and it's not even close.
Bieber leads the majors in strikeouts, K/BB ratio and FIP. He leads the AL in ERA and ERA+. Here are the stats: 5-0, 1.11 ERA, 65 strikeouts, 40 2/3 innings, 1.74 FIP, 418 ERA+, 14.4 K/9, 10.83 K/BB.
The 25-year-old only has six walks over six starts. Oh, and he has allowed just five earned runs. Yeah, the award is his.
Honorable mention: Nobody. Seriously. OK fine, Lance Lynn has been really good, too.
NL Cy Young: Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
This was another really tough one. Yu Darvish deserves a long look here, and might even be more worthy. He's 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA and has found his control again with 7.33 strikeouts to walks. Darvish also has made two more starts than Bauer.
But Bauer has been downright dominant. He's a perfect 3-0, has thrown two complete games and his ERA is a miniscule 0.68. Bauer only has 26 1/3 innings under his belt but he's striking out 14 batters per nine innings.
This will be a fun race to watch, especially if Bauer and Darvish can keep this up.
Honorable mention: Darvish, Max Fried, Sonny Gray, Jacob deGrom
AL Rookie of the Year: Kyle Lewis, OF, Seattle Mariners
The Kyle Lewis Show is real and it's spectacular. Lewis, 25, was the No. 11 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. He has dealt with a long list of injuries, though, and now he's finally able to show his potential.
And he's putting on a show for the Mariners. Lewis is slashing .368/.456/.585 with seven homers and a 1.041 OPS. He has been worth 1.7 bWAR, and is a home-run threat every time he steps to the plate.
Big apologies to Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert, who was my AL MVP bold predictions pick. Robert just has even homers and has been worth 1.3 bWAR. Not bad.
Honorable mention: Robert, Randy Dobnak, James Karinchak
NL Rookie of the Year:
Joey Bart Jake Cronenworth, UTL, San Diego Padres
Bart is the Alternate Site NL Rookie of the Year. Cronenworth is the actual winner, so far.
Cronenworth, 26, has played every infield position for the Padres outside of catcher. He's batting .342 with a 1.036 OPS, and has been worth 1.3 bWAR.
While he's a bit old for a rookie, Cronenworth has done everything the Padres have asked, and he's crushing the ball.
Honorable mention: Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Bart (just kidding ... kind of)