Well, here we are. Despite the All-Star Game still being nine days away, the Rays have officially played 81 games and technically are at the mid-point of their season. So where do they stand?
With 48 wins and 33 losses, the Rays are on pace to win 96 games. Even with their horrible June, they are still on pace to finish within one game of their magical 2008 season.
Yes, this year is different, and yes, both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are arguably as good or, more likely, better than their 2008 forms. But to the Rays' credit, they have done as much as can be expected against the big boys of the AL East. They put a team on the field that can and will compete with those two on any given night.
With that said, here are my mid-season team awards:
MVP: Carl Crawford. Crawford is making the 2010 campaign perhaps the best of his career. If you project out his current stats for the remainder of the season, Crawford would hit .316 with 190 hits, 38 doubles, 12 triples, 14 home runs, 82 RBI and 58 steals. Not to mention ... oh, wait, I do want to mention his stellar defense out in left. All of this translates into the most valuable player on the team in terms of WAR, with the next closest being a full win behind.
Runner Up: Evan Longoria. Longo continues his emergence as one of the game's elite third baseman as he is now 3-for-3 in getting into the All-Star Game. It's a feat that is even greater when you consider the All-Star Game focuses more on past stars than current ones. Longoria's currently on pace to hit .298 with 186 hits, 50 doubles, six triples, 24 home runs, 118 RBI, while stealing 24 bases.
Cy Young: David Price. Price is becoming the pitcher Tampa Bay fans were all hoping he could be this year. He has already set a career high for his short career in wins (11) and is sporting an impressive 2.25 ERA for the season in the hitter friendly AL East. He is also second on the team in innings pitched (107 2/3), and strikeouts (90).
Rookie of the Year: John Jaso. With Navarro being a holdover who was making over $2 million and recently traded-for Kelly Shoppach expected to be the catching options for the Rays, did anyone see this coming? Jaso has put together a solid first half. So far, Jaso has posted a .274/.398/.389 line. The truly impressive aspect of Jaso's game is his plate discipline and pitch recognition. To this point in the season, he has walked 31 times while striking out just 17.
Runner-Up: Reid Brignac/Sean Rodriguez. These two have teamed up to create a dynamic duo in the Rays middle infield, as they complement each other with Rodriguez giving the Rays a right handed bat and Brignac providing the opposite.
The book on Rodriguez coming into the season was that he provided a big bat with a below average glove for many positions. He has certainly proven the bat (.276/.310/.438). The big surprise has been Rodriguez's glove. He has shown some pretty fancy defense at second base and can also be plugged in at short stop and in any of the outfield positions.
Coming into this season, Brignac was known as a good glove to plug at either short or second and has delivered that plus a decent showing at the plate (.277/.340/.384). These two have shown that despite the possible losses after this year (Pena, Crawford, Soriano, etc.), the future may still be promising for the Rays.
So there you have it, your mid-season team awards. Do you agree? Can you make a case for someone else?