2012 Sports With Balls Show Midseason Baseball Awards

The National League dominated the Midsummer Classic in Kansas City by a score of 8-0. This marks that the 1st half of the baseball season has come to a close.

It also signifies that it is time to hand out the Sports With Balls Show Midseason Baseball Awards, or the Ballsies, as Bill Fucich likes to call them.

(All seven members of the Sports With Balls Blog were balloted to select the winner of each award. Listed are the winners of the ballot, with the next leading vote-getters in descending order. Each ballot was cast with a vote for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place. Point totals were added to declare winners.)

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Take a peek at last seasons Midseason Awards

Best Team of the 1st Half

Texas Rangers (17 votes)“The Rangers are trying to do the unthinkable and appear in their third straight World Series. Despite losing their ace in the off season they still have been among the best teams in all of baseball. A key reason for continued success is Josh Hamilton’s impressive numbers..” – Glenn Coyle

“The Rangers may not have the best record but they’re still a tremendously dangerous team. They hit, they pitch, they field. They do all of them extremely well and have limited weaknesses. .” – Michael Bedard

“Despite injuries seemingly all season to their pitching staff and a surge by the Angels, the Rangers hold a four-game lead at the break. Their quest for a third straight AL pennant is in full gear.” – Matt Sherman

Close but no Cigar:

New York Yankees (16 votes)“The Rangers are still the favorite in the AL come October, but the Yankees had the slightly more impressive first half of the season. Their lineup can mash but the Bombers need to sure up their rotation before the playoff push. Is a Yankees/Rangers Hamels arms race preeminent?” – Bill Fucich

“Pineda, Pettitte, Sabathia, Robertson & Rivera have all missed significant time due to injury and the Yanks continue to lead the American League East by 7 games.  As players begin to get healthy and reinforcements arrive toward the trade deadline the Yanks will become a force in the AL playoff race.” – Mike Orzechowski

Washington Nationals (8 votes)“Some predicted the Nationals as a much improved team in 2012, but 3rd best team in baseball? Quite the jump for a franchise which needs to build a fanbase, a season like this will put them well on their way. The Nationals show no signs of collapse, even with the impending shut down of ace Stephen Strasburg. Easily the most consistent NL team of baseball’s first half.” – Bill Fucich

Also receiving votes:

Los Angeles Angels (1 vote)“Despite a rough start the Angels now find themselves among baseballs best. Team leader, great hitter, gold glove defense….Mike Trout is the team MVP. Where you expecting another name that just signed a monster contract in the off-season?” – Warren Croxton

Most Surprising 1st Half Team

Pittsburgh Pirates (15 votes) (2nd consecutive win) – “The Pirates teased the baseball world before ultimately collapsing in August last year. This team has a different air around them though, they are deeper in the starting rotation, bullpen and lineup and have reserves ready to provide a spark in Indianapolis (Marte, Locke, Owens) upon a call up. The Pirates have the trade chips to make a big deadline move as well. The 2011 Pirates never reached 11 games over .500 or had a positive run differential like the 2012 version.” – Bill Fucich

Bill Fucich of “Sports with Balls” gets the last laugh in Citzens Bank Park this season.

“The Pirates tricked us into thinking they were for real around this time last year before fading. This season could be different though, as the division is weaker now and that second wild card could keep Pittsburgh in legitimate contention until the end.” – Matt Sherman

TiGO’s 2012 Mid-Season Pirates Awards

Almost as surprising:

New York Mets (10.5 votes)“The R.A. Dickey story is incredible. A team that was dumping pay roll last year, may be looking to add some this year. David Wright had a tremendous first half, bit its been Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Daniel Murphy who have stepped up their game.” – Scott Boutcher

“Some pegged the Mets as a possible 100 loss team in 2012. After a dominating sweep against the Braves opening weekend the Mets have not looked back. A staff anchored by RA Dickey and Johan Santana has been phenomenal (3.55 ERA, 3rd NL) but their offensive production in clutch and 2 out situation has been even more impressive. The Mets lead the NL in all three slash categories AVG/OBP/SLG with runners in scoring position and 2 outs. While impressive it also gives one pause as to whether or not New York can continue their pace in the 2nd half. – Bill Fucich

Washington Nationals (9 votes)“Young, strong, and perhaps setting up for a multi-year run.” – Michael Bedard

