The midway point of the MLB season is here, and there are only a few near-certainties. The Yankees look like they’ll finish with the best record, and the Astros appear to be the only team in the American League that can stop them. In the National League, the Mets have one of the best records without having the best pitcher in the league healthy and in the rotation.

There’s at least one other near-certainty: Nobody is more valuable than Shohei Ohtani (and the Angels still can’t figure out how to contend with him and Mike Trout in the lineup every day).

With that, here are the individual midseason award winners around MLB (statistics through July 5).


Jun 22, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) pitches in the first inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani 2022 stats
.259 .343 .498 18 9 2.68 101 74 3.9

Ohtani's bat started a little slow, and left-handed pitchers are doing a strong job of keeping him in the ballpark — which is why his slugging percentage is still south of .500 midway through the season. And yet, he's the overall AL WAR leader at Baseball Reference and is just two-tenths behind Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers at Fangraphs.

A big difference in Ohtani's favor this season has been his pitching. He basically picked up where he left off in the second half of 2021. With an ERA in the top 10 in the AL (among those with at least 70 innings pitched) and a strikeout percentage that's third in the league, he's a fringe (but real) AL Cy Young candidate.

To win the MVP again, he'll need to keep pitching like he is and get hot at the plate for a month or two like he did last year. The thing is, nobody else does what Ohtani does on both sides of the ball, so the only things that can stop him are his own slumps and voters being bored with the novelty of Ohtani's two-way greatness — or maybe those who would dismiss him because the Angels won't contend for the playoffs again. One thing to note: teammate Mike Trout has the same bWAR.

Other candidates: Devers, Aaron Judge of the Yankees, Yordan Álvarez of the Astros and José Ramírez of the Guardians are all having great seasons on contending teams. Álvarez (.311/.411/.649 with 24 home runs) has been the best hitter of the group, but he lacks a positive contribution on defense.


Jun 10, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) slides in at third base against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

Goldschmidt 2022 stats
.340 .423 .617 19 65 184 4.4

His defensive numbers apparently have slipped at age 34 coming off his fourth career Gold Glove, but few players have been better than Goldschmidt while he’s been in the league when you combine hitting, running the bases and playing the field. He leads the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and total bases, and he has a chance to lead the NL in home runs and RBIs. There are a number of Hall of Fame first basemen right now with worse career numbers than Goldschmidt.

Other candidates: Padres third baseman Manny Machado remains one of the best defensive players in the league in addition to being one of its top sluggers. Machado has leveled off a little at the plate since his sizzling April but has plenty of time to get hotter than anyone else. It might surprise you to learn that right-hander Sandy Alcántara of the Marlins leads the NL in bWAR; he's ahead of Goldschmidt by a tenth of a point.


Jun 20, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan (18) throws a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

AL Cy Young: Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays

McClanahan 2022 stats
1.74 133 98 1/3 3.1

The second-year left-hander leads the league in ERA, strikeouts and bWAR for pitchers, and he is fifth in innings. He has the best K/BB ratio in the league and has an outside chance to win 20 games.

Other candidates: Justin Verlander of the Astros, Alek Manoah of the Blue Jays, Martín Pérez of the Rangers, Nestor Cortes of the Yankees and Dylan Cease of the White Sox are among a number of pitchers who could close the gap in the second half. Even another Jays pitcher, right-hander Kevin Gausman — whose 1.74 fielding independent pitching leads the majors by a wide margin — could get on a roll.


Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara throws to New York Mets' Mark Canha during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, June 24, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

NL Cy Young: Sandy Alcántara, Miami Marlins

Alcántara 2022 stats
1.82 107 123 1/3 4.7

He's the first-half winner based on his ERA ranking second and his innings pitched (and bWAR) ranking first. He'd be a more serious MVP candidate if more voters properly valued starting pitchers and realized that the best starters have more opportunities to impact a game than the best batters. Alcantara leads the NL in batters faced with 443. Bo Bichette of the Blue Jays has 360 plate appearances to lead the majors.

Other candidates: Tony Gonsolin of the Dodgers is a remarkable success story, leading the league with a 1.54 ERA. But he's also about 34 innings behind Alcantara. Joe Musgrove of the Padres, Corbin Burnes of the Brewers, Max Fried of the Braves and Zack Wheeler of the Phillies are among other possibilities if Alcántara and Gonsolin slip. Max Scherzer probably missed too many starts to have a chance, but how many first-place votes will Jacob deGrom get if he has a 1.20 ERA in 15 starts in the second half?


Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez reacts at the end of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Sunday, July 3, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

AL Rookie of the Year: Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners

Rodríguez 2022 stats
.277 .336 .487 15 43 21 151 3.5

He is neck-and-neck with Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña, but Rodríguez is batting .297/.352/.560 with 15 homers and 11 stolen bases since May 1, which also puts him on pace to enter the MVP conversation.

Other candidates: In addition to Peña, Twins right-hander Joe Ryan is compiling a strong rookie season.


Jun 26, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (65) reacts after a strikeout against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

NL Rookie of the Year: Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves

Strider 2022 stats
2.87 90 59 2/3 1.6

The race is wide open, but so far, Strider has put together the best rookie performance, which includes two 11-strikeout games since June 15. After beginning the season in the bullpen, the 23-year-old right-hander has made seven starts with a 3.31 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. He's reached six innings both times and notched 18 total strikeouts in his past two starts. He doesn't have enough innings to qualify, but his 37.7 strikeout percentage would lead the league if he did.

Other candidates: There are a number of position players who could be strong candidates with a big second half. Nolan Gorman of the Cardinals, Michael Harris II of the Braves and Seiya Suzuki of the Cubs come to mind. Among pitchers, Padres left-hander MacKenzie Gore has a 7.94 ERA over his past four starts but could get back in the mix if he can re-assert himself the rest of the way.


May 29, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward (8) stands on the field before the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

AL Manager of the Year: Chris Woodward, Texas Rangers

The big free agents who were added to a 102-loss club haven't done much so far, though Marcus Semien and Corey Seager probably will be fine. Regardless, the Rangers are on pace to win 16 more games in 2022. Since we can't really credit the free agents, let's give the nod to Woodward.

Other candidates: The Orioles certainly are better than they were in 2021, and they certainly didn't add much in the way of talent in the offseason. Brandon Hyde is their manager.


Apr 27, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; New York Mets manager Buck Showalter (11) looks on before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

NL Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, New York Mets

Only three teams have a better record. Sure, the Mets were expected to contend after trading for Max Scherzer and making other improvements to the roster, but they have faced a lot of adversity without Jacob deGrom for the entire season and Scherzer for the past seven (or so) weeks.

In other seasons, the Mets might have underachieved or even collapsed. However, Showalter has given them higher expectations and the players responded collectively.

Other candidates: So much went wrong for the Padres in 2021, and they finished 12-34 down the stretch after contending for the playoffs for most of the season. A lot has gone wrong in 2022, notably the absence of Fernando Tatis, but under first-year manager Bob Melvin, the Padres have played through it and are on a 90-plus-win pace.

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