Madison Bumgarner is 9-4 with a 2.09 ERA for the first-place San Francisco Giants, the team with the best record in the National League. Jake Arrieta is 12-3 with a 2.33 ERA for the first-place Chicago Cubs and has pitched a no-hitter. Stephen Strasburg is 11-0 with a 2.71 ERA for the first-place Washington Nationals. And Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins is averaging 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings, something only Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez have done in a full season.
It looks like the race for the National League Cy Young is a hot one and yet it really isn't as we head into the mythical midpoint of the baseball season.
Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw would win the hardware if it were given today, even though he is on the 15-day disabled list at the moment. Kershaw has compiled an 11-2 record with a 1.79 ERA and in 121 innings has struck out 145 and walked just nine.
With the mathematical midpoint of the season still big in the rearview mirror and the All-Star Game break coming up fast, it is a perfect time to take stock of the race for baseball's big awards. Here then are our choices if we had to pick them today.
National League MVP
Rizzo has 20 home runs and 61 RBI and a .962 OPS. There is an argument here, too for Kershaw though he doesn't play every day. And the Rockies' Nolan Arenado has 23 homers and 69 RBI but it's being obscured by an unsuccessful team.
The top five: 1. Bryant, 2. Rizzo, 3. Kershaw, 4. Yoenis Cespedes (Mets), 5. Arenado.
NL Cy Young
The top five: 1. Kershaw, 2. Arrieta, 3. Fernandez, 4. Cueto, 5. Familia.
NL Rookie of the Year
The top three: 1. Seager, 2. Story, 3. Aldemys Diaz (Cardinals).
NL Manager of the Year
The top three: 1. Baker, 2. Don Mattingly (Marlins), 3. Bruce Bochy (Giants).