“The Nationals have been improving over the last few years.  Many expected improvement in 2012 but few thought the Nationals would be the best and most consistent National League team of the first half.” – Mike Orzechowski

Also receiving votes:

Baltimore Orioles (3.5 votes)“There will be relevant baseball in Baltimore this summer and perhaps fall. Jason Hammel and Wei Lin Chen have anchored a much improved Oriole pitching staff. The lineup that always looked good on paper is finally producing, led by Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. If Buck can keep them in the wild card race, a Manager of the Year award could be coming his way.”– Scott Boutcher

Chicago White Sox (3 votes) “With all the offseason hoopla about the Tigers and the Indians emergence as a young team with promise the White Sox seemed to have been lost in the AL Central shuffle. However with the steady offensive numbers of Paul Konerko, bounce back year from Alex Rios, 25 HRs from Adam Dunn and Chris Sale anchoring the staff the White Sox look like the best team in the AL Central. – Bill Fucich

Oakland Athletics (1 vote)“Moneyball Magic!  The Oakland Athletics are playing .500 ball through the seasons first half despite little offense outside of Josh Reddick.  The 2nd wild card keeps the A’s in the playoff hunt for now. – Mike Orzechowski

Most Disappointing 1st Half Team

Philadelphia Phillies (20 votes)“This team flat-out sucks! Inconsistent offense, poor defense, under performing starting staff coupled with a disaster of a bullpen leads to an awful season. There have been very little positives to come out of the 2012 Phillies season, injuries or not this team should be better than 13 under .500 at the break.” – Mike Orzechowski

“Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Phillies. The lineup has had trouble scoring runs as Victorino and Pence have not been available to fill the production of Utley and Howard. Cliff Lee has one win and the bullpen has had trouble getting the ball to Papelbon.”– Scott Boutcher

“Being without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard for half a season and Roy Halladay for a couple of months certainly put the Phillies behind the 8 ball. But a 37-50 record at the break is still shocking. The Phils have made miraculous runs to the postseason under Charlie Manuel before, but this would be Houdini-like in 2012.” – Matt Sherman

Also struggling to meet expectations:

Detroit Tigers (7 votes) “Every player the Tigers could have expected to come thru has not come thru. Inge was a disaster, 2nd base is still empty. They’re in it but only thru the grace of those around them.” – Michael Bedard

“The Tigers were supposed to win the AL Central by 10 games.  To this point they have had trouble just staying in the race.  While there is still plenty of time to turn things around in Detroit, they might want to begin sooner rather than later.” – Michael Orzechowski

Boston Red Sox (5 votes)“A team plagued by injuries has made Bobby Valentine earn his paycheck. Inconsistent pitching has helped put them in early holes in a lot of games. Getting healthy will certainly help but they also need Adrian Gonzalez to pick it up they wish to remain in the thick of the wild card race into the fall.”– Scott Boutcher

“When it goes bad, it goes bad.” – Michael Bedard

Milwaukee Brewers (4 votes) “Of course they would drop down a notch or two without Prince Fielder, but it’s been a rougher ride than expected for the Brewers. They rank near the bottom of the NL in pitching, and have struggled to find offense outside of Ryan Braun.” – Matt Sherman

“The struggles of big market teams like Philadelphia & Boston has helped shadow the struggles in Milwaukee.  The Brew Crew came within a few games of reaching the 2011 World Series only to fall apart in the 2012.  The pitching staff has been atrocious, it looks like its time to sell.” – Mike Orzechowski

Miami Marlins (4 votes) “This past offseason the Marlins signed some high-profile personalities on the field and at manager. So far the talents have yet to gel and they got in hot water for discussing a matter which had nothing to do with baseball. Thanks Ozzie.” – Glenn Coyle

“Two of their big signings (Bell, Reyes) have provided little to a team that finished 72-90 so perhaps this isn’t that big of a surprise. Media hype and bold predictions still say otherwise, thus earning them a spot.” – Bill Fucich

Also receiving votes:

Arizona Diamondbacks (1 vote)“The defending Western Division champions returned just about everyone from their playoff roster last year and looked poised to be a contender in the NL. While their offensive numbers as a whole have been relatively good, some of their key players seem to have stumbled in 2012. Pitching in the end has been their downfall, as the starters and their bullpen have not been as consistent as lat year’s division winning team. At just one game under .500 and 4 GB of the Dodgers for the West lead the Dbacks, despite a poor first half, still are within striking distance.” – Bill Fucich

