The first half of the 2021 MLB season has been eventful, to say the least. Shohei Ohtani has thrived as a two-way player, numerous young position players have made a rise to stardom and a handful of teams have surprised. For instance, the Minnesota Twins are 11 games below .500 while the San Francisco Giants own the best record in MLB.
Heck, a once thought-to-be potent National League East division has just one team with a winning record. Meanwhile, the sport recently started inspecting pitchers for the use of illegal substances on baseballs. Best of all, fans are back in the stands.
Here are MLB award predictions at the All-Star Break for what has been an exciting first half of the regular season.
American League MVP: Shohei Ohtani, designated hitter/starting pitcher, Los Angeles Angels
- Shohei Ohtani 2021 statistics: .279/.364/.698 slash line, 33 home runs, 70 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 301 at-bats as a hitter and a 3.49 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 67.0 innings as a pitcher
Ohtani has been a sight to behold. He has been as dangerous as any hitter in MLB, turning on and demolishing pitches into the stands and ambushing defenses with his speed on the bases. Simultaneously, Ohtani has pitched at a high level every fifth day, logging strikeouts at a high rate and grinding through at-bats. The Angels’ superstar has been nothing short of extraordinary.
National League MVP: Fernando Tatis Jr., shortstop, San Diego Padres
- Fernando Tatis Jr. 2021 statistics: .286/.364/.656 slash line, 28 home runs, 60 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 273 at-bats
Tatis has become quite possibly the best shortstop in MLB. He’s making absurd snags at the middle infield position and hitting for slug like nobody’s business. Per Statcast, Tatis is in the top-four percent of MLB in average exit velocity (93.5 mph), barrel percentage (21.7%) and hard-hit percentage (55.6%). The 22-year-old is the driving force of the San Diego Padres and one of the sport’s premier players.
American League Cy Young: Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox
- Lance Lynn 2021 statistics: 1.99 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 105 strikeouts in 90.2 innings pitched
Lynn has been a beast for manager Tony La Russa’s pitching staff. The veteran right-hander has been the best pitcher in the AL thus far and the clear-cut best pitcher on the White Sox’ staff. He’s getting hitters out with his four seamer and cutter, performing with efficiency and throwing the best baseball of his career. Lynn pitching at a Cy Young level has provided the White Sox with a new lead hurler.
National League Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
- Jacob deGrom 2021 statistics: 1.08 ERA, 0.54 WHIP and 146 strikeouts in 92.0 innings pitched
deGrom has pitched pretty well this year. He has surrendered as many earned runs as he has walks (11). The right-hander is on a different planet at the moment. He’s blowing his 100 mph heater past hitters, surrendering a minuscule amount of base-runners and is putting together one of the best seasons for a starting pitcher in MLB history. deGrom is the best pitcher in the sport.
American League Rookie of the Year: Adolis Garcia, outfielder, Texas Rangers
- Adolis Garcia 2021 statistics: .270/.312/.527 slash line, 22 home runs, 62 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 311 at-bats
The Rangers are in the midst of a long rebuild but have a glowing bright spot in Garcia. In his first full season at the MLB level, the outfielder has been a steadily productive force in the batter’s box, hitting for power at a high level in a pitcher-friendly ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Regardless of them being at the bottom of the AL West, the Rangers have a player to build with in Garcia.
National League Rookie of the Year: Trevor Rogers, starting pitcher, Miami Marlins
- Trevor Rogers 2021 statistics: 2.31 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 101.1 innings pitched
The Marlins have showcased a knack for developing young pitchers, and Rogers is the latest example of that ability. He has pitched at an elite level this season, mostly relying on his four seamer and changeup. After struggling in 2020, Rogers has become a mainstay for the Marlins’ pitching staff and yet another arm helping form an electric starting rotation. The best is yet to come for Rogers, especially if he gets his slider cooking more often.
American League Manager of the Year: Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox
- Team results: 55-36, first place in AL East
The Red Sox went from finishing last in the AL East in 2020 to finishing the first half of 2021 atop the division. Their offense has been humming, pushing runners across the basepaths with frequency while Cora pushes all the right buttons with the bullpen despite a lacking rotation. This team is officially a player in the AL pennant race if they weren’t already. Cora’s return to the Red Sox has featured a return to contention status.
National League Manager of the Year: Gabe Kapler, San Francisco Giants
- Team results: 57-32, first place in NL West
The Giants were a rebuilding team going into this season. Waiting for the second half of the season to commence, they possess the best record in MLB. A rotation of reclamation projects has been elite, their bullpen has been reliable and the offense has gotten the job done. Kapler has done an outstanding job with this ball club in his two years in the Bay Area. The Giants are the best story of the 2021 MLB season.