Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino reacts after the top of the seventh inning against the Houston Astros on May 30, 2018, at Yankee Stadium.


Silverman: Yankees' Severino, Torres Worthy Of Midseason Awards

Steve Silverman
July 11, 2018 - 9:52 am

They don’t give out gold medals at the halfway point of a marathon, and while the 162-game Major League Baseball season is an endurance test, there is an opportunity to reward excellence at the midway point of the season.

Yes, we are past the midway point, but next week's All-Star game is traditionally recognized as the season's halftime. So this may be a few days late, but I offer my midseason awards here without any apologies.

American League MVP: J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox

I'm going by the traditional definition of the award, as the player who is most valuable -- and not necessarily the best player.

If it were the best player, I'd go with the Angels' Mike Trout, who is a remarkable talent and slightly better than Martinez’s teammate Mookie Betts.

J.D. Martinez

The Red Sox were a first-place team a year ago, but they had no power. That came to the forefront in several games with the Yankees and their division series loss to the Houston Astros. So team president Dave Dombrowski brought in Martinez to fill the power void left by the 2016 retirement of David Ortiz.

Martinez has exceptional numbers with a .331/.395/.651 slash line, along with 28 home runs and 77 RBIs. Martinez has been showing off his power to all fields since the beginning of the season, and he has made his adjustments to the Fenway Park Green Monster by figuring out how to turn his line drives into towering shots.

MORE: Silverman: Snell, Segura, Muncy Among Top All-Star Snubs

His consistent power has paid off for his teammates, as Betts, Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi are also hitting the long ball with more consistency. If Martinez wasn’t driving the ball the way he has been, those players would feel more pressure and might not be having the seasons they are putting together.

National League MVP: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

Although they slipped a game back of the Phillies in the NL East on Tuesday night, the Braves have been atop the division for much of the season. Freeman, their best player, is a big reason why. 

While Freeman is not the spectacular type, he is amazingly consistent and has the most picture-perfect, left-handed swing in the National League. Freeman has a .312/.404/.538 slash line, along with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs.

While he had significant competition for midseason MVP honors from Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies, Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs and Jesus Aguilar of the Milwaukee Brewers, the belief here is that Freeman is just a little bit better than they are, and he is going to rise to the occasion nearly every time. He is also a sensational defensive first baseman, much as Arenado and Baez excel at their positions.

AL Cy Young: Luis Severino, New York Yankees

There are three prime candidates for this award in Severino, the Red Sox's Chris Sale and Tampa Bay's Blake Snell. Those three have been head and shoulders the best. (I'm leaving out Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Detroit's Justin Verlander because they have not been quite as consistent.)

Sale has the ability to blow people away with his mind-altering slider and 98- to 99-mph fastball, and Snell has exceeded expectations with Tampa Bay by about tenfold.

But it is Severino who goes out on the mound and delivers every single time. Wins may be a devalued statistic in the current environment, but try telling that to anyone in the Yankees' locker room. Severino is a remarkable 14-2 with a 2.12 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings. It is very difficult for opposing hitters to make solid contact with Severino’s nasty fastball, along with his slider and changeup.

He clearly understands the art of pitching, and he executes his pitches with precision and purpose.

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

While the three previous midseason award winners seem likely to continue their excellence into the second half of the season, I have my doubts about Scherzer because his teammates have been so disappointing over the last six weeks.

Scherzer may be overcome by frustration and disappointment in August and September if the Nationals don’t turn things around. However, he has been spectacular up until this point with his 11-5 record, 2.33 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .179 against him, and he should roll past the 300-strikeout mark.

AL Rookie of the Year: Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees

The Yankees need to go to Jimmy Fallon’s desk and write out thank-you notes to the Chicago Cubs every week for the presence of Torres. He came to the Yankees when general manager Brian Cashman allowed the Cubs to borrow Aroldis Chapman in 2016, and now the Yankees have one of the greatest young talents in the game.

Gleyber Torres hits a two-run home run during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
USA Today Sports Images

Torres' .294/.350/.555 slash line should only get better from this point, and he has 15 homers and 42 RBIs. If his hip problem is not serious (no setbacks since the July 4 injury), he will become one of the dominant players in the American League for years.

NL Rookie of the Year: Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins

Anderson has proven to be a solid, everyday contributor for a poor Miami team. While the likelihood is that Juan Soto of the Nationals will pull ahead of him by the end of the season, I give Anderson the edge to this point with his .285/.360/.416 slash line, seven homers and 46 RBIs.

Follow Steve on Twitter at @Profootballboy