NL 1st Half MVP

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (20 votes)“Ranking 1st in Average, 1st in Total Bases, 2nd in Slugging and 2nd in OPS in all of Major League Baseball the 25-year-old has taken the NL by storm and navigated the Pirates through the 1st month’s toughest schedule, largely by himself offensively. There is little argument why he isn’t the 1st half MVP.” – Bill Fucich

“For the first time in many years the Pirates spent money to keep their talent. In the first half McCutchen has shown that he was worth the investment. The majors leading hitter has put the Pirates in position to reach the playoffs for the first time in almost twenty years.” -Glenn Coyle

“He’s not a .362 hitter, but for a team that’s in the bottom 3rd in runs scored, he’s been a savior. Glad to see him finally get some national attention.” – Warren Croxton

On deck and in the hole…

Carlos Beltran, Cardinals (8 votes)“Beltran has been a godsend to the Cardinals organization.  With Pujols in Anaheim & Lance Berkman beat up, Beltran has had himself a sensation season.  Beltran, Holiday and a solid pitching staff with look to propel themselves in the playoffs with strong second half effort.” – Mike Orzechowski

“Was a great signing for the Cardinals in the offseason. He leads the NL with 65 runs batted in and has done a great job replacing the injured bat of Lance Berkman and the departure of Pujols.” – Scott Boutcher

David Wright, Mets (6 votes)“The Mets would not be were they are without David Wright. His season has been overshadowed by R.A Dickey but he continues to produce for this surprising contender.” – Glenn Coyle

“Showing how talented he is without the injuries. OPS over 1.000 with more walks than strikeouts. He is really good.” – Warren Croxton

Joey Votto, Reds (6 votes)“If not for the fantastic year of McCutchen, the Reds 1st basemen would be well on his way to a 2nd NL MVP (2010). Votto leads baseball in OPS and Extra Base Hits.” – Bill Fucich

“He’s the best player in the National League. 65 walks to 64 strikeouts is beyond incredible.” – Warren Croxton

Also receiving votes:

R.A. Dickey, Mets (1 vote)“The Mets starter has been the story of baseball so far and has his team contending for a division title.” – Glenn Coyle

Carlos Ruiz, Phillies (1 vote)“Where would the Phillies be without this guy. Leads all catchers in BA, Slugging % and OPS (hovering just below 1.000) and has provided the majority of the offensive spark for the NL’s seventh best scoring team.” – Bill Fucich

NL 1st Half Cy Young

R.A. Dickey, Mets (19 votes)“First in wins and WHIP, 2nd in K’s, 4th in K/9, 5th in ERA, He’s been the best pitcher in NL despite what that clown Tony LaRussa thinks.” – Warren Croxton

“With an ERA of 2.84 in 2010 and 3.28 in 2011, Dickey’s climb to Cy Young caliber isn’t as dramatic as some make it. The right-hander was a shoe-in for first half Cy Young before a couple stumbles against the Yankees and Phillies in 2 of his last 3 outings. Still two one hitters and a streak of 44 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run was as impressive a month for a pitcher as we have had this season.” -Bill Fucich

Rounding out the rotation:

Gio Gonzalez, Nationals (7 votes)“Tied for 1st in wins, 2nd in K/9, tied for 4th in K’s. Will need to be the ace of the staff when Strasburg gets shut down.” – Warren Croxton

“He may not have the name recognition of other players on his team, but Gio Gonzalez has been the best pitcher on a dominate pitching staff.” – Glenn Coyle

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (6 votes)“Helped anchor the Nationals pitching staff to first place in the NL East. He only has nine wins but leads the NL with 128 strikeouts. The unfortunate part for baseball fans and the Nationals is that he only has 71 more innings before the team will shut him down.” – Scott Boutcher

“1st in K/9, 1st in K’s, 5th in K/BB. Having a great season, but looks the Nats are dead serious on their innings limit.”– Warren Croxton

James McDonald, Pirates (4 votes)“3rd in ERA, 3rd in WHIP, 2nd in Average against and 9 Wins during an ultra consistent 1st half while anchoring the rotation for the 1st place Pittsburgh Pirates.” – Bill Fucich

“McDonald has been the leagues most consistent starter during the course of the first half. It’s a damn shame he didn’t have the opportunity to pitch in the All-Star game but something tells me he has his eyes set on a better prize.” – Mike Orzechowski

