With the All-Star game fast approaching and all 32 teams now starting the second half of their schedules, it's time for a look at the season's highlights thus far, and to hand out awards for the league's best performances.
AL MVP: Floyd Floyd, Charleston
"Double F" is leading the Chew toward their best season in a decade. He's one of only three players in the AL with an OPS over 1.0, and is the only player doing so while playing home games in a pitcher's park. His defense at both 2B and LF has been excellent, and he's already nearing a 30/30 season.
Runner-Up: Vin Logan, Monterrey
NL MVP: Heath Christiansen, Vancouver
The Grizzlies' 55 wins lead the NL, and no Grizzly has been more instrumental to the team's leap into the league's upper echelon than Christiansen. He ranks in the top 10 in nearly every offensive category, including a league-leading 75 RBI. He has also played stellar defense at first base.
Runner-Up: George Lowe, Salt Lake City
AL Cy Young:Vernon Taubensee, St. Louis
The AL Cy Young may be the easiest piece of hardware to give out at this point. Taubensee rather incredibly leads the league in batting average against (.176), on-base percentage against (.264), slugging percentage against (.296), WHIP (1.01), and ERA (2.45). If he is able to maintain his torrid pace, he'll finish with one of the best individual seasons for any pitcher in AL history.
Runner-Up: Stone Curtis, Montgomery
NL Cy Young: Ossie Acker, Vancouver
Wins are a lousy indicator of pitching success - but Acker's 17-1 midseason record should still impress even the most ardent statheads. But that's not all: his 2.17 ERA leads the league, his 1.16 WHIP is fifth, and he's one of only a handful of pitchers with over 100 strikeouts already. He's also the only pitcher in either league who has recorded 2 shutouts.
Runner-Up: Javier Henriquez, Fargo
AL Rookie of the Year: Kent Swindell, Milwaukee
In a down year for American League rookies, Swindell's .797 OPS and 13 steals stand out. The 24-year-old CF should develop into one of the league's better players.
Runner-Up: Ignacio Sanchez, Montgomery
NL Rookie of the Year: Antone Hoover, Syracuse
Hoover's 70 RBI not only leads all rookies in baseball, but it's good enough for 4th among all NL players. His .298/.357/.537 batting line is impressive as well. Hoover is proving a wonderfully capable replacement for departed free agent Jacque Puffer.
Runner-Up: Charles Hultzen, San Juan
Player of the Year: Raul Vallarta, Mexico City/Atlanta
Vallarta - who hasn't yet played enough games for Bandits to be considered an NL MVP candidate - is having a truly astounding year: 63 runs scored, 14 homers, 54 walks (to only 32 strikeouts), 21 steals in 23 attempts, a .363 batting average, and a jaw-dropping .463 OBP. And, oh yes, playing solid defense at both 2B and in the outfield.
Runner-Up: Ossie Acker, Vancouver
Best Games of the Year: Carter Leonard and Willie Pineda's No-Hitters
Few accomplishments in baseball - particularly in the offense-happy realm of WhatIf Sports - top a no-hitter. How wonderful it is that we've already seen not one, but two, no-hit games this season.
Runner-Up: Tony Javier goes 5-for-6, hits for the cycle
Manager of the Year: shobob, Vancouver
No manager has done more with less so far this season than shobob. Despite having a player payroll of just $52 million, and only 2 players with an overall rating of 80 or higher, the Grizzlies are not only in first place in the NL North, but have the best record in the NL and are on track for their best season ever.
Runner-Up: kjmulli, Fargo