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As our own Mike Axisa recently observed in his piece on what the current standings mean, Memorial Day is a good point on the baseball calendar to survey the lay of land. We’re two months in, and performances both at the team and individual level are starting to take on more meaning. As such, why not take this opportunity to hand out some individual awards for the season to date? Why not indeed, people. 

What follows is not necessarily predictions of who will win the hardware in 2018. Rather, it’s who should win the hardware based upon these Memorial Day-ish results so far. All of this, obviously, is subject to change as we get deeper into the 2018 season. For now, though, the awards … 

American League MVP: Mike Trout, Angels

As we head into Wednesday’s slate, Trout’s running a slash line of .303/.448/.676 while leading the majors in home runs and OBP. As well, he’s of course pinning down the premium position of center field, and he’s 12 for 12 in stolen bases while taking the extra base at an above-average clip. Boston’s Mookie Betts is just a hair behind him, so don’t be surprised if these two are back and forth at the top all season. 

Runner-up: Mookie Betts, Red Sox

National League MVP: Freddie Freeman, Braves

There’s no obvious winner in the senior circuit, and without exaggeration you can make a credible case for upwards of 10 different guys. It’s just not as a strong of a field as what we see in the AL. This scribe, however, will give a narrow edge to the Braves’ first baseball. Right now, he’s slashing .333/.433/.542, which comes to an NL-leading OPS+ of 168. He’s also putting up big numbers with runners in scoring position, and he’s fourth in the NL in total bases and first in times on base. Again, this one’s a tough call. 

Runner-up: Nolan Arenado, Rockies

American League Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Astros

This one, however, is not a tough call. Verlander has been otherworldly thus far in 2018: 1.11 ERA (!) and 6.53 K/BB ratio in an MLB-leading 81 1/3 innings. Given those numbers, you can consider Verlander to be a strong No. 3 in the AL MVP race noted above. The working assumption is that Verlander can’t possibly continue preventing runs at such a legendary clip, but if he does we’ll be discussing where his 2018 ranks among the greatest pitching seasons of all-time. 

Runner-up: Corey Kluber, Indians

National League Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, Mets

We’ll give a slight nod to deGrom’s run prevention over Max Scherzer’s strikeouts. DeGrom in 65 1/3 innings has struck out 85 batters and pitched to a 1.52 ERA. That ERA and his 248 ERA+ lead the NL by wide margins. He’s also allowed just three home runs all season. 

Runner-up: Max Scherzer, Nationals

American League Rookie of the Year: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

The two-way phenom has of course done it all this season. In 117 plate appearances as DH, Ohtani’s batted .291/.376/.553 (155 OPS+) with 14 extra-base hits and only one GIDP. On the mound, he’s made seven starts, struck out 52 batters in 40 1/3 innings, and pitched to a 3.35 ERA/123 ERA+. Ohtani’s the leader for now, but it should be noted that a certain second baseman in the Bronx has been making up ground since his call-up. 

Runner-up: Gleyber Torres, Yankees

National League Rookie of the Year: Christian Villanueva, Padres

The Pads’ third baseman and 26-year-old rook has put up big power numbers thus far. In 172 plate appearances, Villanueva has 14 home runs (good for second in the NL) and a 137 OPS+. He’s also spent roughly 350 defensive innings at the hot corner. 

Runner-up: Walker Buehler, Dodgers

American League Manager of the Year: Scott Servais, Mariners

Despite injuries and the suspension of his best player, Servais has the Mariners playing .611 ball, and they’re only one game behind the world-champion Astros in the AL West. Per the most recent SportsLine playoff odds, the M’s are projected to snap the longest postseason drought in MLB

Runner-up: Alex Cora, Red Sox

National League Manager of the Year: Brian Snitker, Braves

The Braves were not expected to be contenders this season, but here they are. At this writing, they hold a half-game lead over the heavily favored Nationals in the NL East, and according to opponents’ average winning percentage Snitker’s Braves have played the toughest schedule in all of MLB. 

Runner-up: Craig Counsell, Brewers

And there you have it. Thank you in advance for not disagreeing with any of the above selections. 

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