Miraculously, the All-Star Game is now behind us, and the second half of the season is about to begin. Through injuries, RISP failures, and flat out inconsistent play, the Yankees are somehow continuing to be the best team in baseball at 52-33. I’m very proud of the Bombers and what they have accomplished with all that’s been thrown their way, so I’m going to hand out some first-half awards to the most deserving Yanks on the team. At the end of the regular season, I’ll give the same awards out, and see who kept those honors in the second half.
YANKEES MVP – Robinson Cano (.313 AVG, 20 HR, 51 RBI)
For what I believe would be my third straight year giving him the award, Robinson Cano is the Yankees’ First Half MVP in my mind. Getting off to an unusual slow start in the early part of the season, Cano has really heated up since the start of May, batting .344 since. He leads the team in RBI, batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS, so stats-wise, he is the clear cut MVP. He also already has 20 home runs, thanks to hitting 9 in his last 25 games. He’s well on his way to break his home run record of 29 in 2010, and should be in the thick of the running for the AL MVP come season’s end. My runners up are Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson. Both had great first halves, but without Cano the Yankees are probably treading water right now.
YANKEES CY YOUNG AWARD – Rafael Soriano (2-0, 1.60 ERA, 20 SV)
This is a questionable and tough award to hand out. Typically, the Cy Young goes to the best starter, but it’s hard to choose from this bunch. I could say CC Sabathia, but he’s had a handful of rough outings. Andy Pettitte has only made 9 starts, and Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Hiroki Kuroda have all had inconsistent stretches. So to me, the Yankees “Cy Young” so far, is their closer Rafael Soriano. Who would have thought that when Mariano Rivera went down for the season, Soriano would step up and be one of the best closers in baseball – not to brag, I did. I strongly supported the idea of giving Soriano a chance to redeem himself after a mediocre first year in New York, and so far he’s done way more than that. It’s a shocker to me he’s not an All-Star, and he has regained the swagger and poise that made him such a feared closer in 2010, when he saved 45 games for the Rays. There’s just no doubt that Sori is the most consistent and reliable pitcher this year for the Yankees.
YANKEES ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – David Phelps (3.05 ERA in 41.1 IP)
To some, this award doesn’t mean much, because there’s only a couple rookies who have been on the roster for longer than a week. But the one who has been here the longest, and now is in AA being stretched out, is David Phelps. At the beginning of the season, he was a stud, being the long man in the bullpen, getting key outs and turning away fierce hitters. When the Yankees needed him to spot start, he answered the call and did great, scattering 3 runs over 3 starts. Most recently, he struck out 8 over 7 innings of work against the Rays a little more than a week ago. Congrats David, hopefully the award can be sent to ‘ya in Trenton.
YANKEES COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Phil Hughes (9-7, 4.33 ERA, 92 SO)
Granted, Phil Hughes is nowhere near a solid starter, but he is head and shoulders above where he was last year. After being out of shape and injured early on in 2011, Hughes finished the year with a 5.79 ERA in just 17 games. Reverting back to the offseason program and mentality that made him a great #3 starter for the Yankees in 2010, Hughes has since become that again here in 2012. After more downs than ups from April to the middle part of May, Hughes has really turned it on of late, allowing just 5 earned runs in his last 7 starts. The thing that clinches this award for Hughes, besides no other player really in a comeback situation, is that he has been healthy and has grown to be a consistent starter, knocking on wood, since May. If he keeps it up, he has a chance to start the fourth game in a 7-game series, considering CC, Kuroda, and Pettitte get the first three. Keep it up Phil.
So there you guys have it. Those are my awards for the first half of the Yankees season. Do you agree? Are there more awards you can think of? More deserving players? Comment below!
Tonight was the 83rd annual All-Star Game at Kauffman stadium and the Yankees were represented by 3 bats from their lineup. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson each had 2 AB each in the crushing loss to the National League.
Derek Jeter: Derek Jeter went 1 for 2 in the game and even did the Jeter jump throw in the 1st inning. Unfortunately, Mark Teixeira wasn’t the one at 1st base and instead it was Prince Fielder meaning the play that’s usually an out ended up ricocheting off of Fielder’s glove.
Robinson Cano: Robinson Cano was still feeling the effects from yesterday’s HR Derby after Kansas City turned what was supposed to be a fun event into a tainted experience. But Robinson Cano also went 1 for 2 with a single, he caught Bryce Harper in a run down and he made some great plays at second base. Don’t mess with Robbie Cano. Because he will get you.
Curtis Granderson: Curtis Granderson didn’t dazzle at the plate going 0 for 2 but he did get the runners over in an inning where the AL scored absolutely no runs. Well, Granderson looked like he was having fun–that’s all that matters really.
