American League's New York Yankees Aaron Judge (99) strikes out in the first inning during the MLB baseball All-Star Game, Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Judge dominates half-season awards

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By Jordan Zuniga 

jordan-zuniga@uiowa.edu

This year has been an exciting season for baseball so far; the Yankees are good again, and home runs are at an all-time high, especially with the influx of young power hitters.

All of this has made for a great first half (plus) of baseball that fans hope will continue through October.

With the baseball season at the midway point (more or less), it’s a good time to look back at the season and hypothetically give away some awards, starting with Rookie of the Year.

AL Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge

If the season were to end today, there would be absolutely no question that Judge would walk away with the Rookie of the Year award.

In fact, Rookie of the Year may not even be the biggest award the Yankee slugger gets this season.

Judge has a chance to become the first player since Ichiro to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season.

Yes, he has been that good. He’s hitting .329 with 66 RBIs and an MLB-leading 30 home runs, and he is in the top five in the AL in each category.

NL Rookie of the Year: Cody Bellinger

As in the AL, there isn’t much of a race for the NL Rookie of the Year.

The rookie has been a big part of the reason the Dodgers find themselves with the best record in baseball.

Bellinger has hit 25 home runs while driving in 58 with a batting average of .261, numbers that could win him a Silver Slugger to sit next to his rookie award.

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale

Is this finally Sale’s year?

It sure looks that way, as the Red Sox got what they paid for, giving up two highly touted prospects for a pitcher who has dominated the American League for the past five years.

Sale’s dominance has continued this year, going 11-4 with a 2.75 ERA; he also leads the majors in strikeouts with 178.

The AL Cy Young is a two-player race, the other candidate being Jason Vargas.

Vargas, who pitched just 12 games in the past two seasons, has had a solid first half, posting a 2.62 ERA with a record of 12-3.

From the stats, Sale has the edge; he has pitched 20 more innings and racked up 100 more strike outs.

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer

The NL Cy Young race will be an interesting one to watch unfold in the second half of the season.

In a league full of talented pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Scherzer have used the first half of this season to prove that they are the two best pitchers in baseball.

Kershaw has gone 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA while striking out 159; Scherzer has gone 10-5 with a 2.10 ERA while striking out 173. The most impressive number for Scherzer is his microscopic 0.78 WHIP.

He gets the award because of that crazy low WHIP, which would rank third all-time for a single season.

AL MVP: Aaron Judge

It’s tough to give this award to a rookie, especially with the seasons George Springer and Jose Altuve have had, but, it would be unjust to give it to anyone but the Judge.

His power has been on display all season, but his defense has really separated him from everyone else.

It’s felt like every time you turn on sports center, there is Judge making another spectacular play in right field.

That, coupled with his possible run at the Triple Crown, gives Judge the advantage in this race.

NL MVP: Bryce Harper

The closest award race in baseball is the race for N.L. MVP.

Paul Goldschmidt and Harper have almost identical stats. They each have 99 hits and 20 homers, and Goldschmidt has 67 RBIs, while Harper has 65. Goldschmidt is hitting .312, Harper .325.

Harper’s team success give him the edge over Goldschmidt; Harper’s Nationals currently have a 9.5 game lead over the Braves in the NL East.

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