Los Angeles Dodgers, 61-28 (Best in MLB)
What a season it’s been so far. And they're still not the overwhelming favorites in the National League! They haven’t lost a series since June 5-7 when they lost 2 out of 3 at home to the Nationals by a combined 2 runs. Since then, they've played 29 games and won 25 of them. Their success lies in their depth. Logan Forsythe, a key offseason acquisition has been quiet, being out for most of June with injury. In his stead, Chris Taylor and Chase Utley have been more than serviceable. Taylor is slashing .285/.365/.480 with 10 home runs in a career year. Speaking of career years, Alex Wood would lead many categories if he had enough innings, having only thrown 80.2 of them. Still, 10-0, an ERA of 1.67, a 0.89 WHIP, and 97 punch outs speak for themselves. Oh yeah, Cody Bellinger is pretty good too.
MVP: Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF
9-11 before he was called up, 52-17 since. ‘Nuff said. Honorable Mention: Justin Turner
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, LHP
Already given up the most home runs in his career, but he’s still 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA and 159 Ks in 132.1 innings. What else is there to say about this guy. Best pitcher of this generation by miles. Honorable Mentions: Alex Wood, LHP; Kenley Jansen, RHP
Rookie of the Half: Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF
Arizona Diamondbacks, 53-36 (2nd Best NL), 7.5 GB
This is what the Diamondbacks were supposed to look like last year. Though they've lost 7 of 10 coming into the break, they have still been nothing short of impressive. Zack Greinke is having a bounce back year after a disastrous maiden campaign in Phoenix. But he’s not the only D-Back pitcher having a good year. Robbie Ray is having an under the radar gem of a season so far. The 25 year old left hander sports a tidy 2.97 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP, along with 141 strikeouts in 106 innings. His 8-4 record may not be what you expect with those numbers, but he did earn an All-Star nod, though he did not pitch. On the offensive side, Jake Lamb has become a familiar name. Though last year he hit 29 home runs and drove in 91 RBIs, this year looks to be even better. He’s already hit the 20 HR plateau at the break, has 67 RBIs, and his average is a cool 30 points higher than last year’s .249 mark.
MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Same number of dingers and RBIs as Lamb, but sports an average over .300 and leads the NL in runs scored. OPS is also at 1.005. Honorable Mention: Jake Lamb, 3B
Cy Young: Zack Greinke, RHP
Ray has good numbers, but Greinke has been better. 11-4, 2.86 ERA, and a 1.00 WHIP just nudge him ahead of the younger Diamondback hurler. Honorable Mention: Robbie Ray, LHP
Rookie of the Half: N/A
Colorado Rockies, 52-39 (4th Best NL), 9.5 GB
For a while it looked like the Rockies were going 2007 on us. They were the best team in the National League for a good while in the 1st half. But they've lost 13 out of their last 19, including 8 straight over the last two weeks in June to the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Giants. The key to their hot start was their pitching. 22 year old upstart Antonio Senzatela led the way while presumed ace Jon Gray was out a while to deal with a foot injury. Senzatela’s ERA was under 3.00 until mid-May. But aside from a near no-hitter against the Cheatin’ Cardinals on May 26, he’s been bad. In fact, since his last start in Arizona on June 22, in which he surrendered 9 runs in 5 innings, he’s been relegated to the bullpen for 3 appearances. The offense keeps chugging with Arenado, Desmond, Blackmon, and LeMahieu.
MVP: Charlie Blackmon, CF
Would you believe the leadoff guy hitting .319 leads the team in home runs and is T2 in RBIs? Didn’t think so. Honorable Mentions: Nolan Arenado, 3B; Mark Reynolds, 1B
Cy Young: Greg Holland, RHP
Holland has had a fine return from Tommy John. He’s converted a save in all but one of the 29 games he’s been asked to do so. Only 6 earned runs given up, and only 2 long balls, impressive even for a closer in Denver. Honorable Mention: Chris Rusin, LHP
Rookie of the Half: Kyle Freeland, LHP
A 3.77 ERA at Mile High is solid for a rookie. At 9-7 with a 1.40 WHIP, easily the best starter for the Rockies this year.
San Diego Padres, 38-50 (3rd Worst NL), 22.0 GB
At least they're not last? That may be the best thing about this season so far. The rebuild continues in Petco. But how long will it take? Wil Myers, Yangervis Solarte, and Hunter Renfroe are having OK years, but nothing to rave at. Their best starter is Jhoulys Chacin and his ERA is in the mid 4s. Brad Hand is good, but they're gonna trade him. At least they're not last.
MVP: Brad Hand, LHP
He’s only valuable because (maybe) the Padres will pick up some decent pieces for him. 60 Ks in 47.0 innings with a 2.30 ERA.
Cy Young: Brad Hand, LHP
The Padres pitchers suck.
Rookie of the Half: Hunter Renfroe, OF
16 HRs nothing to scoff at, but poor RBIs (39), average (.231), and OBP (.287). Only guy that really qualified.
San Francisco Giants, 34-56 (2nd Worst NL), 27.0 GB
Madison Bumgarner hurt his shoulder dirt biking on an off day and Hunter Strickland beaned Bryce Harper over a 3 year grudge. If that doesn't some up this horrid season for the Giants, I don’t know what does. In Bumgarner’s absence Cueto has been lackluster, and Samardzija has been, per usual, mediocre. Brandon Belt has struggled as has Brandon Crawford. But Buster Posey is still putting up good numbers. Mark Melancon, the closer they paid over $60 million for, isn't the best fit apparently. And he’s gone only 11 for 15 in save opportunities.
MVP: Buster Posey, C
How could someone playing this good be on a team this bad? Oh wait, I just remembered Mike Trout from last year. Anyway, Posey earned the All-Star Game start with a .324 average, good for 4th in the National League and 8th in the Majors. 10 HR and 35 RBIs seem like a poor output for the 2012 MVP, but he ranks 2nd and 3rd on his team in those stats respectively. Also leads the team in slugging (.498), on base (.406), and OPS (.904).
Cy Young: Hunter Strickland, RHP
Despite his antics, he owns a solid 2.01 ERA in 31.1 innings. Only 33 strikeouts for the hard throwing right hander, but only one other pitcher (fellow reliever Cory Gearrin) is close to any of Strickland’s numbers, and he’s logged over 10 more innings.
Rookie of the Half: Christian Arroyo, 3B