All and all in the end, no one got hurt and everyone had fun. Even Robinson Cano, who smiled so widely he could do a commercial for 1-800-DENTIST showing off his pearly whites. Now Jeter, CC, Granderson and Cano can happily head home to New York to prepare for the LA Angels series on Friday. Plus with Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain and maybe even Mariano Rivera coming back, the Yankees can go nowhere but up from here.
Lineup vs. National League:
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Josh Hamilton LF
Jose Bautista RF
Prince Fielder 1B
Adrian Beltre 3B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli C
Curtis Granderson CF
RHP Justin Verlander
Lineup vs. American League:
Carlos Gonzalez DH
Melky Cabrera CF
Ryan Braun LF
Joey Votto 1B
Carlos Beltran RF
Buster Posey C
Pedro Sandoval 3B
Dan Uggla 2B
Rafael Furcal SS
RHP Matt Cain
Game Time: Tuesday July 10, 2012 @ 8pm
Stadium: Kauffman Stadium
— Tony LaRussa said that it was a “tough call” to pick SF Giants starter Matt Cain over NYM starter R.A Dickey for the start in the All-Star Game, but I believe the reason behind it might be that the NL starting catcher Buster Posey has no idea how to catch R.A Dickey’s knuckler (remember this is only Posey’s 3rd full MLB year.
— Tonight is the Home Run Derby which Yankee second basemen Robinson Cano will be taking apart of. That will be on ESPN.
Today, Major League Baseball announced the roster for the 2012 All-Star game and the roster is interesting. Here are your 2012 All-Stars (the Yankees names will be in bold and in navy blue.)
American League Starters
Catcher: Mike Napoli (Texas Rangers)
1st Base: Prince Fielder (Detroit Tigers)
2nd Base: Robinson Cano (New York Yankees)
Shortstop: Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)
3rd Base: Adrian Beltre (Texas Rangers)
Outfield 1: Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers)
Outfield 2: Curtis Granderson (New York Yankees)
Outfield 3: Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays)
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox)
American League Reserves:
Catcher: Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
Catcher: Matt Wieters (Baltimore Orioles)
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (Texas Rangers)
Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera (Cleveland Indians)
3rd Base: Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
2nd Base: Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers)
1st Base: Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox)
Outfield: Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles)
Outfield: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)
1st Base/Outfielder: Mark Trumbo (Los Angeles Angels)
1st Base: Adam Dunn (Chicago White Sox)
1st Base: Billy Butler (Kansas City Royals)
American League Pitchers:
David Price (Tampa Bay Rays)
CC Sabathia (New York Yankees)
Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
Jered Weaver (Los Angeles Angels)
C.J Wilson (Los Angeles Angels)
Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners)
Joe Nathan (Minnesota Twins)
Chris Perez (Cleveland Indians)
Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay Rays)
Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox)
Jim Johnson (Baltimore Orioles)
Matt Harrison (Texas Rangers)
Ryan Cook (Oakland Athletics)
National League Starters:
Catcher: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
1st Base: Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds)
2nd Base: Dan Uggla (Atlanta Braves)
Shortstop: Rafael Furcal (St. Louis Cardinals)
3rd Base: Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants)
Outfielder 1: Melky Cabrera (San Francisco Giants)
Outfielder 2: Carlos Beltran (St. Louis Cardinals)
Outfielder 3: Matt Kemp (Los Angeles Dodgers)
National League Reserves:
Catcher: Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia Phillies)
1st Base: Bryan LaHair (Chicago Cubs)
2nd Base: Jose Altuve (Houston Astros)
Shortstop: Starlin Castro (Chicago Cubs)
Shortstop: Ian Desmond (Washington Nationals)
3rd Base: David Wright (New York Mets)
Outfielder: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)
Outfielder: Jay Bruce (Cincinnati Reds)
Outfielder: Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies)
Outfielder: Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Outfielder: Giancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins)
National League Pitchers:
Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants)
Aroldis Chapman (Cincinnati Reds)
R. A Dickey (New York Mets)
Gio Gonzalez (Washington Nationals)
Cole Hamels (Philadelphia Phillies)
Joel Hanrahan (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves)
Lance Lynn (St. Louis Cardinals)
Wade Miley (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Jonathan Papelbon (Philadelphia Phillies)
Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals)
Huston Street (San Diego Padres)
There is still the rule where if you are pitching on that Sunday before the All-Star break, you are not allowed to pitch in the All-Star game, so it will be interesting to see how the All-Star roster changes since then. Also CC Sabathia & Matt Kemp cannot play because they are both on the DL, so it will be interesting to see who takes their spots.
Is there a player that didn’t make it that you feel you should have? I have a couple such as A.J Burnett and Rafael Soriano. Place who you feel should have made it in the All-Star game in the comments section below.