By: Eli Silverstone
The first half of the 2023 MLB season has had plenty of stand-out stars, exciting rookies and fantastic pitchers. It is too early to make full-season predictions, but some of these performances are worthy of some love. Here are The Intermission’s picks for each award based on their first-half stats.
AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani (Honorable Mention: Yordan Alvarez)
What more can you say? He leads the majors in Home Runs (24) and OPS (.993) while pitching to the 3rd most strikeouts in the MLB (136 in 84 innings pitched) and a 3.13 ERA. Aaron Judge literally had to hit 63 home runs last year just to barely beat Ohtani and the Japanese phenom has maintained his dominance.
NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr. (HM: Corbin Carroll)
First things first, Corbin Carroll almost got this spot. If you could tie for MVP, I’d give it to both of them. However, Acuna’s ridiculous season, which has him 4th in the MLB in OPS (.961), 2nd in Stolen Bases (31), 2nd in AVG (.327) and 1st in Runs (63), earns him the nod. The ACL injury that ended his 2021 season seems like a very long time ago.
AL Cy Young: Shane McClanahan (HM: Framber Valdez)
The ace of the best team in baseball, McClanahan sports the best ERA in the MLB (2.12), the most wins (11-1 record) and holds the third-best opponents’ batting average in the AL (.201). Tampa’s pitching factory has produced one of the best and most underrated pitchers in the league since 2021.
NL Cy Young: Marcus Stroman (HM: Zac Gallen)
Who saw this one coming? Stroman is enjoying the best season of his career, leading the National League in ERA (2.28), WHIP (1.02) and leading the MLB in Quality Starts (14). Despite the Cubs' record being 36-38, they only sit 3.5 games back of the division lead in the NL Central. Will the Cubs buy at the deadline to help Stroman or will the Stro Show move to a contender?
AL Rookie of the Year: Masataka Yoshida (HM: Hunter Brown)
The 29-year-old rookie from Japan has come over and has just flat-out been a professional hitter. He’s hitting at a .308 AVG (3rd in the AL) and an .866 OPS (7th in the AL). He’s been fantastic for Boston but the age is a little worrisome considering the Red Sox don't look to be a playoff team in 2023.
NL Rookie of the Year: Corbin Carroll (HM: Matt Mclain)
I mean, if you’re talking about this guy for NL MVP… he probably has ROTY locked up. He ranks 4th in the majors in OPS (.955), 4th in SB (21) and top 15 in both HRs (16) and AVG (.298). He’s amassed 3.7 WAR already and his stats through his first 100 games in the majors mirror those of a rookie Mike Trout.
AL Reliever of the Year: Felix Bautista (HM: Emmanuel Clase)
Bautista’s late 2022 breakout has continued in 2023 to the tune of 20 Saves, two less than league leaders Jordan Romano and Emmanual Clase. But his 1.04 ERA clears Romano’s 2.59 and Clase’s 2.55 by a fair margin. Bautista also has a staggering 69 K’s in 34 innings. He and Yennier Cano have shut down the 8th and 9th inning for a breakout Orioles club.
NL Reliever of the Year: Alexis Diaz (HM Camilo Doval)
Brother of New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, Alexis is currently on a 23-consecutive save streak without a blown save drawing back to last year. He has 20 saves on the year to pair with a 2.03 ERA and 55 K’s in 31 innings. He is doing fantastic work for a surprising and exciting Reds team.