The first-half awards:
* AL Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander, Tigers. He has nine wins and a league-leading 128 strikeouts with a 2.58 ERA, but this is a close race. The Angels' Jered Weaver, who has been injured, is 10-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 73 strikeouts. The White Sox's Chris Sale is 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA and 98 strikeouts. This one will be interesting to watch.
* AL Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout, Angels. How could it be any one else? He's been in the big leagues for a little bit more than two months, but he's the biggest reason the Angels were able to shake off a 6-14 start. He's hitting .343 with 11 home runs and 26 steals, even though he didn't come up until April 28. This stat defines Trout's speed: He has two triples into the left-field corner.
* AL Rookie of the Year: Trout, Angels. This one took forever to decide. Just kidding. Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks is second after averaging .288 with 10 home runs. Another interesting rookie is White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana, who has a 2.04 ERA and filled in nicely for the team's injury-marred rotation.
* AL Manager of the Year: Robin Ventura, White Sox. The team is in first place despite losing two pitchers and a third baseman. Ventura gets points for being a rookie manager, his first season of managing at any level. The team is rebuilding, but instead they are contending.
* NL Cy Young Award: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals. If you think the AL Cy Young is close, check this one out: The Mets' R.A. Dickey has 12 wins, a 2.40 ERA, 120 innings and a 0.93 WHIP. The Pirates' James McDonald has nine wins, a 2.37 ERA and 100 Kstrikeouts. The Nats' Stephen Strasburg has nine wins, a 2.82 ERA and a league-leading 128 strikeouts. Ryan Dempster of the Cubs has a 1.99 ERA, four wins and 86 innings. Should his win total hurt him? I'll take Strasburg because of what he's done for the Nats' rotation.
* NL Most Valuable Player: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates. The Pirates have had the worst offense in the National League. But that hasn't affected McCutchen, who goes into the break hitting a league-leading .362 with 18 home runs, 60 RBIs and 14 steals. San Francisco's Melky Cabrera is hitting .353 and the Mets' David Wright .351.
* NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper, Nationals. Harper's flair for the dramatic is difficult to deny. He's done everything, including hitting second, third, fifth and seventh. Another candidate is Arizona lefty Wade Miley, an All-Star.
* NL Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson, Nationals. The Nationals have the best record in the NL (49-34) despite a list of injuries and an ineffective offense for most of the first half. The Nationals have won despite injuries to Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos, Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman. They've had to rely on a 19-year-old Harper to be a catalyst in their lineup. Johnson is a big reason Ian Desmond has developed into an All-Star. And the bullpen has used four closers.