1. Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels. Hunter has been the clubhouse leader the team needed with all the injuries they have had this season, not to mention the death of Nick Adenhart. In addition to his leaderships skills Hunter has 17 HR, 65 RBI a .308 batting average and 27 steals. He is on pace to set career high in all 4 categories in his 12th major league season. He’s still a pretty good center fielder too
2. Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox. Bay leads the AL in RBI with 70 and is making sox fans forget about the guy who used to play left field (Manny Ramirez, in case you had forgotten)
3. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins. This season the catcher everyone in the AL was talking about was Matt “Joe Mauer with Power” Wieters. While Wieters has struggled his first month in the big leagues Mauer has become the “Joe Mauer with Power” we were all expecting Wieters to be. Mauer is batting a cool .389 and is on pace to set career highs in HR and RBI, all while missing the first month of the season and playing the most grueling position in baseball.
1. Zach Greinke, Kansas City Royals. In my preseason prediction I boldly predicted Greinke would finish at least 2nd in the Cy Young and he’s well on his way to doing just that. He’s pitching with one of the worst offenses in the league behind him but has still managed 10 wins.
2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners. Goes virtually unnoticed in Seattle but has 2.62 era and an 8-3 record this season while striking out nearly a batter an inning.
3. Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays. Generally regarded as baseball’s best pitcher, he throws more complete games than anyone every year and because of that gives the bullpen a nice rest. His DL stint keeps him out of the 1 or 2 spot
Rookie of the Year
1. Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays. Drafted before Troy Tulowitzki in 2006 he has lived up to his hype thus far going 6-3 with a 2.85 ERA in the brutal AL East.
2. Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics
The A’s employed a platoon of closers before Bailey solidifed himself as the closer. He has a 2.03 ERA in 48.2 IP with a WHIP of 1, exceptional for a rookie.
3. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers. Makes the Braves look worse every day for the Mark Teixeira trade. Terrific defensive player and he could steal 35 bases this year.
Manager of the Year
1. Don Wakamatsu, Seattle Mariners. Not one person outside of Seattle had heard this guys’ name before this year. He’s got the Mariners contending with Russell Branyan being the most powerful bat on offense.
2. Ron Washington, Texas Rangers. There were exactly three people outside of Texas who thought the Rangers could contend this year. They’re tied for first in a more difficult than expected AL West
3. Cito Gaston, Toronto Blue Jays. Despite a rash of injuries and being in the toughest division in baseball Cito still has the Blue Jays contending for the playoffs.