Matt Cain, Giants (3 votes) “Matt Cain is finally getting the credit he has earned over the past few years. With a perfect game under his belt as well as a 1 hitter vs the Pirates, Cain has put in two of the best pitching performances in baseball this year. He is top 10 in the NL in WHIP, AVG, ERA, Strikeouts, Wins and IP.” – Bill Fucich

Also receiving votes:

Johnny Cueto, Reds (2 votes)“Not an all-star?  Are you serious? Goes to show Tony LaRussa is a jackass.” – Mike Orzechowski

Craig Kimbrel, Braves (1 vote)“Kimbrel has been the most dominating closer in the National League.  We know he has great stuff but will he be able to stay strong into deep October?” – Mike Orzechowski

AL 1st Half MVP

Josh Hamilton, Rangers (19 votes) –“What an absurd first half Hamilton put together. After having a 4 homer game against the Orioles, he heads into the break with a ridiculous 75 runs batted in. Hamilton will be in a dog fight with Jose Bautista for the home run title in the second half.”Scott Boutcher

“Has been a physical freak this year.” -Michael Bedard

“Only pace for 51 home runs and 141 RBI. Not a bad contract year.” -Warren Croxton

On deck and in the hole:

Mike Trout, Angels (9 votes)“The Angels took off when the 20-year-old phenom was added to the big club. Trout leads the AL in average and is 4th in OPS. He already provided the best catch of the season to this point against Baltimore and provides the Angels with a guy who can get on base and steal bases at will (26 SB 1st in the AL). In a lineup full of stars the 20-year-old has become “the show”.” – Bill Fucich

“If his current pace keeps up Mike Trout is on his way to very special things. The 20-year old phenom has been fantastic since his recall on April 28th.  In addition to fantastic numbers Trout has led the Angels to the best record in baseball (42-24) since his debut. The sky is the limit!” – Mike Orzechowski

Robinson Cano, Yankees (6 votes) “Not only is he the best second baseman in baseball, he’s one of the best players in the game.” – Warren Croxton

“The Yankees are among the best teams in baseball in large part because of Cano’s consistent play.” – Glenn Coyle

Also receiving votes:

David Oritz, Red Sox (3 votes)“Have to admit I didn’t realize quite how impressive of a season Papi was putting together before looking at the numbers. Ortiz ranks in the Top 10 in the AL for 2B, HR, Hits, TB, Avg, OBP and Slugging %. Ortiz is tied for the AL lead with 47 XBH and is second to only Hamilton in OPS as the only other AL hitter above 1.000 (1.013).” – Bill Fucich

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (3 votes)“Moving to another position certainly has not affected his bat. Cabrera has the 2nd most runs batted in and 6th best average in the league and is absolutely loving having Prince Fielder behind him.”– Scott Boutcher

Mark Trumbo, Angels (2 votes) – “Trumbo has had a sensational first half.  Who would have guessed prior to the season that Albert Pujols would be the Halos 3rd best offensive player by a rather large distance.” – Mike Orzechowski

AL 1st Half Cy Young

Jered Weaver, Angels (20 votes)“Don’t blame him for the Angles slow start. Weaver is among the leaders in the most statistical categories among pitchers.” – Glenn Coyle

“Weaver leads a very close CY Young race. His 1.96 era is the best in AL and his 10 wins are third best. As a bonus, he also tossed a no-hitter in the first half.” Scott Boutcher

“He only strikes out 6.80 batters per nine innings? I guess that’s the worst part of his season, he’s been great this year” – Warren Croxton

Second and third in the rotation:

Chris Sale, White Sox (13 votes)“A reliever turned starter, Sale has shined in his spot in the rotation. He is tied for 3rd with 10 wins, second best era at just over 2 and has close to 100 strikeouts. Sale has anchored a staff that heads in to the break at the top of AL Central.” – Scott Boutcher

“The White Sox are leading their division in part because Sale’s impressive first half.” – Glenn Coyle

Justin Verlander, Tigers (6 votes)“Somehow he’s right behind Weaver. These two have the potential to split the Cy Young for the next 8 years. No one would be shocked with their stuff.” – Michael Bedard

“The wins of 2011 might not be there, but he’s still been great in 2012. Opponents are hitting .200 with an OPS of .566. Opponents had an OPS of .555 last year. Incredible numbers.” – Warren Croxton

Also receiving votes:

David Price, Rays (1 vote)“Price has been the ace of a young & talented Rays staff. They continue to excel despite payroll limitations.” – Mike Orzechowski

