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AL Midseason Awards

The First-Half AL Awards Show

Naming the AL MVP, Cy Young, ROY, and Gold Glover at the 2018 All-Star Break

By: Aidan Cotter

Just 9 games remain until the end of the 2018 regular season, but the first half officially is done as all-star voting is underway. This is a time to reflect on the best of what’s already come and to hand out awards based on where the league is at this “midway point.”

(Writer’s Note: these mid-season awards are meaningless, and I actually don’t even have a vote this year so take my opinion with a grain of salt).

Midseason MVP Ballot:

  1. Caleb Jonkman (MC)

  2. Jasen Webb (HL)

  3. Mark Haase (GL)

Out of all the awards, this is the one I would bet money on if people bet on ORWBL awards. Barring a complete collapse in the final portion of the season, Caleb Jonkman will walk away with his first ORWBL MVP award. Jonkman barely lost this same award to then-Junkballer Tony Koch last season, and this year he’s been on a whole different level to ensure that doesn’t happen. Not only will Jonkman likely walk away with his first MVP, he even has an outside shot to break Noah Shail’s 2015 record for batting average if he can get even hotter down the stretch (Jonkman trails Shail’s 0.687 mark by just 0.01). To show how good Jonkman’s been this year look at it this way; If Caleb got out the next 75 at-bats, he would still have a higher batting average than last year’s MVP Tony Koch has so far this season. This is an easy one.

Midseason Cy Young Ballot:

  1. Wes Ellis (MC)

  2. Aidan Cotter (SB)

  3. Nate Arndt (GL)

This is another award that will be difficult to award based on stats alone and will most likely come down to team success. Reigning Cy Young winner Wes Ellis has been back to his usually stuff this season, as he currently leads the AL in strikeouts despite pitching in just 8 games. As the race for the #1 overall seed heats up between the Magic and the Muffs, expect both Ellis and Aidan Cotter to eat up a lot of innings for their squads the rest of the way. However, a name you can’t sleep on is Nate Arndt. The 2016 Cy Young winner has been lights out on the mound since arriving in Great Lakes and with the Godfathers still having 12 games remaining, there is plenty of time for Arndt to make up lost time and vault himself to the top of the ballot. This is one to watch out for but for now, Ellis remains in front of the competition.

Midseason Rookie of the Year Ballot:

  1. Brian Shembarger (GL)

  2. Mark Richards (SB)

  3. Paul O’Hara (GL)

The race for rookie of the year in the AL has been an exciting two-man race so far, with both Brian Shembarger and Mark Richards thriving in their inaugural ORWBL seasons. While Richards holds the advantage in batting average, Shembarger has been among the league leaders in power numbers all season. At the end of the day, I’m giving a slight edge to Shembarger due to his role in the Godfathers leap this season. Richards has been phenomenal for the Muffs, but without Shembarger there’s a good chance this Godfathers squad isn’t in the position they’re in. It’ll certainly be a race to watch the rest of the season.

Mideason Gold Glove Ballot:

  1. Jasen Webb (HL)

  2. Connor VanOverberg (SB)

  3. Drew Luther (MC)

  4. Erick Mentock (SB)

Always a tough one to judge, the AL Gold Glove ballot is full of worthy candidates. But, what separates Webb from the rest of the crowd is the overall impact on his team out in left. The rest of the list contains excellent defenders who have minimal to no errors all year and who can make incredible plays on a weekly basis, but Webb’s tendency to make the most outrageous plays look easy is what really separates him from the pack. His play in left is the key component for why Hudson Lake has been so good this year and is a big reason Heat fans aren’t worried about their MVP Bobby Bushman having to miss time with an injury. Although this list can certainly change as the year unfolds, so far the responsibility the eldest Webb has been tasked with is what vaults him ahead of the rest.

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