Scott Downs, Angels (1 vote) “Downs has been awesome out of the Angels pen.  He is among the team leaders in saves & holds.  He has an era of 0.30 through 32 games.  He is one of many reasons why the Angels remains dangerous going forward.” – Mike Orzechowski

Ernesto Frieri, Angels (1 vote)“Since being acquired from the Padres he has locked down the back-end of the Angels bullpen by not allowing a run. That is right Frieri hasn’t allowed a run, earned or otherwise since early May when he was a member of San Diego (26.1 IP). Frieri has a WHIP of 0.95 and an against average of .096 while compiling 11 Saves in 11 opportunities. The Angels’ BP ace has an astronomical 15.38 K/9 rate as well.” – Bill Fucich

Surprise Player of the First Half

R.A. Dickey, Mets (16 votes) – “Never would have anticipated that Dickey would be a Cy Young contender. Incredible transformation this year.” – Michael Bedard

“A knuckleballer who has taken the majors by storm this year and leads the league in wins.” – Glenn Coyle

“12 wins including two 1-hitters, couldn’t see that coming. “ – Scott Boutcher

Other shockers:

Melky Cabrera, Giants (4 votes) – “A career .283 hitter with an OBP of .336, is currently hitting .353 with an OBP of .391. Defintely a surprise.” – Warren Croxton

Austin Jackson, Tigers (4 votes)“After a lackluster 2011 the 25 yr old has posted career highs at each triple slash statistic .332/.408/.545. With 9 Home runs he also displayed solid power for a center fielder at Comerica. If he can continue his impressive season along with Fielder and Cabrera the Tigers should make a push to challenge the White Sox for the central crown.” – Bill Fucich

Adam Dunn, White Sox (3 votes)“2011 was an awful season for Dunn on many levels. Thus far in 2012 Dunn is among the leaders in home runs and RBI’s.” – Glenn Coyle

Carlos Ruiz, Phillies (3 votes)“Ruiz is hitting 74 points above his career average, he wasn’t suppose to be the Phillies’ best offensive player.” – Warren Croxton

Also receiving votes:

Trevor Plouffe, Twins (2 votes)“Trevor Plouffe has 19 home runs. Seriously.” – Mike Orzechowski

Alex Rios, White Sox (2 votes)“The human yo-yo back on the upswing.” – Michael Bedard

Cliff Lee, Phillies (2 votes) – “Lee has been surprising in a bad way. $21.5 million paycheck this season has netted one win in 2012. ” – Glenn Coyle

Johan Santana, Mets (2 votes)“Even though he currently has his highest ERA since joining the Mets, Santana is still having an impressive 2012 considering he is coming off shoulder surgery and missed all of 2011. His no-hitter against the Cardinals, snapping the Mets no-hitter drought, was one of the highlights of the 1st half of the season.” – Bill Fucich

Lance Lynn, Cardinals (1 vote) “If you had Lance Lynn on the all-star team prior to the season I challenge you to take a lie detector test because you are full of #@&!” – Mike Orzechowski

Ryan Braun, Brewers (1 vote)“Surprising because the expectation was that either a. he’d be suspended or b. the lack of some sort of fish tranquilizer running thru him would have caused a reduction in his numbers.” – Michael Bedard

Chris Capuano, Dodgers (1 vote) “Capauno did a solid job for the Mets last year.  This season he has been one of the best bargains in the sport (9-4 2.91 era) at $3 million.  He was a legitimate all-star snub.” – Mike Orzechowski

Bryan LeHair, Cubs (1 vote)“Although he lost his 1B position to uber-prospect Anthony Rizzo and has slowed down considerably after his early season explosion, LaHair (a career minor leaguer) still had impressive numbers and was a pleasant surprise on an unpleasant Cubs team. His .286 average and .883 OPS along with 14 HRs are solid for the journeyman player and 1st time All Star as well as quite unexpected.” – Bill Fucich


Sports with Balls staff Twitter links:

Sports with Balls, Mike Orzechowski, Bill Fucich, Warren Croxton, Scott Boutcher, Matt Sherman, Glenn Coyle


2012 Sports With Balls Show Midseason Baseball Awards behind the scenes look.

Ballot via email

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Ballot totals hand written

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One thought on “2012 Sports With Balls Show Midseason Baseball Awards

  1. Great depth. Love it. Agree with most.

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